California group seeks to change Confederate place name


This photo dated August 4, 2009 shows tourists at the “Smiling Man” rock in the Alabama Hills near the town of Lone Pine in central California. The town on the edge of the Sierra Nevada mountains is famous as a desert like location for the hundreds of films and television series that have been filmed here since 1919 and as the gateway to Mount Whitney, which is the highest summit in the contiguous United States with an elevation of 14,505 feet (4,421 m). (MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

LONE PINE, Calif. (AP) — The rethinking of place names in light of U.S. racial history has turned to California’s Alabama Hills, a high-desert formation named for a Confederate warship.

The Alabama Hills National Recreation Area lies east of the Sierra Nevada near the Owens Valley town of Lone Pine.

The hills were named by Southern sympathizers for the Confederate warship Alabama after it sank the Union gunboat USS Hatteras in 1863.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the nonprofit environmental group Friends of the Inyo wants to change that, but acknowledges it may take an act of Congress.

Other features of the Sierra are named Kearsarge after a Union warship that sank the Alabama in 1864.

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