Mount Evans

There are 18 proposals for name changes for mountains, creeks, draws, lakes and gulches in Colorado.

Three more proposals, including a third for Mount Evans, have been submitted to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names and now have joined the list in front of the Colorado Geographic Naming Board.

The board, empowered to review place names tied to historical racism, met Wednesday night but did not take action on any of the proposals for renaming places around the state. 

There are now 18 proposals for name changes for mountains, creeks, draws, lakes and gulches in Colorado. 

Three have been submitted to rename Mount Evans. The first proposal, announced in July 2018, was submitted by elementary school teacher Kate Tynan-Ridgeway of Denver, to rename it Mount Cheyenne-Arapaho.

In her proposal, Tynan-Ridgeway said the name should be changed because it is named after Second Territorial Gov. John Evans, who took "part in the infamous Sand Creek Massacre and its subsequent cover-up." Evans resigned as governor at the request of President Andrew Johnson after two investigations by Congress and a military committee all found evidence of the Colorado government's responsibility for the massacre.

The submission notes that the Evans family is in favor of the renaming. According to the submission, Tom Hayden, a former Clear Creek County commissioner and a great-great grandson of Evans, voiced support for the change.

"If you’re going to rename a mountain or if you’re going to rename a concrete street, these are just material things," Hayden said before his death in 2016. "But if it’s going to educate and bring awareness, and some good can come out of it, I’ll get behind that. I’ll help."

Name change proposals for Mount Evans had been opposed in the past by the Clear Creek County commissioners. But Commissioner George Marlin told Colorado Politics Thursday that they decided to withdraw their objection a couple of weeks ago.

"We want to evaluate this on neutral grounds," Marlin said.

Mount Evans has two other proposals for renaming: Mount Soule, after Silas Soule, the commander of the 1st Colorado Cavalry who testified against Col. John Chivington, who led the Sand Creek massacre, and was murdered shortly thereafter. The proposal, announced in April 2019, was submitted by Karen Naiman of Denver.

The third name is Mount Rosalie, after Rosalie Osborne Ludlow Bierstadt. The mountain has had several names: Mount Rosa, Mount Rosalia and Mount Rosalie, which was the name of an 1863 painting by noted Colorado landscape artist Albert Bierstadt. The name was in honor of Rosalie Ludlow, who later married Bierstadt.  The name was changed to Mount Evans in 1895, based on a resolution adopted by the Colorado General Assembly.

The other submissions from the Oct. 5 announcement:

To change Gore Range in Eagle, Summit, Grand, Jackson and Routt counties to Nuchu Range. Summit County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier of Silverthorne submitted the proposal on behalf of the county commissioners. The board adopted a resolution that stated “the Ute Tribal leadership including the Northern Ute, Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute Tribes have agreed on an appropriate and meaningful name of Nuchu Range as the best replacement name.”

The range was named after Sir. George Gore, an Irish baron who led a hunting expedition in 1854-1857 that killed thousands of buffalo, elk, deer and bears for sport.

The third new proposal was submitted by Robert Romaniak of Castle Rock, to rename Devil's Head mountain in the Pike National Forest to Thunder Mountain. Romaniak wrote that because “we are re-naming features to remove notorious individuals and offensive slang, why not remove the name of a creature behind all the evil in this world."

The Colorado board will meet again before year's end, and could at that time begin setting up a process for accepting recommendations as well as reviewing the list of proposals already submitted. 

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