Yes, Barney Ford (his house is in Breckenridge), and yes, the original name is somewhat challenging in a modern context. (In this case since it was purely descriptive, “Afro Hill” might have been a better choice....)
Barney Ford was a remarkable guy who worked hard to support his family and help other people.It isn't PC-its giving the man the respect he deserves.Didn't they change the name of a mountain near Alpine Tunnel to honor Mac Poor?
I grew up in King County, ... basically the Seattle area. Never gave it
much thought, ... where the name came from, whatever. The County logo
was a crown. You saw it on the county vehicles, letterheads, etc. I moved
away in 1997 and never gave it another thought, until doing some research,
and upon digging in to some King County material, realized that the entire
theme for the county was now Martin Luther King. This seemed odd, as the
county predates the birth of MLK by generations, nevermind MLK's rise to
a place of social awareness. And being that crazy historian thinking kind of
guy, I decided to get the full story on what had happened.
Seems the county was originally named for an early settler of that name,
who came out west after the Civil War. And it seems that at some point in
his life, he had been a southerner and owned slaves. This is bad, and we
cannot have that sort of thing in our history, according to the PC crowd, and
thusly a more "socially just" emblem must be sought and this historical person,
to which the county got its name be relegated to a place of denial and shame.
You bet, Barney Ford appears to have been one helluva man, who did amazing
things in a world slanted against him. Was the original name of the hill based
on Barney ? If so, why ? And if so, what historical relevance is behind that
despised N-word name, when this guy was such a mover and shaker ? Does it
tell us anything about the times and perhaps the changing meaning of a word ?
What does it tell us about ourselves today, that we feel the need to change it ?
Personally, I am disgusted by the re-dedication of King County and the way/
reasons behind it. History may not always be pretty, but it is the truth and how
things happened. Bending it to fit a more idyllic modern narrative is a little too
Orwellian for my sense of right and wrong.
That said, I have no dog in this fight, but I do find it bothersome when history
gets re-written to suit current political trends. Always one to try and see both sides
of an argument, it seems Barney Ford was certainly worthy of having a hill and
much more named in his honor.
Yes, there were many "Nigger Hill's" in Colorado. There was the one that was renamed to Barney Ford Hill outside of Breckenridge and there was one in the Central City area as well, although who that Hill was named after is lost to history as far as I know.
I got into it because of this terminology with another C&S fan, he said that it was a racial slur at the time, but he could never explain to me why the citizens of Breckenredge or Central City would name a beautiful mountain that graced their community if it was intended to be a point of shame. Personally, I attribute it to the poor education of the time.
Even when I was growing up, the term "Race" was determined by skin color and there were four basic "races", White, Black, Yellow and Red. Old myths die hard....
But to extrapolate a bit more on Barney Ford, after he left Breckenridge, he moved north to Cheyenne where he built the Inter-Ocean Hotel on the corner of Capitol Avenue and 16th Street. It was destroyed by fire in 1916, 14 years after Barney Ford's death in 1902. If you do a wiki search on Barney Ford, he was one busy businessman. He was mainly in the Restaurant and Hotel Business.
There are much more common place names where there is some question as to why they were renamed and where that name came from, a few are documented, many like Como seem to be assumed, others like King are strongly suggested but the exact logistics are unclear.
Which name to use depends on the context, King for example seems the common term used for the area but I would at least qualify it if talking about a period before it was used. If people do not know and are looking at historical documents, maps, newspaper reports they are going to wonder why it was not mentioned.
Whoa, Jeff, so you purchased the prints??? What a great set of photographs to add to a C&S collection!
If so, please don't send me any of the prints, although that would be extremely generous. These eight guys need to stay together, they're a family.
Instead, please consider making high resolution scans of the prints and post them here. If these are prints from the original negatives, they are likely large format contract prints--there should be incredible details hiding among the silver grains.