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Place Names of the High Sierra (1926)
by Francis P. Farquhar

[ A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y, & Z. ]


ABBOT, MOUNT (13,736)[Mount Goddard]
Named by the Whitney Survey; the name appears on Hoffmann’s map, 1873. Erroneously spelled “Abbott” on some maps and in many references to the mountain.

Henry Larcom. Abbot, born in Massachusetts, 1831; still living in Cambridge, Mass., 1925; graduated U. S. Military Academy, second lieutenant, 1854; captain, 1862; major, 1865; lieutenant-colonel, 1880; colonel, 1886; major-general of volunteers, 1865; retired, 1895; brigadier-general, retired, 1904; LL.D., Harvard, 1886; joint author, with Captain Andrew Atkinson Humphreys, of the classic Report on the Physics and Hydraulics of the Mississippi River, 1861; member of the Williamson party of the Pacific Railroad Surveys in California and Oregon, 1855. First ascent by Joseph N. Le Conte, James S. Hutchinson, Duncan McDuffie, July 13, 1908. (S.C.B., 1909, VII:1, p. 13.) Second ascent 1922, by William H. Staniels and party. (California Alpine Club Trails, 1922, II:1, pp. 57-58.)

ACKER PEAK (10,918)[Dardanelles]
William Bertrand Acker, connected with the Department of the Interior since 1880; assistant attorney since 1908. For many years had charge of all national park matters in the department. (R. B. Marshall.)

AGASSIZ NEEDLE (13,882)[Mount Goddard]
Named by Lilbourne A. Winchell in 1879 for Louis Agassiz (1807-1873); professor of zoology and geology, Harvard, 1847-1873. (L. A. Winchell.) Has been climbed; but names and dates not ascertained.

Theodore C. Agnew, a miner, settled on land at Agnew Meadow in 1877, applying in vain for patents in 1885, 1886, and 1891. “Mr. Agnew has been of a good deal of service to the Government by acting as guide to troops patrolling the park, by giving information as to the whereabouts of trespassers on the park, and by preventing sheep-herders from driving sheep through the land occupied by him, which they believe belongs to him.” (Letter from Captain Alexander Rodgers, U.S.A., acting superintendent, Yosemite National Park, to Secretary of the Interior, August 6, 1895.)

Patented as homestead by John Ahart about 1890; now owned by D. C. Sample. (Chester Versteeg.)

“Village on Black Oak Flat, extending from site of Galen Clark’s grave easterly to Yo-watch-ke [at mouth of Indian Cañon]. As in the case of most of the villages, the village name was applied also to a definite tract of land belonging to it. . . . This being the largest tract of open level ground in the valley, the name Ah-wah-ne came to be applied by outside Indians to the whole valley.” (C. Hart Merriam: Indian Village and Camp Sites in Yosemite Valley, S.C.B., 1917, X:2, p. 205.—See, also, Kroeber: California Place Names of Indian Origin, 1916, p. 34.)

“The valley has always been known to them, and is to this day, when speaking among themselves, as A-wa'ni. This, it is true, is only the name of one of the ancient villages which it contained; but by prominence it gave its name to the valley, and, in accordance with Indian usage almost everywhere, to the inhabitants of the same.” (Powers: Tribes of California, in Contributions to North American Ethnology, III, 1877, p. 361.)

[Editor’s note: For the origin of the word Ahwahnee see “Origin of the Word Yosemite.”—DEA]

ALGER LAKE[Mount Lyell]
Named in 1909 by R. B. Marshall, U.S.G.S., for John Alger, a packer for the Geological Survey. (R. B. Marshall.)

ALTA MEADOW, PEAK (11,211)[Tehipite]
In 1876, W. B. Wallace, Tom Witt, and N. B. Witt, on their way from Big Meadow to Mineral King, camped at Alta Meadow and gave it its name because it was higher than any other meadow in the vicinity. Alta is Spanish for “high.” (G. W. Stewart.)

“It is suggested that ‘Alta Peak’ be substituted as a name for what is denominated Tharp’s Peak on the present club map. It is a most conspicuous crag eastward from the Giant Forest as seen from Three Rivers. We climbed it in 1896, when, so far as we knew, it had no name. The name Alta Peak then given from the long-named Alta Meadow on its slope, has been almost universally adopted by the Three Rivers people and the frequenters of Giant Forest.” (William R. Dudley, in S.C.B., 1903, IV:4, pp. 306-307.)

A prominent crag, forming part of Alta Peak, has since been known as Tharps Rock.

Named by J. N. Le Conte in 1902. (J. N. Le Conte.)

Named by W. F. Dean in 1889. (W. F. Dean.)

ARMY PASS[Olancha]
Trail constructed by troop K, 4th Cavalry, U.S.A., while stationed in Owens Valley in the ’90s. (Chester Versteeg, from General M. F. Davis.) Sometimes difficult of passage on account of snow. Used by Sierra Club outing party, 1912. (S.C.B., 1913, IX:1, p. 23, plate XIX.)

ARNDT LAKE[Dardanelles]
Named by Lieutenant Harry C. Benson for First Sergeant Alvin Arndt, I troop, 4th Cavalry, U.S.A., 1896. (H. C. Benson.)

Arndt crossed from Slide Cañon to Tiltill Valley in September, 1893, and found a route from Matterhorn Cañon to Hetch Hetchy Valley. (S.C.B., 1895, I:5, p. 168.)

Probably for Ben Arnold, a rancher of the foothills. (Chester Versteeg.)

ARROW PEAK (12,927)[Mount Whitney]
Named by Professor Bolton Coit Brown, 1895, when he made first ascent. (S.C.B., 1896, I:8, pp. 305-309.)

Site of sawmill built by Collins and Redfield, 1879; land, 160 acres, patented by Isham Mullenix, 1890, under homestead entry of 1885; later became property of A. J. Atwell, of Visalia; purchased from Henry J. Alles, 1920, by D. E. Skinner, of Seattle, who donated it to United States Department of the Interior, through National Geographic Society. (G. W. Stewart.—National Geographic Magazine, July, 1921, p. 85.)

“The Atwell mill has started again, and is fast denuding that vicinity of a most beautiful grove of sequoias. The property is leased for three years yet, and the rent is a certain percentage on the lumber actually cut, really setting a premium on the death of the big trees; and for what purpose? Only to make shingles, posts, and flume boards! This estate should be acquired by the Government at once, and thus save this most beautiful sequoia grove.” (Report of the Acting Superintendent of the Sequoia and General Grant National Parks, 1899, [Henry B. Clark, 2nd Lt., 3rd Artillery, U.S.A., p. 7.)

AVALANCHE PEAK (10,085)[Tehipite]
Peak directly south of Kings River Cañon above Grand Sentinel. Shown on sketch-map accompanying article by John Muir, A Rival of the Yosemite, in Century Magazine, November, 1891, p. 79. Name subsequently became transposed on maps to peak farther south.

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