The Souvenir of Western Women/Nomenclature of Northwest Mountains

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Nomenclature of Northwest Mountains


THERE are three principal mountain ranges in Oregon. The first is the Coast Range, taking its name from the fact that it runs parallel with the Pacific Coast. The average height is about 3000 feet. The highest point is "Mary's Peak," which has an altitude of a little over 5000 feet. The name was derived from the fact that a lady named Mrs. Mary Lloyd, an immigrant of 1845, was the first white woman to cross a stream entering the Willamette River from the west, a little south of the present city of Corvallis. This led to naming the stream after her — Mary's River; and as it heads in the mountain above alluded to, that was called "Mary's Peak." The Indian name is "Chin-tim-i-ni."

The second, the Cascade Range, is a continuation northward of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. In early days, probably in 1832, it was called the "President's Range," it is believed, by Hall J. Kelley. Mr. Kelley was born in Maine, but in early life removed to Massachusetts, was educated there and followed the vocation of teaching. He was the first person to agitate the question of colonizing Oregon, beginning his efforts as early as 1820, that year marking the date when the "American Society for Encouraging the Settlement of the Oregon Territory" was organized in Boston.

The snow-capped mountains in this range are as follows, beginning just below the 42d parallel:

"Mt. Shasta"— "Mt. Jackson," by Mr. Kelley. "Shasta" was the name of a tribe of Indians in the vicinity.

"Mt. McLoughlin," in the Cascade Range, west of Klamath Lake, was named after Dr. John McLoughlin, the chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company in Oregon from 1824 to 1842, as early as 1838, by the British fur traders. The mountain bore this honored name, almost without interruption, until 1863; then, at the instance of a civil engineer by the name of Colonel George H. Belden, it is believed, the mountain began to be called "Mt. Pitt," and this has continued almost without interruption up to the present time. Since there was no historical connection between the name "Pitt" and any circumstance or incident in Oregon history, the writer of this sketch, after careful investigation of all the facts bearing upon the matter, began a movement to re-establish the name of "McLoughlin," and prepared resolutions setting forth the reasons for the proposed change, which were recently adopted by the Oregon Historical Society, the Oregon Legislature, the Mazamas (the Alpine Club of Oregon), and by the Woman's Federated Clubs of Oregon, requesting that the geographical department of the United States at Washington give its official sanction to the change desired. Mr. Kelley's name for this mountain was "Mt. Madison."

"Mt. Thielsen" was named about 1875 in honor of Mr. Hans Thielsen, the chief engineer in constructing the Oregon & California railroad from Portland to the California line—now the Southern Pacific. Kelley called this "Mt. John Quincy Adams."

"Three Sisters," so called because of the close proximity of three snow peaks to each other; but the date when this group was so named, and by whom, I cannot give with certainty.

"Mt. Jefferson" was named by Captain William Clark on April 3, 1806, in honor of President Thomas Jefferson.

"Mt. Hood" was named by Lieutenant William Broughton. of Captain George Vancouver's exploring expedition, on October 29, 1792, in honor of Lord Hood, of the British admiralty. Mr. Kelley called this "Mt. Washington." It was called by some of the Indian tribes "Pah-to," signifying "high mountain," a name, however, which it is understood applies to any high mountain.

"Mt. St. Helens" was named by Broughton on October 20. 1792, in honor of the British ambassador at the Court of Spain.

"Mt. Rainier" was named by Vancouver on May 7, 1792, after his particular friend, Rear Admiral Rainier of the Royal Navy. It is interesting to note that it was upon this date that Captain Robert Gray, an American navigator, sailed into what is now called Gray's Harbor, supposing it was the mouth of the Columbia River. Kelley's name for this peak was "Mt. Harrison."

Mt. Olympia, one of the highest peaks in the Olympic Range, in Jefferson and Clallam Counties. Washington, was named by Captain John Meares, an English navigator, on July 4, 1788. This is the "Mt. Van Buren" of Mr. Kelley.

The peak called "Mt. Scott," near Crater Lake, was called "Mt. Monroe" by Kelley.

"Mt. Baker" was named by Captain George Vancouver on April 80, 1792, after Lieutenant Baker, one of his officers, who saw it for the first time on that date. Mr. Kelley called this peak "Mt. Tyler."

"Mt. St. Elias" was named in 1741 by Vitus Beering, a Dane, selected by Peter the Great of Russia, because of his approved courage and nautical skill, to take charge of an exploring expedition.

"Mt. Edgecumbe" was named by Captain James Cook on May 2, 1778.

"Mt. Fairweather" was named by Captain Cook on May 3, 1778.

The third range is called the "Blue Mountains," because of the bluish appearance when looked at from a distance, caused by the pine-covered summits. While large bodies of snow lie upon these mountains the greater portion of the year, it has no perpetual snow peaks.