Cottonwood Lake is a natural lake. When people settled in this area, they built the town around the lake. It was named "Cottonwood". The Great Northern Railroad built a line from Stanley to Grenora. The railroad plotted the townsite. The Cottonwood people moved their town over to the railroad site. They decided to call the new town Alamo, which was four years after San Antonio started restoration of the Alamo Mission, where a grove of cottonwoods marked the bloddy incident of the war for Texas Independence.