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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. ]


CAHOON MOUNTAIN (4200)[Kaweah]
George Cahoon lived on South Fork of Kaweah River, hence the name of the mountain; had a summer home at meadow, north of Marble Fork, that bears his name. (G. W. Stewart.)

CAMP CURRY[Yosemite]
Established June 1, 1899, by Mr. and Mrs. David A. Curry, and maintained annually ever since. David A. Curry (1860-1917) and Jennie Foster (born 1861), both natives of Indiana, were married in 1886. “As students under David Starr Jordan at Indiana University, they were inducted into the joys of tramping and camping, and, as teachers, carried on such work for several years as vacation employment, chiefly in the Yellowstone National Park, until . . . Camp Curry was founded.” (Letter from Mrs. Curry.)

CARDINAL MOUNTAIN (13,388), LAKE[Mount Whitney.]
Named by George R. Davis, U.S.G.S., on account of brilliant coloring of the mountain summit—like the red cap of a cardinal. The lake was named from the mountain. (J. N. Le Conte.)

First ascent, August 11, 1922, by George Downing, Jr. (S.C.B., 1923, XI:4, p. 425.)

CARROLL CREEK[Mount Whitney]
A. W. de la Cour Carroll, of Lone Pine. (Chester Versteeg.) Carroll climbed Mount Williamson in 1893 and named Mount Le Conte in 1895. (S.C.B., 1894, I:3, pp. 90-92; S.C.B., 1896, I:8, pp. 325-326.). A charter member of the Sierra Club.

Named by Frank Lewis in the ’70s. “While hunting there with a young friend, Harrison Hill, I wounded a bear and told him to finish it. He became excited and threw all the shells out of his Winchester without firing a shot.” (Letter from Frank Lewis, February 12, 1926.)

CASCADE VALLEY[Mount Morrison]
Name given by George R. Davis, U.S.G.S. The meadow was originally named Peninsula Meadow by J. N. Le Conte and J. S. Hutchinson in 1908, because of a peninsula jutting into the stream. (J. N. Le Conte, S.C.B., 1909, VII:1, p. 7.)

“I named these falls the Cascades on a first exploration.” (Bunnell, in Biennial Report of the Commissioners to Manage Yosemite Valley, 1889-90, p. 13.)

Bill Case had a cabin at the head of Salt Creek, and used to run a team on this mountain for sledding shakes. His team was famous for its mixture of four different animals: a horse, a mule, a burro, and a steer. (Guy Hopping, Walter Fry.)

Named for an early sheepman. (Chester Versteeg, from S. L. N. Ellis.)

“This we named Castilleja Lake, the castilleja blossoms being especially perfect and brilliant upon its shores.” (Bolton Coit Brown, in S.C.B., 1897, II:1, p. 21, and map opposite p. 26.) This lake is not named on U.S.G.S. maps,—it is near the head of East Creek on the route to Harrison Pass.

Castilleia, or castilleia, is the botanical name for the Indian paintbrush.

“Cataract Creek, we called it, and marveled at its wonderful setting.” (J. N. Le Conte, in S.C.B., 1904, V:1, pp. 10-H.)

CATHEDRAL PEAK (10,933)[Mount Lyell]
“From a high ridge, crossed just before reaching this lake [Tenaya], we had a fine view of a very prominent exceedingly grand landmark through all the region, and to which the name of Cathedral Peak has been given.” (Whitney Survey: Geology, 1865, p. 425.)

“No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temples, and the more they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems the Lord himself. The same may be said of stone temples. Yonder, to the eastward of our camp grove, stands one of Nature’s cathedrals, hewn from the living rock, almost conventional in form, about two thousand feet high, nobly adorned with spires and pinnacles, thrilling under floods of sunshine as if alive like a grove-temple, and well named ‘Cathedral’.” (Muir: My First Summer in the Sierra, 1911, p. 196.)

John Muir climbed to the topmost spire, September 7, 1869. (Muir: My First Summer in the Sierra, 1911, p. 332.)

Theodore S. Solomons describes an ascent in 1897. (S.C.B., 1901, III:3, p. 236.)

A small hotel was built here about 1897 by Hugh Robison, but as it was on government land and he had no permit, he was dispossessed the following year. (G. W. Stewart.)

CENTER PEAK (12,767)[Mount Whitney]
Named by Cornelius Beach Bradley and Robert M. Price in 1896, when Professor Bradley made the first ascent. (S.C.B., 1899, II:5, p. 273.)

CHAGOOPAH PLATEAU, FALLS[Mount Whitney, Olancha]
The falls were named by W. B. Wallace, J. W. A. Wright, and F. H. Wales, in 1881, for an old Piute chief. (Mount Whitney Club Journal, 1902, no. 1, p. 11.)

The name is spelled “Sha-goo-pah” by Wallace; also in Elliott’s Guide to the Grand and Sublime Scenery of the Sierra Nevada (1883), where it is said to be the Indian name of Mount Williamson (pp. 38-39).

Kroeber says the meaning is unknown, but the name is almost certainly a Mono word. (Kroeber: California Place Names of Indian Origin, 1916, p. 38.)

“We have mapped it as the Chagoopah Plateau, as it is traversed by the creek forming the Chagoopah Falls.” (William R. Dudley, in S.C.B., 1898, II:3, p. 187.)

The name appears on Hoffmann’s map, 1873, but the origin seems obscure. Locally known as Rhoda Lake at one time. (S.C.B., 1894, I:3, p. 99.)

CHARYBDIS (12,935)[Mount Goddard]
Named by Theodore S. Solomons in 1895, when with E. C. Bonner he descended from Mount Goddard to Simpson Meadow by way of Disappearing Creek and the Enchanted Gorge, passing between what he termed “Scylla and Charybdis.” It was not his intention to attach the word “mount” or “peak.” (T. S. Solomons.) (See Scylla.)

“But that other cliff, Odysseus, thou shalt note, lying lower, hard by the first: thou couldest send an arrow across. . . . and beneath it mighty Charybdis sucks down black water, for thrice a day she spouts it forth, and thrice a day she sucks it down in terrible wise.’” (The Odyssey of Homer, Done into English Prose, by S. H. Butcher and A. Lang, 1883, book XII, p. 195.)

Named for a species of chaparral prevalent in the vicinity, Castanopsis sempervirens, bush chinquapin.

From the Spanish diminutive, applied to a branch of the San Joaquin, Chiquito Joaquin, or Little Joaquin, contracted to Chiquito Creek.

CHITTENDEN PEAK (10,133)[Dardanelles]
Hiram Martin Chittenden (1858-1917); captain and later brigadier-general, Engineer Corps, U. S. Army; with two other commissioners, Robert B. Marshall, U.S.G.S., and Frank Bond, U. S. General Land Office, made a report in 1904 on revision of boundaries of Yosemite National Park which was adopted by act of Congress, February 7, 1905. (R. B. Marshall.)

Chittenden is best known for his history, “American Fur Trade in the Far West,” and for his many years’ connection with Yellowstone National Park, where he rendered distinguished service in construction of roads and bridges.

CLARK, MOUNT (11,506)[Mount Lyell]
Galen Clark, first guardian of the Yosemite State Park, 1864, and reputed discoverer of Mariposa Grove of big trees. Born in New Hampshire, March 28, 1814; died March 24, 1910, in Yosemite Valley, where he is buried. (S.C.B., 1910, VII:4, pp. 215-220; Muir: The Yosemite, 1912, pp. 240-248.) A charter member of the Sierra Club.

“At the northeast extremity of the Merced group is the grand peak to which we first gave the name of the ‘Obelisk,’ from its peculiar shape, as seen from the region north of the Yosemite. It has, since then, been named Mount Clark, While the range to which it belongs is sometimes called the Obelisk Group, but, oftener, the Merced Group, because the branches of that river head around it.” (Whitney: Yosemite Guide Book, 1870, p. 108.)

First ascent by Clarence King and James T. Gardiner, July 12, 1866. (King: Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada, 1872, pp. 197-205.)

Named for Martin Click. (G. W. Stewart.)

This is the cañon of the east fork of Roaring River, erroneously labeled “Deadman Cañon” on many maps. (S.C.B., 1921, XI:2, p. 119.)

“I named it ‘The Cloud Mine’ because the clouds hung so low overhead. At the same time I named the creek Cloud Creek and put the name in my notebook. I often referred to my mine as being up in the clouds. . . . The claim I had recorded on my return to Visalia as the ‘Cloud Claim’.” (Letter from judge William B. Wallace, in S.C.B., 1924, XII:1, pp. 47-48.) The event occurred in 1880.

CLOUDS REST (9930)[Mount Lyell]
“Because upon our first visit the party exploring the ‘Little Yosemite’ turned back and hastened to camp upon seeing the clouds rapidly settling down to rest upon that mountain, thereby indicating the snowstorm that soon followed.” (Bunnell: Discovery of the Yosemite, 1880, p. 201.—See, also, Biennial Report of the Commissioners to Manage Yosemite Valley, 1889-90, p. 11.)

Discovered by William O. Clough in 1885. He blasted a hole big enough to crawl through. He filed on it as a mineral claim, but the application lapsed. Clough was born in New York State, 1851, and died in the fall of 1917 on the Franklin Pass trail while trying to reach the lake in order to shut off the water from the power company’s flume for the winter. (Guy Hopping.)

Named by François E. Matthes, U.S.G.S., in 1919, on account of its appearance. (S.C.B., 1920, ] U:1, p. 26.)

COLBY MEADOW[Mount Goddard]
COLBY MOUNTAIN (9700)[Yosemite]
COLBY PASS[Mount Whitney, Tehipite]
William Edward Colby, San Francisco attorney, president of the Sierra Club 1917-1919, and for many years its secretary and leader of the club outings; born at Benicia, California, 1875; LL.B., Hastings College of Law (University of California), 1898; lecturer on law of mines and waters at University of California; author of articles on mining law.

The meadow on Evolution Creek was named by members of the U. S. Forest Service engaged in building the John Muir Trail in 1915.

The mountain, overlooking the Tuolumne Cañon above Muir Gorge, was named by R. B. Marshall, U.S.G.S. (R. B. Marshall.)

The pass was named by a Sierra Club party, July 13, 1912, upon discovering it as a promising route for animals between Kern and Roaring rivers. Colby was leader of that party, and subsequently did much to explore approaches and encourage attempts at crossing. The first-known crossing by saddle- and pack-animals was on August 5, 1920, by a party including Duncan McDuffie, James S. Hutchinson, Ernest McKee, and others. (S.C.B., 1921, XI:2, pp. 128-129.) There is evidence that the pass was used by sheepmen many years before. (S.C.B., 1900, III:2, p. 167.)

The Kaweah Co-operative Commonwealth Colony was established on the North Fork of Kaweah River in 1886. Claims had been filed in 1885 on lands in the Giant Forest region, and it was proposed to cut and market lumber on a co-operative basis.

“Its prime mission is to insure its members against want, or fear of want, by providing comfortable homes, ample sustenance, educational and recreative facilities, and to promote and maintain harmonious social relations, on the solid and grand basis of liberty, equality, and fraternity. The much-vexed question as to why it is that those who do the work of the world do not enjoy its fruits, and the remedy therefor, is solved for the first time in the history of the world at Kaweah.” (The Kaweah Commonwealth, November, 1889.)

Construction of a road to Giant Forest was begun in 1886 and completed as far as Colony Mill in 1890. The establishment of Sequoia National Park put an end to aspirations for the Giant Forest. The history of the Colony was marked by fraudulent misrepresentation on the part of the promoters, alleged dishonesty among the managers, and dissension among the members. The organization collapsed in 1891, leaving a few innocent idealists as victims. (George W. Stewart, in Weekly Visalia Delta, November and December, 1891; Burnette G. Haskell, in Out West, September, 1902.)

Name given by Joseph Palmer, pioneer of the Kaweah region, because of quantities of columbine growing around it. (W. F. Dean.)

Two varieties of columbine, Aquilegia truncata and Aquilegia pubescens, are found in the High Sierra. The flowers of the former are scarlet, tinged with yellow; of the latter, cream yellow, varying occasionally to white or to shades of red, pink, or purple. (Jepson: Manual of the Flowering Plants of California, 1925, p. 375.)

CONNESS, MOUNT (12,556)[Mount Lyell]
John Conness (1821-1909); native of Ireland; came to United States, 1836; member California legislature, 1853-1854, 1860-1861; United States Senator from California, 1863-1869; resided in Massachusetts from 1869 until his death in 1909.

“Mount Conness bears the name of a distinguished citizen of California, now a United States Senator, who deserves more than any other person, the credit of carrying the bill, organizing the Geological Survey of California, through the Legislature.” (Whitney: Yosemite Guide Book, 1870, p. 100.)

“I recognized the old familiar summit . . . and that firm peak with titan strength and brow so square and solid, it seems altogether natural we should have named it for California’s statesman, John Conness.” (King: Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada, 1872, p. 267.)

The members of the Whitney Survey were naturally appreciative of Senator Conness for helping their cause. Excepting for this mountain, however, his name has almost faded from history along with the names of other party politicians.

First ascent by Clarence King and James T. Gardiner, 1864. (Whitney: Yosemite Guide Book, 1870, p. 103.) Occupied as a survey station by Lieutenant M. M. Macomb and party, of the Wheeler Survey, September 25, 1878. (S.C.B., 1918, X:3, plate CCXIX.) Occupied by U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1879, 1887, and 1890. (George Davidson: The Occupation of Mount Conness, in Overland Monthly, February, 1892, p. 116.)

Once contained a very extensive grove of the finest big trees; now completely destroyed by lumbering.

Charles Converse took up timberlands here in the ’70s. He had come to California in 1849, and was in the vicinity of Millerton about 1852. He ran a ferry across the San Joaquin at what is now Friant until 1869. Built the first jail in Fresno County, and was the first person confined in it. (L. A. Winchell, George W. Stewart.)

CONVICT LAKE[Mount Morrison]
A band of convicts escaped from the Nevada state penitentiary at Carson City, September 17, 1871, and went south to Owens Valley. On the morning of September 24, a posse, led by Robert Morrison, encountered some of the convicts nears the head of what was then known as Monte Diablo Creek. Morrison was killed. The convicts escaped, but were captured a few days later and were lynched. The lake and creek were thenceforth called Convict. (Chalfant The Story of Inyo, 1922, pp. 214-220.)

The Indian name of the lake was Wit-sa-nap, according to Mrs. A. A. Forbes, of Bishop. (S.C.B., 1913, IX:1, p. 55.)

An old name for a creek that enters Kings River Cañon from the north. There are several outcroppings of copper in the vicinity, and a small copper mine east of the creek has been worked from time to time. (J. N. Le Conte.)

CORA LAKES[Mount Lyell]
Named by R. B. Marshall, U.S.G.S., for Mrs. Cora. Cressey Crow. (R. B. Marshall.)

Road from La Grange to Coulterville and Bower Cave (or from Big Oak Flat Road, via Smith Station, to Bower Cave), was extended as a toll-road to Crane Flat by the Coulterville and Yosemite Turnpike Company, 1859. In 1872 this company (John T. McLean, president) obtained permission from Yosemite Valley Commissioners to continue the road into the valley. Portion from Hazel Green to Crane Flat was abandoned in order to pass through Merced Grove of Big Trees. Completed June 17, 1874. Portion from “Blacksmith Shop” to center of valley purchased by State of California, 1886.

(Hutchings: In the Heart of the Sierras, 1886, pp. 287-288; Report of the Commission on Roads in Yosemite National Park, California, dated December 4, 1899—[Colonel Samuel Mather Mansfield, Captain Harry C. Benson, J. L. Maude, commissioners.] Senate Document No. 155, 56th Congress, 1st Session, 1900.)

Coulterville named for George W. Coulter, a pioneer of the Tuolumne-Merced region; one of the first commissioners appointed to manage the Yosemite Valley grant, 1864.

The origin of the name Coyote is from the Aztec coyotl. (Kroeber: California Place Names of Indian Origin, 1916, p. 41.)

The mountain coyote (Canis latrans lestis) has a wide range throughout the Sierra. (Grinnell and Storer: Animal Life in the Yosemite, 1924, pp. 71-76.)

The coyote figures prominently in the myths of the California Indians, particularly in creation myths. (Powers: Tribes of California, in Contributions to North American Ethnology, III, 1877.— Merriam: The Dawn of the World, 1910.— Kroeber: Indian Myths of South Central California, in University of California Publications—American Archaeology and Ethnology, IV:4, 1907.)

CRAIG PEAK (11,041)[Dardanelles]
John White Craig, born in Alabama, 1873; graduated U. S. Military Academy, second lieutenant, 1894; first lieutenant, 1899; captain, 1901; major, 1916; lieutenant-colonel, 1917; colonel, 1920; retired, 1921. (R. B. Marshall.)

CRANE FLAT[Yosemite]
“This name was suggested by the shrill and startling cry of some sand-hill cranes we surprised as they were resting on this elevated table.” (Bunnell: Discovery of the Yosemite, 1880, p. 316.)

“It is often visited by blue cranes to rest and feed on their long journeys.” (Muir: My First Summer in the Sierra, 1911, p. 122.)

CROCKER, MOUNT (12,448)[Mount Goddard]
Named by R. B. Marshall, U.S.G.S., for Charles Crocker (1822-1888), one of the organizers of the Central Pacific Railroad. (R. B. Marshall.)

Crockers Station, later known as Crockers Sierra Resort, established, 1850, by Henry Robinson Crocker (1827-1904), a native of Massachusetts. Buildings Constructed, 1880-1887; sold to John Baker, Jr., 1910; purchased by Yosemite National Park Company, 1917, and operations discontinued. Postoffice originally called Bronson, 1883; changed to Sequoia, 1886; has been discontinued. Captain Allen Swift Crocker (1822-1911), cousin of Henry R. Crocker, postmaster, 1883-1911. (Mrs. May Hall Crocker.)

CROWN MOUNTAIN (9339)[Tehipite]
Named by Frank Dusy about 1870, on account of a crownlike cap of rocks. The creek, meadow, and valley were named from the mountain. (L. A. Winchell.)

Discovered April 28, 1918, by A. L. Medley and C. M. Webster; named by Walter Fry. (Walter Fry.)

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