Nomenclature of Northwest Mountains

By George Himes, published in Mazama, vol.4, no.1, October 1912


Excerpt from: Himes, G.H., 1912, Nomenclature of Northwest Mountains: IN: Mazama, vol.4, no.1, October 1912.

Nomenclature of Northwest Mountains

   [p.1-3]     ... 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. ... 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. The name "Shasta" was given by Peter Skene Ogden, "Fur Trader," February 14, 1827, after the Indians in the vicinity of its base.

"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 1846, as early as 1838, by Thomas McKay, who had charge of the Hudson's Bay Company's express between Fort Vancouver and that company's station in Sacramento valley. 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 several years ago to re-establish the name of "McLoughlin," and prepared resolutions setting forth the reasons for the proposed change, which were 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 National Geographic Society of Washington, D.C., sanction the change. After considerable deliberation, this Society adopted the name, "Mount McLoughlin," a few months ago. Mr. Kelley's name for this mountain was "Mt. Madison."

"Mt. Thielson" 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" were so called because of the close proximity of three snow peaks to each other. Three peaks in the Cascade Range, about due east of Port Orford were called "Three Brothers" on an Oregon map drawn by J.A. Pownall, civil engineer, in 1858, and published by S.J. McCormick, a bookseller in Portland, in 1859. Up to this time the person who named these peaks has not been found.

"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 19, 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. It is not positively known who made the first ascent of this mountain, but it is believed to be Joel Palmer, a pioneer of 1845, who made the effort in the fall of that year. The first American women who ascended Mt. Hood were Miss Fannie Case, of Marion County, and Miss Mary Robinson, of Yamhill County, on August 4, 1867.

"Mt. St. Helens" was named by Broughton on October 20, 1792, in honor of the British ambassador at the Court of Spain. This mountain has had two eruptions since the advent of white men into Oregon -- one in 1831 and the other on November 22, 1842.

"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. Olympus," 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 30, 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." ...