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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. ]


Named by Lieutenant N. F. McClure in 1895 for John P. Babcock, chief deputy, California State Board of Fish Commissioners. (N. F. McClure.)

Fielding Bacon, a pioneer stockman. (J. B. Agnew, Walter Fry.)

BALLOON DOME (6900)[Kaiser]
“Two or three miles southeast of this is a most remarkable dome, more perfect in form than any before seen in the state. It rises to the height of 1800 feet above the river, and presents exactly the appearance of the upper part of a sphere; or, as Professor Brewer says, ‘of the top of a gigantic balloon struggling to get up through the rock.’” (Whitney Survey: Geology, 1865, p. 401.)

BANNER PEAK (12,957)[Mount Lyell]
Named by Willard D. Johnson, topographer, U.S.G.S., in 1883, on account of cloud-banners streaming from the summit. (J. N. Le Conte.)

First ascent by Willard D. Johnson and John Miller, August 26, 1883. (S.C.B., 1905, V:3, p. 193.)

BARNARD, MOUNT (14,003)[Mount Whitney]
Edward Emerson Barnard (1857-1923); astronomer, famous for discovery of many comets, for studies of the Milky Way, and for development of photography in astronomical work; B.S., Vanderbilt, 1887; S.D. (hon.), 1893; LL.D., Queen’s University, Ontario, 1909; astronomer at Lick Observatory, Mount Hamilton, 1888-1895; at Yerkes Observatory, University of Chicago, 1895-1923. (Edwin B. Frost, in The Astrophysical Journal, July, 1923.)

Named by C. Mulholland and W. L. Hunter, who, with John and William Hunter, made the first ascent, September 25, 1892. (S.C.B., 1894, I:3, pp. 85-89.)

BARNEY LAKE[Bridgeport]
Barney Peeler, an old resident of Bridgeport. (W. H. Spaulding, in S.C.B., 1925, XII:2, p. 126.)

BARTON PEAK (10,400)[Tehipite]
Named for Jim Barton, who has run cattle on this mountain for twenty years. Formerly shown on maps as Mount Moraine.

Named for a famous battle that took place on this creek between a burro and a mountain lion. There are several versions of the story. Guy Hopping, of Three Rivers, says the burro was owned by his family for many years after the battle, which he describes as follows:

George Cahoon owned the burro, named Barney. Barney came into camp one day bloody and torn. Men followed back along the bloody tracks and came to the scene of the battle. It was apparent that there had been a struggle, and it seemed most probable that the lion had been injured by kicks or biting and had crawled off to the stream where it was drowned in the high water, leaving the burro victorious.

Walter Fry says that Cahoon found the lion dead from the effects of the wounds.

BAXTER, MOUNT (13,118)[Mount Whitney]
Probably for John Baxter, a rancher in Owens Valley. (W. A. Chalfant.) First ascent by George R. Davis, U.S.G.S., 1905. (J. N. Le Conte.)

BEAR CREEK[Mount Goddard]
Theodore S. Solomons says that this name was current among sheepmen when he first came there in 1894.

BEAR CREEK SPIRE (13,705)[Mount Goddard]
Named by J. N. Le Conte, 1908. (S.C.B., 1909, VII:1, p. 12, and map.) First ascent by Hermann F. Ulrichs, August 16, 1923. (Letter from H. F. Ulrichs.)

Said to have been named by early stockmen, who found a bear’s paw nailed to a tree.

Said to be named on account of a snow-patch that was the last to go in summer and which resembled a bearskin. (J. B. Agnew.)

“We now descend to Bearskin Meadow, a sheet of purple-topped grasses enameled with violets, gilias, larkspurs, potentillas, ivesias, columbine, etc.; parnassia and sedges in the wet places, and majestic trees crowding forward in proud array to form a curving border, while Little Boulder Creek, a stream twenty feet wide, goes humming and swirling merrily through the middle of it.” (Muir: A Rival of the Yosemite, in Century Magazine, November, 1891, p. 79.)

BEARUP LAKE[Dardanelles]
Named by Lieutenant N. F. McClure for a soldier in his detachment, 1894— Pronounced “Beer-up.” (N. F. McClure.)

George Powell, a pioneer prospector, says correct spelling is “Beausore,” pronounced “Bā’saw,” according to Sam Ellis; shown on some maps as “Basaw.” Named for a stockman of the ’60s. (Chester Versteeg.)

BECK LAKES[Mount Lyell]
Named about 1882 for John Beck, a prospector of the Minaret district. (Chester Versteeg, from George Powell.)

BENCH LAKE[Mount Whitney]
Named by J. N. Le Conte in 1902. (J. N. Le Conte.)

William F. Bennett, a stockman of the ’70s. (Walter Fry.)

BENSON LAKE, PASS[Dardanelles]
Harry Coupland Benson (1857-1924); on duty with troops in Yosemite National Park, as a lieutenant, from 1895 to 1897; later, as captain and major, was acting superintendent of Yosemite National Park, from 1905 to 1905; acting superintendent Yellowstone National Park, 1909 to 1910; also with troops in Sequoia National Park, 1891 and 1892; graduated U. S. Military Academy, second lieutenant, 1882; first lieutenant, 1888; captain, 1897; major, 1905; lieutenant-colonel, 1911; colonel, 1914; retired, 1915. (Biography and portrait in S.C.B., 1925, XII:2 pp. 175-179.)

Name given in 1895. (H. C. Benson.)

Known in early days as Crabtree Creek or jenny Lind Cañon. (Elliott: Guide to the Grand and Sublime Scenery of the Sierra Nevada, 1883, p. 41.)

John Crabtree and Bill Corse had a mine on the cast side of the Great Western Divide which they named Jenny Lind Mine; they called the creek Jenny Lind Creek. (G. W. Stewart.)

Name given by James Clay, 1902; suggested by the tracks of a large bird seen on the shore. (James Clay.)

This name appears to antedate the name Dollar Lake found on most maps. The latter name, if given because of the supposed shape of the lake, is inappropriate, because the lake is decidedly irregular in contour and considerably longer than it is wide. (F. P. Farquhar.)

Road from Knights Ferry, via Chinese Camp and Priests, was extended in 1869 from Big Oak Flat to Hardin Ranch, and in 1870 to Hodgdon Ranch.. During next two years it was continued to Gentry’s Station; completed by Yosemite Turnpike and Road Company, under authority of State Legislature, to floor of Yosemite Valley, July 17, 1874. Title passed to Big Oak Flat and Yosemite Turnpike Road Company, 1879, with franchise to operate it as tollroad. Portion from boundary of State Park to floor of Valley, three miles, purchased by State of California, 1888. (Hutchings: In the Heart of the Sierras, 1886, p. 335.—Report of the Commission on Roads in Yosemite National Park, California, dated December 4, 1899. [Colonel S. M. Mansfield, Captain Harry C. Benson, J. L. Maude, commissioners.] Senate Document No. 155, 56th Congress, 1st Session, 1900.)

“Nor must we pass unseen the sturdy, branch-topped, and root-cut veteran of a noble and enormous oak; Quercus lobata; some eleven feet in diameter, now prostrate, on our right; as it was from this once famous tree that ‘Big Oak Flat,’ the village through which we pass, and the route, received their name.” (Hutchings: In the Heart of the Sierras, In the Heart of the Sierras, 1886, p. 323.)

BIGELOW PEAK (10,510)[Dardanelles]
John Bigelow, Jr., major 9th Cavalry, U. S. Army, acting superintendent Yosemite National Park, 1904; born, 1854; graduated U. S. Military Academy, second lieutenant, 1877; first lieutenant, 1883; captain, 1893; major, 1902; retired, 1904; lieutenant-colonel, retired, 1919.

BIGHORN LAKE[Mount Goddard]
“An exclamation of surprise burst from one of the party, and we found directly before us a band of ‘big-horn’ sheep. We had supposed the animal long since extinct in the Sierra, and at first we could scarcely believe our eyes. . . . There were perhaps twenty in all. . . . There confronted us a wild array of rugged gorges and peaks glowing pink in the setting sun, and deep down in the amphitheater below us lay an azure lake. . . . This we named Big Horn Lake.” (Lincoln Hutchinson, in S.C.B., 1903, IV:3, pp. 202-203.)

The Sierra Nevada Mountain Sheep (Ovis canadensis sierrae) has not been seen in the Sierra for a number of years, although possibly a few bands remain in the southern portion or on the eastern slope of the range.

BISHOP PASS, CREEK[Mount Goddard, Bishop]
Samuel Addison Bishop (1825-1893), an early settler of Owens Valley, 1863-1866; native of Virginia; came to California in 1849 and engaged in various activities about Fort Tejon; in 1866 a supervisor of Kern County; constructed first street-car line in San Jose, 1868. (Chalfant: The Story of Inyo, 1922, pp. 90-92.)

The creek was probably the first feature to receive the name; later it was applied to the pass and to the town of Bishop.

BLACK DIVIDE[Mount Goddard]
Named by George R. Davis, U.S.G.S., when making Mount Goddard quadrangle, about 1907. (J. N. Le Conte.)

BLACK GIANT (13,312)[Mount Goddard]
“A few miles to the south rose a particularly inviting point, which certainly commands a peerless view. But time forbade an ascent this year, so I named it the Black Giant, and wondered how long it would stand as it has so far stood, an untrodden summit.” (J. N. Le Conte in S.C.B., 1905, V:3, p. 236.) In making the map of the Mount Goddard quadrangle, 1907-1909, the U.S.G.S. placed the name Mount Goode on this peak, apparently unaware of the name given by Le Conte. The earlier name was restored by decision of the U. S. Geographic Board, January, 1926, and the name of Goode was transferred to peak on the main crest of the Sierra.

First ascent by George R. Davis, U.S.G.S., 1905. (Letter from G. R. Davis to W. L. Huber, September 14, 1916.)

BLACK KAWEAH (See Kaweah Peaks)

Judge W. B. Wallace, of Visalia, says he went over this pass with a riding-horse and pack-animals in 1879, and believes he was the first to do so. It was for a time called “Black Pass.” It is designated “Black Rock Pass” on Lieutenant Milton F. Davis’ map of 1896. The name is derived from a band of black rock that is in noticeable contrast to the red and white formations near by. Known also as “Cliff Pass” in early days.

Lost Valley is the first and true name. It was known as early as 1870. Blaney later had a sheep-camp there every year. (L. A. Winchell.)

“It is very steep and rough; the name is suggestive of the disagreeable effects of the sharp edges of the slates on the legs of the unfortunate animals driven over it.” (Whitney Survey: Geology, 1865, p. 436.)

“It was known and traveled as a pass by wild animals and the Indians long before its discovery by white men in the gold year of 1858, as is shown by old trails which come together at the head of it. The name may have been suggested by the red color of the metamorphic slates in which the cañon abounds, or by the blood-stains on the rocks from unfortunate animals that were compelled to slide and shuffle over the sharp-angled boulders.” (Muir: My First Summer in the Sierra, 1911, p. 289. —See, also, Picturesque California, edited by John Muir, 1888, vol. I, pp. 24, 28.)

Named in 1909 by R. B. Marshall, U.S.G.S., for Charles W. Blossom, park ranger. (R. B. Marshall.)

BOLTON BROWN, MOUNT (13,527)[Bishop]
“It stands at the junction of the Sequoia, Sierra and Inyo Nat. Forests. We hereby name it ‘Mt. Bolton Brown’ in honor of Bolton C. Brown of the Sierra Club, who was the first to explore, map and write of the Upper Basin of the So. Fork of the Kings River.” (Chester Versteeg, in S.C.B., 1923, XI:4, p. 426.)

First ascent by Chester Versteeg and Rudolph Berls, August 14, 1922.

Bolton Coit Brown, professor of drawing and painting at Stanford University, 1891-1902, wrote a series of articles for Sierra Club Bulletin describing his explorations and climbs in the Sierra: Three Days with Mt. King, 1896, I:7, pp. 241-253; A Trip About the Headwaters of the South and Middle Forks of Kings River, 1896, I:8, pp. 293-313; Wanderings in the High Sierra Between Mt. King and Mt. Williamson, 1897, II:1, pp. 17-28, and 1897, II:2, pp. 90-98; Another Paradise, 1900, III:2, pp. 135-149; A Glimpse of the Winter Sierra, 1901, III:3, pp. 242-248.

BOND PASS[Dardanelles]
Frank Bond, of the U. S. General Land Office, one of the Yosemite National Park Boundary Commission in 1904; now chairman of the U. S. Geographic Board. (R. B. Marshall.)

One of the points on the boundary of the original grant of the Yosemite Valley by the Federal Government to the State of California as a state park, Act of June 30, 1864. Name appears on Wheeler Survey map of Yosemite Valley, 1883.

BRADLEY, MOUNT (13,780)[Mount Whitney]
Cornelius Beach Bradley; born in Siam, 1643; B.A., Oberlin, 1868; M.A.,

1886; B.D., Yale, 1871; missionary to Siam, 1871-1874; taught at Oakland High School, 1875-1882; at University of California since 1882; professor of rhetoric, 1894-1911; professor emeritus since 1911; a charter member of the Sierra Club.

Named by Mr. and Mrs. Robert M. Price and Joseph C. Shinn, who made first ascent, July 5, 1898. (S.C.B., 1899, II:5, p. 273.)

BRANIGAN LAKE[Dardanelles]
Named by Lieutenant N. F. McClure for a soldier of his detachment while exploring the park in 1894. Branigan was killed in the Philippines. (N. F. McClure.)

BREEZE CREEK[Dardanelles, Yosemite]
BREEZE LAKE[Mount Lyell]
William F. Breeze, of San Francisco, who assisted his brother-in-law, Lieutenant Benson, in making map, 1896. (H. C. Benson.)

BREWER, MOUNT (13,577)[Mount Whitney]
William Henry Brewer (1828-1910); Ph.B., Yale, 1852; LL.D., Yale, 1903, Wesleyam 1904, University of California, 1910; professor of natural sciences, University of California 1863-1864; professor of agriculture, Yale, 1864-1903; professor emeritus, 1903-1910; principal assistant of Whitney in California State Geological Survey, 1860-1865, and chief of field party that explored central High Sierra in 1864. Portrait in S.C.B., 1923, XI:4, plate CXL, and S.C.B., 1925, XII:2, plate XLIV.

Named by members of Brewer’s party, 1864. (Whitney Survey: Geology, 1865, p. 378.)

First ascent by William H. Brewer and Charles F. Hoffmann, July 2, 1864. (Whitney Survey: Geology, 1865, p. 379; King: Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada, 1872, pp. 52-56; S.C.B., 1896, I:7, p. 289; S.C.B., 1922, XI:3, p. 252.)

Although Hutchings says that he suggested the name on his first visit to Yosemite in 1855 (Hutchings: In the Heart of the Sierras, 1886, p. 89), it is said by Bunnell to have been named by Warren Baer, editor of the Mariposa Democrat (Bunnell: Discovery of the Yosemite, 1880, p. 208). This is corroborated by the following quotation from a reprint of an article in the Mariposa Democrat of August 5, 1856: “We make bold to call it Bridal Veil; and those who may have the felicity to witness the stream floating in the embrace of the morning breeze, will acknowledge the resemblance, and perhaps pardon the liberty we have taken in attempting to apply so poetical a name to this Queen of the Valley.” (Quarterly of the California Historical Society, 1923, I:3, p. 277.)

Po'ho-no, Po-ho'no (though the first is probably more correct.)” (Powers: Tribes of California, in Contributions to North American Ethnology, III, 1877, p. 363.) The Indian name, has been commented upon by Hutchings, Bunnell, Whitney (Yosemite Guide Book, 1870, p. 16), and many others. Kroeber says: “Pohono Falls, in Yosemite Valley, appears to be of Miwok Indian origin. These Indians, however, do not recognize the often-quoted meaning ‘evil wind,’ and connect the word rather with Pohonichi, the Yokuts’ name of a Miwok group in the vicinity, in which -chi is an ending denoting ‘people.’” (Kroeber: California Place Names of Indian Origin, 1916, p. 55.) (See Pohono Trail.)

BRODERICK, MOUNT (6705)[Yosemite]
Broderick’s name was originally placed on what is now known as Liberty Cap. (Whitney Survey, Geology, 1865, pp. 418-419.) Displaced in 1865. (See Liberty Cap.) On Wheeler Survey map of Yosemite Valley, 1883, it appears in present location.

David Colbert Broderick; born in Ireland, 1820; U. S. Senator from California, 1857-1859; killed in duel with David S. Terry, 1859.

BUBBS CREEK[Mount Whitney]
John Bubbs was one of a party of prospectors who crossed Kearsarge Pass from Owens Valley in 1864. (S.C.B., 1918, X:3, p. 340.) These prospectors are mentioned by Brewer’s party of the Whitney Survey. (Whitney Survey: Geology, 1865, p. 394.)

BUCK CAÑON[Tehipite]
Some say it was named for Jim Budd, an Indian; but others say from the killing of a large buck. Long known as Buck Cañon. (G. W. Stewart.)

Lafayette Houghton Bunnell (1824-1903); born at Rochester, New York; moved to Detroit, 1832; there, and later in Wisconsin, became familiar with Indians and learned Indian languages; served in Mexican War, 1847; came to California, 1849; joined Mariposa Battalion, organized by Major James D. Savage in 1851 for suppression of Indian raids; member of Mariposa Battalion expedition, first party of white men to enter Yosemite Valley, March 25, 1851; proposed name Yosemite for the valley; returned to Yosemite on second expedition under Captain Bowling (or Boling), May, 1851; remained in California, trading, mining, and surveying, for five or six years; returned to La Crosse, Wisconsin, and enlisted in U. S. Army, April, 1861; served throughout Civil War, commissioned assistant-surgeon, 1865; honorary degree of M.D., La Crosse Medical College, 1864; spent remainder of his life in Minnesota. (Bunnell: Discovery of the Yosemite, 1880; Kuykendall, in Hall’s Handbook of Yosemite National Park, 1921, pp. 3-13; Dr. Howard A. Kelly, in Annals of Medical History, vol. III, no. 2, 192 1.)

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