When President Barack Obama announced Sunday that he was changing/restoring the name of an Alaska mountain that honored an assassinated Oval Office predecessor, political “outrage” ensued.
In that respect, Mt. McKinley becoming Denali was no different than most any other issue with even an ancillary political tie.
Sure, President William McKinley had never visited Alaska, in no small part because it became America’s 49th state nearly six decades after he was slain by an anarchist named Leon Czolgosz.
Still, the diss irked folks like Speaker of the House John Boehner, who was “disappointed” about what happened since McKinley was from his home state of Ohio.
All of this got us to thinking about whether the highest points in Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Delaware might be renamed as an homage to the commander in chief whose name once graced North America’s tallest peak.
Sorry, McKinley enthusiasts, but none of ’em seem inclined to do so.
Let’s start in Pennsylvania, where Elk Lick Twp.’s 3,213-foot Mt. Davis serves as the commonwealth’s tallest point.
It was named after John Nelson Davis, who was “an early settler, American Civil War veteran, surveyor, and naturalist known for his studies of the mountain’s flora and fauna.” And, it’s going to stay that way.
“We are not considering renaming anything after President McKinley,” responded Jeffrey Sheridan, press secretary for Gov. Tom Wolf.
How about Delaware, where a roadside plaque near the Pennsylvania border along Ebright Road commemorates the state’s highest point nearly 448 feet above sea level? That could be ripe for some presidentifying, yes? No.
Kelly Bachman, press secretary for Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, said there’s good reason for their aversion for sliding into McKinleygate.
“Delaware already has a monument honoring the former president, so we won’t be renaming our highest point after him,” she said of the William McKinley Coffee Break Monument that harkens back to the president’s Civil War service in Maryland. “People are certainly welcome to visit that monument in Brandywine Park to pay their respects.”
How about over in New Jersey, where Sussex County’s aptly named High Point boasts of the highest elevation in the state at 1,803 feet?
Well, we emailed Gov. Chris Christie’s spokesman Brian Murray but didn’t hear back. We’ll just assume the aspiring president wouldn’t want to wade into the controversy, what with its primary season electoral-map implications unless told otherwise.