Push to change Lake Calhoun name stalls

John Hageman

A proposal to change the name of Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis hit a snag when the Star Tribune reported Tuesday that the Park Board has no power to do so.

According to Brian Rice, an attorney for the Park Board, only the state’s commissioner of natural resources can change the name of a lake. But he’s also powerless because a state law that prohibits changing the name of a lake that has existed for 40 years, Rice said.

The lake is named for John C. Calhoun, an advocate of slavery during the Civil War. He helped found Fort Snelling, and one of his officers named the lake after Calhoun in what would become Minneapolis, according to the Associated Press.

John Winters, a Minneapolis resident, brought the proposal to the Minneapolis Park Board in May. He suggested changing the name of the 400-acre lake in southwest Minneapolis to honor Hubert H. Humphrey, the city’s former mayor and U.S. Senator.

His son, Skip, told the Daily last month that he didn’t expect the name to be changed in his father’s name.

Winters told the Strib that he plans to put the motion on the ballot in 2012, but Rice wasn’t sure if that was possible, either.