WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a letter today to the Chairman of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) urged board members to approve a request to formally change the name of “Jew Pond.” Following a vote in March by town residents to rename the pond, the Mont Vernon Board of Selectmen submitted an official request to the Board on Geographic Names.
“In our view, pejorative place names which reflect prejudice based on religious beliefs are not consistent with New Hampshire values of community and mutual respect,” the Senators wrote. “This pond’s name is inappropriate and we support the decision of voters of the Town of Mont Vernon that the pond’s name should be changed.”
SHAHEEN/AYOTTE LETTER ON RENAMING OF MONT VERNON POND:
Dear Chairman Logan:
We write to encourage a prompt determination of the request for a name change submitted by the Town of Mont Vernon, New Hampshire and one of the Town’s residents, Richard Masters. A small pond in Mont Vernon currently is named “Jew Pond” on United States Geological Survey maps. Local research shows that the pond got the name for a short-lived attempt in the late 1920s by some Jewish attorneys from Boston to turn a local hotel, The Grand, into a resort for Jewish people, who were often blacklisted at other hotels. In our view pejorative place names which reflect prejudice based on religious beliefs are not consistent with New Hampshire values of community and mutual respect. This pond’s name is inappropriate and we support the decision of the voters of the Town of Mont Vernon that the pond’s name should be changed.
The Town of Mont Vernon’s Selectmen, in an April 17, 2012, letter to Mr. Lou Yost at the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, have requested that the pond be renamed to “Carleton Pond.” This decision is based on a vote by the town at their annual meeting to change the pond’s name and a subsequent solicitation of recommendations from residents. The Carleton family donated the pond and surrounding land to the town.
Richard Masters, the local resident who submitted the initial name change petition to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names has submitted a letter, in effect amending his petition, favoring the name “Spring Pond.”
We request that the U.S. Board on Geographic Names and the U.S. Geological Survey act promptly on this requested name change and give due consideration to the Town of Mont Vernon and Mr. Master’s recommendations for the new name for this pond.
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