Aladdin: Home in the Wild

 

     Aladdin was located at the confluence of Deep Creek and Rocky Creek. "Rocky Creek began its journey high in the mountains west of the valley. After dashing through boulder-strewn beds, creeping through swamps and beaver ponds, and cascading over rocky cliffs, the stream at last reached the valley to join the south fork of Deep Creek at Aladdin." Aladdin was formerly known as Cronin after pioneer and postmaster, Pat Cronin. Around 1910 they changed the town’s name to Aladdin after the near-by mountain and successful mine. A 1910 newspaper recalled " The first car of concentrates (lead) shipped from the Aladdin Mine, was consigned to a refinery in Pennsylvania, was valued at $500 a ton"

     Many businesses popped up in the thriving little town. John Ayer established a much needed stage to Colville. It carried not only passengers but also supplies and mail. It linked the rural residents of Aladdin to the outside world. In 1909 Maxon and Anderson owned a general store complete with a loading dock. Fred Draper set-up a sawmill to take advantage of the abundant timber in the area. Aladdin, a town serving thirty families, decided that the only thing they lacked was a school. In 1912 they opened one. The schoolhouse was built by Mr. McKitrick and George Oakschott. George Oakschott "…had an eye out for the girls. As this story reveals"

     ‘The speediest labor McKitrick ever got out of me,’ George divulged, ‘was the Tuesday he set me to digging the pits for the outhouses, for Tuesday was always the day this Girl from up Rocky Creek came to pick up her mail at the Aladdin Post Office. She usually stopped to chat, and admire my carpenter work, so I wasn’t about to let her catch me digging those holes!

     ‘"Believe me, two badgers couldn’t have thrown out dirt faster than I did that morning!’"

     Other interesting characters of Aladdin were Felix La Sota, a talented young bachelor, who built a beautiful log cabin and worked as a surveyor, cook and millhand. Susan Mary Chester was a midwife. Mrs. Melissa Loiselle ran a boarding house and was known to be a splendid cook. Some report that Mrs. Loiselle’s lilacs still bloom every spring. Her lilacs may be one of the few clues that Aladdin ever existed. In 1921 most of the buildings were sold to Howard Phillips and he ran the post office until it closed in 1924.

      (Thanks to Mary Lou Whalen for these school attendance awards for the Agees and the postcards.)