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

Categories: How We Live
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John C. Calhoun. Can we find a better name for his namesake lake?
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.

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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.

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Tay Zonday made us proud. And the ice cream promotional tie-ins are endless

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.

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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.

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Wouldn't it be cool to take a dip in The Purple One?
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.

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Willie Mays was a Miller before he went to New York.
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.


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