View Full Version : Why is North Dome...."North Dome"?
01-04-2007, 07:41 AM
Is there a "South Dome"? Was there a South Dome? Blue Bell sounded too silly? Just plain "Dome Mt" sounded off???
Inquiring minds want to know...
01-04-2007, 03:51 PM
Good question. Short answer: I don't know. Like many such place name questions, the answer may already be lost.
On Arnold Guyot's 1879 map the name was Blue Bell Mountain. Bells and domes are similar shapes. The Catskills often appear blue in the haze. So both names could be descriptive of the mountain. It is often reported that Professor Guyot and his assistants would query the local residents and then place the most common name on their map. By the time of the 1903 Phoenicia USGS map (http://docs.unh.edu/NY/phoc03ne.jpg) the name is "North Dome". I have never seen any further explanation. No origin for either name is cited in any of Arthur G Adams' several books on the Catskills, which have gazetteers of Catskill place names.
Dome, like peak, mount, mountain, hill, point, and head, is a common term for a summit. A Dome Mountain would be as redundant as a Mount Peak. Although of course, we have many redundant kill creeks. There are the plutonic domes of Yosemite (ancient lava domes that did not rise enough to erupt). And there are the round summit domes in the White Mountains and southern Appalachians.
The most likely explanation is that someone living south of the mountain called it North Dome. I believe the only other Dome in the Catskills is Black Dome, which is named for the spruce and balsam summit which from a distance appears black. The same summit appearance accounts for Blackhead, and Black Tom (an old name for Thomas Cole Mountain). Black Tom was later called Mount Kimball by Guyot.
There are still 5 South Mountains in the Catskills on the USGS maps, and at least one additional near Grahamsville, and probably others known locally. It is reported that Guyot also renamed several other South Mountains to reduce the confusion. By contrast there is only one North Mountain and one North Dome.
Many summits on both sides of the Spruceton Valley have undergone name changes.
Sherrill was once called Lion's Head, before being renamed for Colonel Eliakim Sherrill (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eliakim_Sherrill).
East Rusk, 3640' false summit, was the original Rusk Mountain named for Samuel E Rusk, a local cartographer and assistant of Guyot.
The current Rusk was called Evergreen by Guyot.
The current Evergreen was called Bee Line by Guyot.
Packsaddle was called Lexington by Guyot.
One of the most informative "I don't know" posts I've read. Thanks, Mark!
01-04-2007, 06:02 PM
Mark, you contain a wealth of information. I salute you, esteemed fellow. I wondered the same thing hiking it yesterday...doesn't appear very dome-shaped from the lowlands, though the topographic map illustrates the round summit nicely.
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