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Recently President Obama visited Alaska and renamed Mount McKinley back to it’s original name of Denali — The central Alaska mountain has officially been called Mount McKinley for almost a century. In announcing that Sally Jewell, the secretary of the interior, had used her power to rename it, Mr. Obama was paying tribute to the state’s Native population, which has referred to the site for generations as Denali, meaning “the high one” or “the great one.”

The story of the renaming of Mount McKinley back to Denali has rekindled a bit of discussion closer to home with regard to Mount Rainier — The current name was given by George Vancouver, who named it in honor of his friend, Rear Admiral Peter Rainier. The map of the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804-1806 refers to it as “Mt. Regniere”.

Although “Rainier” had been considered the official name of the mountain, Theodore Winthrop, in his posthumously published 1862 travel book The Canoe and the Saddle, referred to the mountain as “Tacoma” and for a time, both names were used interchangeably, although “Mt. Tacoma” was preferred in the city of Tacoma.

In 1890, the United States Board on Geographic Names declared that the mountain would be known as “Rainier”. Following this in 1897, the Pacific Forest Reserve became the Mount Rainier Forest Reserve, and the national park was established three years later. Despite this, there was still a movement to change the mountain’s name to “Tacoma” and Congress was still considering a resolution to change the name as late as 1924.

So? — What do you think?

Could Mount Ranier Again Be Called Tahoma?