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Local mountain also had a native name

Recently, President Obama announced changing the name of Mount McKinley in Alaska back to its Athabascan name, Denali. Is there any such history behind Mount McLoughlin, or a native name that it used to be known by?

— Cathy, via email

Mount McLoughlin does have a long and detailed history behind its name, and it makes a lot more sense than naming Denali McKinley ever did. Even so, it hasn't stayed totally consistent throughout, either. 

The first map that named the peak Mount McLoughlin was from 1838. Dr. John McLoughlin was a hugely influential figure in the Hudson Bay Company from 1824 to 1846 as it spread across the Oregon Country. Because of his authority within the territory, he's even been called the first governor and even the "father" of Oregon. After he left the HBC, he lived as a miller and merchant in Oregon City until his death.

Fur trader and explorer Peter Skene Ogden intermittently called it Mount Pit after the Pit River, which was named for the pits that the tribes used to dig to trap game. Hall J. Meyer, another settler who was intent on naming the Cascade Mountain range the President's Range, wanted to name the peak after John Quincy Adams, but that also fizzled out. 

The Klamaths' name for the mountain was M'laiksini Yaina, which means "mountain with steep sides."

So far, there hasn't been much interest in changing the name, at least not officially. The U.S. Board on Geographic Names is in charge of managing the names of mountains, although the Secretary of the Interior can exercise autonomous decision-making if it doesn't act in a timely manner, which was the case with the Denali decision. Other peaks in the area have garnered some support for name changes: Mount St. Helens to its old name Louwala-Clough, and Mount Rainier to Tahoma or Tacoma. Both have been dismissed by the board for lack of support or proof that the names were widely used.

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