Name Of Creek Sparks Controversy In Nevada County

NEVADA COUNTY (CBS13) — There is no sign next to the creek. So when the Smiths wanted to find the name of the stream behind their house, they looked on a map, and they were shocked with what they found.

“We really like it,” Dave Smith says of the creek in the Rough and Ready community of Nevada County. “It’s really beautiful, one of those little nooks and crannies.”

Dave Smith thought he had found his paradise when he bought this land a year and a half ago.

That is until he found out his creek is called “Negro Creek.”

“It doesn’t feel very good at all,” Smith tells CBS13.

Smith wants the name changed, but historians in Nevada County say the name comes from a time when African-Americans mined the area and that changing it would be rewriting history.

But Negro Creek may not be the original name either. On some older maps, the creek is named using a more offensive word, the “N-word” Creek.

So Smith had an idea.

“Why can’t they name it Black Miners Creek?” he asks. “The history would be kept, and everybody would be happy.”

But that wouldn’t make everyone happy. Lee Dixon of Grass Valley showed up to at the Nevada County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday to fight the change.

“Leave it as it is,” he says. “Why change it? It’s history.”

Denton Denny has lived near the creek for more than 25 years. He says he once saw the original miners map with the racist name and says it’s fine with him if the creek’s name is changed.

“It would be fair as far as I’m concerned,” he says. “If there’s an objection to the name, and I know why it is, I wouldn’t be objected to it.”

The board sent a letter to the NAACP asking for its recommendation. Supervisors are waiting for a response and hope to make a recommendation to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names by the  board’s next meeting Dec. 6.

“So this is it, this is hopefully Black Miners Creek in the future,” Smith says as he walks along the creek.

The Smiths want the Board of Supervisors to know one more thing. They say just because something is historical doesn’t mean it’s right.

  • timatoe

    Oh, behjeebus. How about we all get upset over a creek that no one even knew the name of, until these people who aren’t even from the area looked it up. REALLY? They didn’t know the name but now they do and now they’re upset. So what happens in 60 years from now when all of the sudden “Black” isn’t the politically correct term? Sillyness prevails once more.

  • Mary Coward

    Don’t change history If this keeps going on. there won’t be any history left. Only someone’s idea of today being politically correct. Thanks for loosing the coolness about the creek. It is a story we alll told to our children.

  • One

    Wait a Second???? What about Negro Bar In Folsom CA,?? And there is a Sign, and a freaking park and boat launch for crying out loud!! Negro is Ok and Better than the N-Word.

  • Me

    I see nothing wrong with ‘Negro Creek’. It’s MUCH better than the alternative ‘N-word Creek’. BUT, just how did it come to be named such just because African Americans mined the area? There’s some ‘history’ missing here that might be important as to what it was named and/or what it should be named.

  • Tapestry

    Negro is black in Spanish so they are saying you can’t have anything in the Spanish language? that happens to be part of Caliifornia’s hertitage, get a grip you out of state PC types.

  • PKal

    I’m not an American so excuse ignorance. but is negro considered a bad word there?
    How amusing!
    That is denying reality.
    Did anyone ever their children the little rhyme :
    ‘Sticks and Stones can hurt my bones.
    But names will never hurt me”

    • gna

      They were able to pass a law that made a word a HATE CRIME

  • pumpkinpie

    I don’t believe what he says for one dern minute, he is probably a racist, if I were a NEGRO I would be honored to have a lovely creek named NEGRO CREEK, what a Jerk, I don’t like the name Smith, why don’t you change your name to Black, on second thought I apologize to all other Smiths and Blacks I was just kidding about that. We have a Chinese Camp why don’t we change that to Asian Settlement to h–l with truthful history. Stocktons real name was changed, they should have kept the original name.

  • Gene Rossi

    could have spelled negger with an A and made it look like Schwarzenagger . ( ;

  • mike

    Unbelieveable that a grown educated(?)Mr. Smith could be upset about the name of a creek. There are really terrible things happening all over the world every day and he is so deeply(?)concerned about this creek name, he must be hungry for any kind of attention, by the way Mr.S Negro is a proud word, get a grip man. Lets change Stockton back to its original name, I agree “WELCOME TO TULLYVILLE, lol, lol

  • MATTY13

    There is a creek where I live, also named Negro Creek, and it flows into the Black River

    • jim

      Jesus don’t tell nobody! these idiots that are offended by everything are everywhere.

  • pumpkinpie

    Yesterday I asked 5 negro gals what they thought of this home owner saying this was an insult to them, boy did they ever have something to say about him, all negative lol I won’t repeat what they said lol . My neighbors nurse(black)said leave history alone it does not help to change it, learn from it look how far we have all come that is what counts, whites have been called some really mean names during the depression when they came to Calif. white trash being one of the nicer names they were called.

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