Lake (FKA) Calhoun

A lake of historical and recreational significance and the biggest in Minneapolis. Lake, formerly known as, Calhoun, has been a favorite playground to locals for over a decade.

The Dakota originally called the lakeMde Maka Ska (modern spelling Bdé Makhá Ská; English approximation: Be-DAY Mah-KAH-Ska) meaning Lake White Earth, or Lake White Bank, a name that probably was given by the Ioway who inhabited the area until the 16th century.

The United States Secretary of War, John C. Calhoun, sent the Army to survey the area that would surround Fort Snelling in 1817. Calhoun had also authorized the construction of Fort Snelling, one of the earliest American settlements in the state. The surveyors named the water body "Lake Calhoun" in his honor, and the Fort Snelling Military Reservation survey map of Lt. James L. Thompson in 1839 shows that name for the lake.

In 2017, the Minneapolis Park Board voted unanimously to recommend changing the lake's name back to Bde Maka Ska and the Hennepin County commissioners agreed. In January 2018, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) made Bde Maka Ska the official name in Minnesota. To change it at the federal level, the state submitted materials to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names,which approved the change in June 2018.

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