The name of a waterway that runs through Rough and Ready will remain Negro Creek for now. The creeks name became national news when it was noticed on some county maps to be in the pejorative ‘N’ word. Those maps were then changed to list the waterway as Negro Creek. But when the Smith family recently bought creek side property, they suggested the name should be changed to Butterfly Creek, and then later they suggested Black Miners Creek. Zeek Smith spoke during public comment at the supervisors meeting and thanked the supervisors for doing their research.
“We’re not trying to change history. The second name that my wife and I came up with “Black Miner’s Creek” never got so much play. It seems like all the play became “Butterfly Creek.”
The creek runs through Supervisor Hank Weston’s district and he says he heard from several constituents to keep the name “Negro Creek” to respect and preserve the history of black miners during the Gold Rush in Nevada County.
“I don’t think it’s my prerogative or our prerogative as a board to change history. Everything I’ve received from up and down the state from various folks, the Historical Society and everything seem to support that. I have not received one negative comment, one comment requesting the name change. In fact, I’ve received over 30 comments about keeping it the same.”
Other supervisors expressed the same response from their constituents. The Nevada County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to send a letter to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names opposing a name change of “Negro Creek” in Rough and Ready.