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Clackamas River's Kipling Rock could get official spot on map

A spot in Clackamas County where Rudyard Kipling fished in 1889 could be officially named for the author next week.

Members of the Oregon Geographic Names Board will decide Nov. 3 on a proposal to name a site near Carver Kipling Rock in honor of the author’s fishing trip there 123 years ago.

The board meets at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Stone Cliff Inn, 17900 South Clackamas River Drive in Carver. The meeting site was chosen because it is near the Clackamas River and the rock where Kipling fished.

Also on the agenda is a proposal to name two small tributaries of Tryon Creek near Lake Oswego Deer Creek and Owl Creek. Local residents have used both names for years, and the board will consider making them a permanent part of the state’s map.

The Oregon Geographic Names Board works with the Oregon Historical Society to recommend names and name changes for official maps. The group meets twice a year and forwards its recommendations to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names for final decisions and additions to the nation’s maps.

Fishing for steelhead

Kipling (1865-1936), a British short story writer and poet, was best known for his books “The Jungle Book,” “Just So Stories,” “Gunga Din” and “The Man Who Would Be King.” He was born in Bombay and spent most of his life in the United Kingdom.

In 1889, he traveled to the United States, starting in San Francisco and heading north to Portland, Seattle and British Columbia. His months of travels also took him Yellowstone National Park, Salt Lake City, Omaha, Chicago, Boston and finally New York, where he met with author Samuel Clemens and then departed for Liverpool.

During his trip to the Northwest, Kipling was taken to a fishing spot on the Clackamas River, where he spent most of a day fishing with two companions for steelhead, catching and releasing 16 fish. The spot includes an 18-foot-high rock about 60 feet long on the edge of the river on the south shore upstream from the mouth of Clear Creek.

Local residents have called the area Kipling Rock for decades because of the author’s visit.

Kipling wrote about his day on the river on June 23, 1889, from Tacoma, to Mrs. Edmonia Hill. The letter and its description of Kipling’s enjoyable day were included in a volume of “The Letters of Rudyard Kipling.”

In August 2011, Debra Wynn of Washington, D.C., a senior cataloger for the rare materials section of the Library of Congress, and a native of Baker, Ore., contacted the Oregon Geographic Names Board about adding the local name for the area, Kipling Rock, to the state’s official maps.

The effort was supported by David Page, editor of the Kipling Journal in England (part of the Kipling Society), and by Clackamas County commissioners.

Comments about the proposed names should be sent by postal mail or email to the Oregon Geographic Names Board, c/o Oregon Historical Society, 1200 S.W. Park Ave., Portland 97205.