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10 Lake Calhoun name changes that don't honor a pro-slavery racist

Lake Calhoun is named after John C. Calhoun, once a U.S. senator, vice president of the United States, secretary of war under President James Monroe, and the force behind the construction of Fort Snelling. That's why the lake bears his name.

Calhoun was also a racist, a man who believed that slavery was "a positive good," and now there's a movement to persuade the Park Board to find a better name for the lake.

We have a few ideas. Check them out below, then vote for your favorite or make write-in nominations in the comments.

If Jessica Biel can bust heads in Blade, she's worthy of a lake named in her honor.
If Jessica Biel can bust heads in Blade, she's worthy of a lake named in her honor.

Lake Biel

Lake Calhoun's name is a reminder of an ugly period in history, with a grizzled poster boy to boot. Why not name the prettiest lake in town after a woman so dazzlingly beautiful she can't land a decent role in Hollywood, the poor dear? Ely native Jessica Biel may not have an Oscar, but her trophy case is stacked full of "hottest" list issues of Maxim and Stuff. Perhaps by proxy, Lake Biel would be declared "Sexiest Lake Alive." You could bounce a quarter off that boat dock.

Lake Zonday

The celebrities of tomorrow will not be thespians or thinkers, but rather Davids at the dentists and LOLcatz. These memesters will surely have monuments named after them, so we should be ahead of the curve with Tay Zonday. He recorded his Chocolate Rain YouTube video while in grad school at the U. The ice cream promotional tie-ins are endless. Also, we're worried about him. We just want to make sure he has something to do.

Har Mar Superstar: Another Minnesotan outstanding in his field (and his underwear).
Har Mar Superstar: Another Minnesotan outstanding in his field (and his underwear).

Lake Superstar

You can name monuments and government buildings after dead politicians, but not lakes. Lakes should be named after giants in the field of recreation--ideally, people famous for cavorting in their underwear. Our own Har Mar Superstar is just such a man. Also, there would just be something wonderful about being able to say you're going for a dip in Lake Superstar.

Lake Prince

Let's rename the lake for the man who truly put Minnesota on the map: our beloved Prince. Before the Artist got to be a megastar, the rest of the world viewed us as a land of snow and ice--if they thought about us at all. Prince transformed us from flyover country into a musical mecca. Plus, the name change comes with a built-in perk: Every year on the pop star's birthday, we could dye the lake purple and party on its beaches. Prince sightings would be virtually guaranteed.

Lake Mays

Sure, Willie Mays played for only one season in Minneapolis--a mere 35 games for the '51 Millers, where he put up such an unreal line (.477 batting average, .799 slugging percentage, a 1.323 OPS) that the New York Giants had no choice but to call him up. Let's recognize the fact that Minneapolis was the last stop for one of the greatest players in baseball history. 

Lake Flair

Ric "The Nature Boy" Flair might have spent most of his pro wrestling career being billed as a resident of North Carolina, but he spent most of his youth in the Twin Cities--in fact, he first learned about the wrestling business from the Vachon brothers while working as a lifeguard in Minneapolis.

Harmon Killebrew was a hometown hero in every sense of the word.
Harmon Killebrew was a hometown hero in every sense of the word.

Lake Killebrew

If it's time to pick a hero who can overshadow the vile legacy of John C. Calhoun, no man is a better choice than Harmon Killebrew. A Minnesota Twin from 1961 to 1974, the Hall of Famer was second only to Babe Ruth in AL home runs. But more importantly, he was a nice guy known for offering a kind word to everyone around him--even umpires who called against him. Truly a Minnesota legend big enough to wipe Calhoun's memory off the face of the city.

Best Resume Ever.
Best Resume Ever.

Lake Ventura

Jesse Ventura might have the best Wikipedia page of any living Minnesotan. This is a guy who went from body-slamming grown men while wearing a boa to killing aliens with the Governator to being the governor of Minnesota. Now he's debunking 9/11, surfing in Baja , and communicating via mind control on cable. It only seems appropriate that "Lake namesake" be the next bullet point on that resume.

Times changed. He left. But he's still ours.
Times changed. He left. But he's still ours.

Lake Dylan

If we're truly going to overshadow the legacy of a racist vice president, we need to go big with this name-change thing. So why not go with Bob Dylan, one of the biggest-name folk singers in history? Who cares if he technically didn't get famous until after he left for New York City. That's sure as hell never stopped us from claiming him before. And besides, Dylan's got some firsthand experience with the whole name change routine.

Lake Scott

Let's get serious. John C. Calhoun called slavery a "positive good," but if there's one famous contemporary of his who knew better, it was Dred Scott. Scott lived as the slave of an Army doctor at Fort Snelling before suing for his freedom. The Supreme Court infamously said Scott couldn't sue, because as a black man he wasn't even an American citizen. A brave man at an ugly time in our nation's history, Scott's a natural namesake for the lake.

Who would you vote for? Tell us in the poll, or leave a suggestion in the comments.



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