Albany County Commissioners Approve to Rename Swastika Lake
Written by Jessi Entel on June 23, 2023
After a 2-to-1 vote, the Albany County Commissioners approved to change the name of Swastika Lake. In the Tuesday night meeting, the Albany County Commissioners also voted to name the lake “Knight Lake”.
Swastika Lake was named before the genocide and white nationalism of World War II and the prominent use of the swastika symbol during the Nazi Regime.
Commissioner Terri Jones was the only one to oppose the name change due to the teaching opportunities of the name and the historical significance. Jones also stated that changing the name erases history and promotes “communism”.
Chairperson Pete Gosar and Commissioner Sue Ibarra were in support of changing the name of Swastika Lake. Earlier this month, New England Patriots owner, Rober Kraft, wanted Swastika Lake in to be renamed too.
The proposal was originally submitted by Lindsy Sanders, who requested the lake be named “Fortune Lake”, honoring the original meaning of the swastika symbol. The word swastika comes from the Sanskrit word svastika, meaning “good fortune” or “well-being”, according to the United States Holocaust Museum. Prior to World War II, the symbol was used throughout Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions in Western Europe and Eastern Asia.
Secretary of the Albany County Historical Society, Kim Viner, proposed to change the name of the lake to “Knight Lake” after Dr. Samuel H. Knight, which was approved by the commission in Tuesday’s evening meeting.
Knight was known as “Mr. Geology of Wyoming”. He was an associate professor of geology at the University of Wyoming and was the museum curator. He was also credited for growing the geology program immensely, making it a nationally recognized program, according to wyohistory.org.
Knight also established the University of Wyoming Science Camp, a geology camp based in the Medicine Bow Mountains just west of Laramie, Wyoming. In 1966, the camp was named after him.
Now the nearby lake will bear his name too.
Knight Lake resides in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest near Libby Creek.
The name change is not official yet until the US Board of Geographic Names approves it. The commission plans to submit the proposal for their final approval.