Source of Local Landmark Names

as compiled by Jim Calvi (2002)

Updated: 08-04-12

Abe Lincoln Mtn.
Named by the early miners at Sylvanite, in or around 1897.
Arbo Mountain & Creek
Named for George Arbo, a miner who came into the Yaak in 1896.
Beaver Creek
Named by an early Yaak Valley trapper. His name is unknown but he had built a cabin on its banks. He left the valley in 1901 when it "became too crowded" when the Roderick family moved into the South Fork of the Yaak.
Benefield Creek 
Named for Elmer Benefield, early trapper and homesteader in 1920.
Boyd Creek
Named after A. Boyd, an early trapper/prospector.  His cabin was located at the mouth of the creek, which is in Canada.
Boyd Hill Cemetery
Named in 1954 for A. Boyd who died in 1917, the first grave in the cemetery.
Browning Creek
Named for Bert Browning, an early homesteader, in 1914.
Buckhorn Lodge
The Buckhorn Lodge was the name given to a false front building located above the Yaak Falls, at the mouth of Wampoo Creek on the Harry Higgins homestead. In the 1890s, it was a stage stop between Leonia and Sylvanite. In 1895 a tent mining camp known as Paisley was established on the site, later the lodge was built and called the Paisley House. This structure was the oldest known building in the Yaak Valley until it burned in the spring of 1996.
Buckhorn Mountain
Named for the Buckhorn Mine, which was opened on the Mountain in 1900.
Buckhorn Mountain
Burnt Creek
Also known as "Burned Creek", was named by early prospectors in c.1895.
Caribou Creek
Named for the Caribou that used to be seen there.
Clark Mountain
Named after Alfred E. Clarke, an early homesteader in the Yaak Valley. He came from England and worked on the construction of the Canadian Pacific R.R. through British Columbia before coming into the Yaak Valley. Clark Mountain
Community Hall
A log building built by the Yaak valley residents in 1925. Used as a local social hall. Located around 34 mile marker.
Yaak Community Center
Cool Creek
Prospectors returning from the Hungry Horse mining area in British Columbia camped along the Yaak River. While camping, they discovered a deposit of coal. The finder, who was from Pennsylvania, said that it was a very good grade. They named the creek, Coal creek. Later the name shows up on the district map as Cool creek. No doubt a typing error when a new map was being printed.
Crum Creek
Named for Hiram G. Crum, an early homesteader on 17 mile creek.
Crawford Creek
Named after James Crawford, an early miner in the Yahk mining district. Located across from Sylvanite R.S.
Cyclone Creek
Named by early miners in about 1893. Even today, strong, cyclone type winds blow periodically in the drainage, leveling small areas of timber.
Deadman’s Curve
A local name given to the 23 mile corner on the Yaak River Road after people were killed in automobile accidents on this once sharp curve in the road. In 1992, a new road was located and bypassed the old corner. Also known as Duplus Curve.
Devil’s Washboard
A local name for the rock formation next to the Yaak River Road just south of the 19 mile marker on the west side of the road. This name was also used around the turn of the century for what is now called the Stonechest Grade.
Dirty Shame Saloon
First established in a metal hut just outside the main gate of the Yaak Air Force Base in 1951. A log building was later built along the Yaak River Road which burned down. The current building was built from a rumored "five small structures jammed together" following the fire.
The Dirty Shame Saloon
Dooley Mtn.
Named after Lafayette Dooley, an early prospector and homesteader.
Dutch Creek
Named after the Herbst brothers, who homesteaded in the Lake Rene area in 1916.
Evergreen Place Claim
A 60 acre patented placer claim on the Yaak river. Discovered in 1896 and later became the land on which the town of Sylvanite was located.
Fast Creek
Possibly named for Frank L. Fast who homesteaded, just over Dodge Summit, in the West Kootenai area in 1900.
Federal Building
The name given to the small log cabin located on the county road at the East Fork bridge. Built in 19__, by Gus Schultz. Originally had a wood stove in it and served as a meeting place for the folks while waiting for the mail to be delivered. Story has it that it also served as an upriver polling place during election years.
Federal Building
Feeder Creek
The name for the creek which drains or "feeds" into Kilbrennan Lake but was known as Lake Creek in 1917.
Fix Creek
Named after Edison Fix, a homesteader in the South Fork in 1914.
Fourth of July Creek
Named for Independence Day by early miners in the Yaak in 1897.
Friday Hill
Named after the day in which Gold was first discovered in 1895 in the beginning of the town of Sylvanite.
Lake Florence
Named by Sam Billings, Ranger at Sylvanite, for his fiancée, later his wife.
Fowler Creek
Named after George Fowler, a settler on the South Fork in 1912.
Goldflint Mine
A patented gold claim located above Sylvanite. Discovered in 1896.
Great Northern Mine
A patented gold claim located above Sylvanite. Discovered in 1897.
Grizzly Point and Creek
Named after the many bears that used to be seen there.
Grizzly Point
Grubstake Mountain
Named by Joe Pierce. Intermittent fires provided a grubstake for the local folks.
Grush Gulch
Named after Gene Grush, a homesteader in the 17 mile creek area. Gene came into the Yaak in 1910 to fight the fire which destroyed the town of Sylvanite. As Gene often said, "liked it and stayed".
Gus Creek
Named after Gus White, a homesteader in 1912.
Hartman Creek
Named after Charlie Hartman, a homesteader in the South Fork in 1913.
Hensley Hill
Named after Judge Jim Hensley, a homesteader in 1913. Hensley Hill once supported a temporary Forest Service lookout, later taken over by the U.S. Air Force as a part of the Yaak Air Force Base.
Hoskin Lake
Named after Jim Hubbard, an early trapper, who died in 1942 at the age of 95. Reported to have constructed over 20 line cabins in the Upper Yaak over the years that he trapped.
Hubbard Creek
Named after Jim Hubbard, an early trapper.
Hudson Creek
Named after Charlie Hudson, an early trapper / homesteader in 1917.
Independence Mtn. & Creek
Named by the early miners at Sylvanite in or around 1897.
Johnson Rock
A local name given to the large rock outcrop located just west of the Pete Creek Campgrounds, on the north side of the Yaak River. A man named Johnson was found dead along the old Yaak River Trail in 1918 at this outcrop by Forest Service packer. His body was taken across the river and buried.
Kelsey Creek
Named for Sarah Kelsey in 1911, an early homesteader.
Kettle Springs
Hallie Helmer named the springs, just off the Mount Henry trail on the south side of the mountain. Named after an old kettle that was found hanging in a tree above the springs.
Keystone Mountain
The discovery of gold in 1895 was made and it was assumed that this discovery would be a keystone in the local mining industry.
Kilbrennan Lake
"Was so named, so old timers say, after the lake of the same name in Scotland. It was from the shore of Lake Kilbrennan that Mrs. Barrie Walker, formerly of the National Hotel in Kalispell, came to the west before the railroad came, and it was in honor of her home in Scotland, that her western friends named that lake." (The Troy Ranger, June 21, 1934)
Koo Koo Creek
Named by Northern Pacific surveyors lost while working.
Kootenai River
Named for the Kootenai Indian Tribe who lived along its shores. Between c.1862 and c.1890 spelled Kootenay and generally spelled Kootenai after 1891. Also known as Flatbow River and McGillveray’s River.
Kootenai River
Lang Creek
Named by Fritz Lang, an early miner at Sylvanite.  Named for his son, George, who was an early valley homesteader.
Lap Creek
Named by Les Vinal for two old trappers by the names of Law and Plomert. The first two letters in Law (La), and the first letter from Plomert (P) were taken to name the creek.
Lick Mountain
Named by a survey party for the many deer licks in the area.
Lime Creek
Named after a lime formation found in this creek.
Lower Ford
Named by homesteaders to distinguish between two fords across the Yaak River (Upper and Lower Fords). This crossing is located across the Yaak River just east of the Yaak Community Hall near the mouth of Vinal Creek. The original road connecting the two fords was once located on the eastern bank of the Yaak River.
Lucky Pt. & Gulch
Named by J.K. (Pink) Dwinille in 1929. He was lucky in keeping a bad fire under control there.
Marmot Mountain
Massive areas of talus rock outcrops on the sides and top of the mountain inhabited by many Hoary Marmots.
Max Creek
Named for Jim McGary, a homesteader in 1930.
Morning Glory Mine
A name given for a tunnel claim located at Sylvanite. Clyde Thorton combined the Keystone, Goldflint, and 16 other claims and consolidated them into the Morning Glory Mining and Milling Co., Inc.
Mouche Lake
An early name for Vinal lake, rumored to mean deer in Kootenai Indian language.
Mount Henry
Named after Henry Robinson, an early East Fork trapper.
Mount Henry
Murphy Mountain & Creek
Named after a man named Murphy who died in a hunting accident in the early 1900’s.
Newton Mountain
Named for E.W. Newton, a homesteader at the base of the mountain. Named in 1897 when a proposed road from Bonners Ferry to Sylvanite was to go through his property. The road was never built but the Bonners Ferry-Moyie-Sylvanite Trail had been built over the mountain in 1893.
Northwest Peak
Prominent and highest peak in Northwestern Montana.
Northwest Peak
Obermayer Mountain
Named after Anton Obermayer who was killed in fighting the fire of 1931. Formally called Mt. Shagnasty.
Olson Lookout
A name used for a temporary lookout established on the top of Hensley Hill. A man from the Olson Administration Site would walk up to the top of Hensley Hill following a lightning storm and look around for fires.
Otis Creek
A tributary of the Yaak River, named for Walter Otis, a Kootenai National Forest clerk in 1912. Before that time, the creek was often referred to as Rabbit Creek.
Patch Mountain
A local name given to a small Canadian mountain that can be seen by looking up the North Fork of the Yaak. The square and rectangular patches are sections of the mountain scrapped down to rock by glaciers. The Canadian name for the mountain is "Gilnochie".
Peet Creek
An early (1912) spelling for what is known as Pete Creek today. The current spelling appeared on the 1917 and later maps.
Pine Creek
Named by early prospectors in 1890 who were camped at Snipetown.
Pink Mountain
Probably named for J. K. "Pink" Dwinille, an early Forest Service Ranger in 1914.
Pink Mountain
Poverty Flat
An early 1913 name for the area now known as Yaak, Montana, or where the Yaak Mercantile and Dirty Shame are now located.
Prospect Creek
Located in Arbo Creek Drainage was known as Deep Creek in 1917.
Rat Creek
Named by a General Land Office Survey party in 1932.
Rausch Point
Named for Charlie Rausch, a 1918 homesteader.
Red Top Mountain
Red top grass grows on the summit. In the spring the mountaintop looks red from a distance.
Robinson Mtn. & Creek
Named after Henry Robinson, early trapper in 1909.
Mount Robinson
Rock Candy Mountain
Named by Sam Billings in 1929, because the formation at the top reminded him of a chunk of rock candy.
Rock Candy Mountain
Roderick Mountain & Butte
Named for Mattie Roderick, one of the first settlers to homestead in the Upper Yaak River Valley, in 1901. Mattie’s husband, Al Roderick constructed one of the first buildings, a saloon, in Libby when the town moved from Old Town Libby.
Roderick Mountain
Saddle Mountain & Creek
The top of the mountain is in the shape of a saddle.
Screw Creek
Named in 1914. Significance unknown.
Seventeen Mile Creek
At the time thought to be 17 miles from the Yaak River to downtown Libby through this drainage. Named around 1894.
Sheepherder Mountain
In the 1930’s the area was used as a sheep range. Sheepherder Mountain
Slim Creek
Named for Romeo Garrison, a homesteader in 1914.
Smoot Creek
Named for Walt Smoot, a homesteader on the Yaak in 1911.
Snipetown
A name given to a placer mining area that was last used by Chinese miners. It is located at the bottom of the Stonechest grade on the Yaak river.
Solo Joe Creek
Named for a hermit, "Solo Joe" Perrault, who lived at the mouth of the creek for 25 years. He was a placer miner who died in 1929. Solo Joe was one of Troy’s first barbers, working the trade there in 1894 and 1895.
Speed Island
An island of approximately 15 acres located in the Yaak River about 1/2 mile below the East Fork junction. Named for Ray Speed in 1915, an early homesteader.
Stonechest Grade
Named for James Stonechest, a stage driver / miner in the old Sylvanite days.
Sylvanite
Name of the mining town that developed in 1896/97. Originally, the miners believed that they had discovered sylvanite.  When it turned out not to be sylvanite, it was too late – the name stuck.  The town grew into 600 to 1000 inhabitants before totally destroyed in the 1910 wildfire. Today, it represents the down valley residents.
Sylvanite Cemetery
The oldest cemetery in the Yaak Valley and located at the Sylvanite Rangers Station. Began in 1895 when a miner named Livermore drowned in the Yahk River while fishing. Suspect that the cemetery also the final resting place of at least two men and a woman of the evening who died with their boots on in a shoot out in a Sylvanite saloon in 1896 or 1897. Last burial (1910) was a Libby man named Anderson who drowned in the Yaak River just before the fire of 1910.
Tepee Mountain
In the early days, Indians erected tepees at what is know as Tepee Springs.
Twin Meadows
A early name given to the large meadows extending from Spread Creek northward to the Whitetail Campgrounds.
Two Jack Crossing
A bridge located on the Yaak River just north with its junction with Vinal Creek. Jack Cross lived on the west side of the river and Jack West and his son lived on the east side. The crossing was named for Jack West and his son Jack West Junior.
Upper Ford
Named by early trappers to distinguish between two fords in the Yaak river.
Vinal Lake & Creek
Named for Leslie E. Vinal, an 1895 Yaak miner, 1896 Pine Creek homesteader and Forest Service employee. Began Forest Service career in 1910 on the Kootenai National Forest, later becoming the Kootenai National Forest Supervisor (1920 to 1922).
Watson Creek
Local name for stream flowing off Friday hill into 4th of July creek. Not on USFS map.
Waper Ridge & Creek
Named for Leo Waper, homesteader in 1920.
Wilson’s Hill
Now known as Yaak Hill on Highway 2 north of the Yaak River Campgrounds. Named for Wilson’s logging camp which was located near the top of the hill in the 1920s. Wilson was a contract logger for the Bonners Ferry Lumber Company.
Windy Creek
The name of a creek in the East Fork of the Yaak, draining from Lake Okaga, originally known as Keeler Creek. Windy Creek first shows up on the 1924 Kootenai National Forest map.
Winkum Creek
In 1910 the Forest Service had a timber crew in the West Fork of the Yaak River. One of the crew went out for fresh meat but came back to camp empty handed. He said he had shot a caribou but could not find it. The rest of the crew ribbed him about his story but he maintained he had been so near the caribou that he could see it wink. Hence the creek was named. The next day they found the caribou under the roots of a down tree.
Yaak
Also spelled Yahk, Yak, Yakt, Yahkt and Yack. Original spelling included Yakt and Yahk. However, by the 1920s, Yaak became the accepted spelling for the word. The first white men to walk through the valley were prospectors in 1865 on their way to the Wild Horse Creek Gold Rush in Canada. The first mention of "Yak River Valley" appeared in a Deer Lodge Newspaper in 1868.
Yaak Air Force Base
A radar station was located on the top of Hensley Hill from the 1951 to 1959, as a part of the "Pine Tree Line", (a part of DEW). A living compound was also located on the flat behind today’s Dirty Shame Saloon.
Yaak River
Kootenai Indian word meaning arrow. Originally spelled Yahk.
Yaak River
Yahk Mining District
An unorganized mining district out of Sylvanite.  Formed in 1895, today known as the Sylvanite mining district.
Zimmerman Hill
Named for Carl Zimmerman in 1914, a homesteader. Also known as "Zimm Hill".
Home | About Us | Mission Statement | Board Members | Staff | Hikes | About The Yaak | Maps | By the Numbers | Programs | Headwaters | Forest Watch | Projects Monitored | Ground Truthing | Conservation Education | Restoration Workforce | News | Action Alerts | Forest Jobs & Recreation Act | Newsletter | Video/Audio | In the Media | Volunteer | Photo Gallery | Make a Donation | Merchandise | Become a Supporter |
Wilderness Festival: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 | Local Names | Community Links | Contact Us | Site Map