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Museum Chatter: The Mountains of the Mt. Hood National Forest posted on 07/27/2023
By Lloyd Musser
For The Mountain Times

The Mountains of the Mount Hood National Forestmost geographic land features, such as mountains, rivers, and creeks, have place names associated with them.  Everyone uses place names routinely in our communications, but few of us know the reason why a specific name is associated with a specific land feature.  Knowing the reason why a name is associated with a place can broaden one’s appreciation for that place.  This article will focus on the names of various mountains in the vicinity of Mount Hood.  
A mountain is a landmass that projects conspicuously above its surroundings and is higher than a hill.  A hill is a rounded land feature lower than a mountain.  A butte is an isolated hill or mountain with steep sides and a small summit.  Forest fire lookouts are often located on buttes as they offer good views of the surrounding area.
All the mountains, hills, and buttes discussed in this article are in the Cascade Mountains.  It took a while for the early explorers to adopt the Cascades name.  Names like Western Mountains, and the Snowy Range appear in the journals of the early 1800s.  Hall Kelly promoted and lobbied for the Presidents Range, with the tallest mountains named for individual United States presidents.  Cascade Mountains quickly came into use as the explorers were greatly impressed with the prolific rapids in the Columbia River referred to as cascades.  
 Unfortunately, the name of the most dominant mountain in the area is neither descriptive or even interesting. Mount Hood was named by British Naval Officer Lieutenant William Broughton.    Upon sighting the large snow-covered peak while sailing up the Columbia River, Broughton proclaimed it Mount Hood, in honor of Lord Hood.  This high-ranking Royal Naval officer never visited the area or had anything to do with the history of the era. There have been several proposals in the past to rename Mount Hood, but none recently.
Multorpor is a curious name for the mountain that is the base for Skibowl East Adventure Park.  Apparently, there was a Portland Republican Club that coined and used the name made up of letters from Multnomah County, Oregon, and Portland.  The problem is that the word is difficult to pronounce, and the mountain is in Clackamas County.  The name Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain is understandable based on its form.  This half-mile-long ridge has three high points and is the home of the Skibowl West Adventure Park.
Enola Hill is truly a descriptive place name.  Around 1900, William and Cynthia Creighton successfully homesteaded on this hilltop, east of Rhododendron.  This elderly couple were all alone, not a neighbor for miles.  Cynthia reversed the spelling of alone and named their hill Enola.  Veda Lake and Veda Butte are other examples of a personally coined name.  Forest Ranger George Ledford sent two men, Vern and Dave, to stock fish in this unnamed lake.   Needing a name for his fish stocking report, Ledford created Veda from the first letters of their names. Sometimes when early land managers needed a place they would just use a word without any reason or significance. That is how Hambone Butte and Signal Hill were named by Forest Supervisor T. H. Sherrard.  
Many place names are surnames of people associated with the general area.  Such is the case of Bonney Butte.  Augustus Bonney, a Tygh Valley rancher, grazed his sheep for many years in the vicinity of Bonney Meadows and Bonney Butte. At one time there were fire lookouts on these local buttes: Bonney, Frog Lake, Oak Grove, Olallie and many more.  Clear Lake Butte and Sisi Butte still have operational fire lookouts in place. It is nice that Olallie and Sisi are place names reportedly used by the indigenous people that used these places.  Olallie means berries and the Olallie area still yields good huckleberries.  Sisi means blanket or cloth but the rationale for using this word for the name of Sisi Butte has been lost over time.  
Lloyd Musser is the volunteer curator at the Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum. The Museum is located at 88900 E. US 26, Government Camp, Oregon. Open daily 9-5, visit  www.mthoodmuseum.org or call 503-272-3301.



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