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Ainsworth becomes Ainsworth Hot Springs

Updated: Jan 11, 2019

Fifty-five years ago today, the Ainsworth post office ceased to exist. The following day, it was reborn as Ainsworth Hot Springs. The envelopes pictured below, which sold on eBay recently, were postmarked Jan. 10 and 11, 1964 as the change took effect.

The explanation for the change is found in a letter to the postal inspector of Oct. 3, 1963 from A.E. Catterall, district director of postal service (held in the place names duotang of the Martin and Jane Lynch fonds at the Kootenay Lake Archives in Kaslo):

Mr. Homen, a member of the Kaslo Board of Trade, recently approached the supervisory postmaster, Nelson, with a suggestion that the name of the Ainsworth post office be changed to that of “Ainsworth Hot Springs.”
In suggesting the change, it is the feelings of the Kaslo Board of Trade and those of the Associated Boards of Trade of Eastern BC that the name change would possibly give the Ainsworth locality an increase in tourist trade as another printing of road maps would show it as a Hot Springs similar to Fairmont Hot Springs, Radium Hot Springs, and Harrison Hot Springs.
We obtained an expression of opinion from the residents at Ainsworth relating to this change and attached is the petition on which 34 have indicated that they are in favour, while 14 are opposed. A change in name to Ainsworth Hot Springs would not conflict with the name of any existing post office. The suggested name could possibly have a beneficial effect on the community and the request is referred to you for your information.

Sam and Belle Homen were longtime proprietors of the hot springs. Their brochure added: “The recent addition of ‘Hot Springs’ to the village name has proved a remarkably good advertisement for Ainsworth’s only industry.”

But when a similar switch was proposed in Nakusp in 2005, it was met with outrage. A referendum on a name change to Nakusp Hot Springs was defeated 607 to eight.

The Ainsworth post office was in this garage (now the motel) as of 1971, when this photo was taken. The community mailboxes were recently moved to the same location.

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