Town named mountain for Inez Milholland in 1916, but it was never formalized
By ZACH LAWRENCE
Just in time for the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment in the summer of 2020, Mount Discovery in Lewis has been officially renamed Mount Inez to commemorate the activism efforts of suffragist Inez Milholland.
Milholland, whose family owned property on the mountain, was a lawyer and a women’s rights activist during the suffrage movement in the early 20th century. When she passed away in 1916 at the age of 30, Mount Discovery was renamed Mount Inez by the Town of Lewis to honor her achievements, but the name change was not made official on the federal level.
Part-time Lewis resident Nancy Duff Campbell, a founder and co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, became interested in federally renaming the mountain when she discovered the similarities between herself and Milholland. “I’ve been an admirer of Inez Milholland in part because she was a lawyer and was involved in women’s rights activities as I have been my entire life.” Campbell also has a home in the Adirondacks that she has been visiting with her family for more than 30 years.
Campbell spent the summer of 2019 researching the subject, getting local support for the name change, and ultimately submitting the proposal to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. “She did all the legwork,” Town of Lewis Supervisor James Monty said.
To make the name change official, she had to show that Inez is worthy of commemoration, show a link between her and the mountain, and get ample support from the community. Milholland’s feats as an activist proved her worthy of commemoration, and the mountain being on her family’s property gave a definitive link. After collecting that information, Campbell had to gather local support.
“I started with the Town Council as the sort of lowest level of government representing the citizens of Lewis, and I worked my way up all the way to New York’s two U.S. senators,” Campbell said. She also got support of the mountain’s current owner, Bunting Family Foresty; the Meadowmount School of Music, which is based in the former home of the Milhollands; the Essex County Historical Society; U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik and others. Her application said the New York State Names Authority’s committee had no objections.
Campbell mentioned that the support of the community was one of the most important things about this project. “We thought it would be the right thing to do to right this wrong,” said Supervisor Monty.
Campbell hopes that Mount Inez will be a part of the celebrations of women’s suffrage next summer in the Adirondacks.
The Board on Geographic Names approved the name change on Dec. 12.