NAME: Silver City
CLIMATE: Warm summers, cold winters
BEST TIME TO VISIT: From late spring to early fall
COMMENTS: No residents since 1937. No remains other than a recently erected plaque. The site is located deep in Banff National Park along Highway 1A.

A forest encircled meadow below the imposing peaks of Castle Mountain was once the focal point of fraud and scandal more than 100 years before anyone heard of the infamous Bre-X gold mining fiasco.In 1883, three Rocky Mountain communities sprang up in what is now Banff National Park - Siding 29, now known throughout the world as Banff; Holt City, which would become known as Lake Louise and Silver City, where in a period of two years it would see more than 3,000 silver-hungry prospectors lay their tents in high hopes of prosperity.While there was minute quantities of silver in the area, there was never enough to justify a full-scale mining operation. The promoters of the site were aiming all along to get rich, not from the ore but from the prospectors who flooded the area. When it became apparent to prospectors they had been duped, they quickly left and Silver City was left to the ghosts two years after its initial boom. Nearly every structure in the town, served by six hastily built casino-hotels, was dismantled, and one hotel was even floated down the river to be reassembled in what is now known as Banff.However, one man, prospector Joe Smith, who had been the third miner to establish residence at Silver City, remained to trap and hunt until 1937.Today, no remains of Silver City exist at the site, but a commemorative plaque has been erected to inform visitors of the historic dreams of properity that once shined in the national park. Submitted by: Johnnie Bachusky

Across the Bow River from Eisenhower Mountain (formerly Castle Mountain) in what is now Banff National Park stood Silver City, once the home to 3000 persons lured there by rumors of silver and gold. Although copper-bearing ore discovered in 1881 proved to be rich in copper and lead, the town never amounted to much until the Canadian and Pacific Railway came to the area in 1883. To promote traffic along the railway, an advertising program touting the riches of the area and sprinkled with rumors of silver and gold brought prospectors by the hundreds to the area. Soon the town was home to 3000 inhabitants. During its heyday, the town boasted six hotels all featuring pool halls and casinos but no bars. Liquor was banned along the CPR right-of-way. An odd thing about Silver City was that it contained no dance halls, no churches, and no schools. Since there were less than a dozen women in town, few dances were ever held. The miners saw little need for a church, and, as there were no children, there was no need for a school. When it became clear there was not to be any bonanza, people began a hasty pullout from Silver City. The third person to arrive in Silver City and the last one to leave was a James Smith who died in 1937. Today, only a marker indicates that Silver City ever existed. H.B. Chenoweth

Silver City
Courtesy Johnnie Bachusky

Silver City
Courtesy Johnnie Bachusky