Best Guess – The naming of Mount Bill Nye

August 18th, 2021 1 Minutes
Mount Bill Nye – Photo courtesy of Kootenayskid

In response to many queries, the Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History (CBIRH) went on a quest to discover the naming of Mount Bill Nye. We contacted the Provincial Toponymist who searched the Geo Names Archives and Resources Library for the name origins of Mount Bill Nye.

According to her findings, the mountain was named on January 14, 1954.

Wasa and Tracey creeks were explored and staked actively in 1895-96. Among those staked was the ‘Bill Nye’. The claim was bonded in 1898 to Spokane parties, and a 100-foot tunnel was forged.

Samples from the claim were submitted to the Paris Exposition in 1900, and they received a diploma of high award.

The original staker of the claim was William M. Violet, a prospector born in Nova Scotia, in 1854, according to the 1901 Census resident in Fort Steele.

Violet named the mine, and he presumably was familiar with the popular American humorist Edgar Wilson Nye (1850-1896), pen name “Bill Nye” derived from Bret Harte’s famous poem ‘The Heathen Chinee’.

Our best guess is that the mountain was named after Nye in 1953-54.

As a footnote, we did run down the Houston, B.C., First Nations chief Bill Nye and several other leads, but they did not stand the test of reason.

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