Adirondack History: Mountain Names

  "Mountain Names"

    By Marjorie Porter

August 17, 1945--Origin of some of the names of the principal peaks of the Adirondacks as ascertained from an authority, is of interest. It is a matter of regret that the old Indian names of these mountains were not retained for they, almost without exception, convey some idea or association peculiar to the locality to which they relate. What could be more appropriate than Mt. Seward's original name Ou-Kar-lah, the Great Eye; McIntyre, Henoga, Home of Thunder; Mt.Colden, Ounowarlah, Scalp Mountain; Whiteface, Thei-o-no-guen, White Head; Indian Pass, Henodoawda, the Path of the Thunderer; Mt. Marcy, Tahawas, He Splits the Sky; Willmington Notch, Kurloom, Spot of the Death Song; Lake Colden, Tawistas, the Mountain Cup; Ausable Ponds, Gawiadagao, Two Goblets side by side.


But these old names have nearly all been sacrificed to a spirit of improvement which might as well have been dispensed with. Mt. Marcy, Seward, McIntyre, Colden, Henderson and Dix were named by Professor Emmons or Professor Redfield, the first state surveyors who ever visited this region. Table Top, to the northwest of Marcy, Skylight, Haystack, Basin, Gothics, Saddleback, Wolf Jaws, Allen, Slide Mt., the Dial, Green Mt. and Sable Mt., were all named by the veteran Mt. Marcy guide and explorer, Orson S. Phelps, and it is but just to him to say that none of these mountains had previous names, and also that almost everyone of the names is impressive of some striking feature of the mountain to which it is applied. 


Resagonia (saw teeth) was named by Rev. Erastus Hopkins of Northhampton Mass.; the Giant of the Valley by Prof. Guiot; Hopkins' Peak by John Fitch; Baxter took it's name from an old resident of Keene Flats; Nipple Top is supposed to have been named by Adam, out of sheer inability to call it anything else; and Mt. Colvin was named by Verplanck Colvin, the only instance, it is thought, in which a man named one of the mountains after himself. Bartlett Mt., a spur of Haystack, which forms the western shore of the Upper Ausable Pond, was named after an old trapper, and Mts. Clinton and Wright, the southern and northern spurs of McIntyre


 Essex County Republican 

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