Tompkins County
New York


Request to Officially Name the Stream "Sixmile Creek" as Six Mile Creek


Department:Tompkins County LegislatureSponsors:
Category:Roads and Bridges


  1. Printout
  2. Six Mile Creek recommendation form (This file has not yet been converted to a viewable format)

Resolution/Document Body

WHEREAS, Six Mile Creek in Tompkins County is listed by the United States Board on Geographic Names as “Sixmile Creek”, and


WHEREAS, common usage in Tompkins County is to refer to this stream as “Six Mile Creek”, and


WHEREAS, the use of the name “Six Mile Creek” goes back at least to 1829, according to the Tompkins County Historian, and


WHEREAS, Timothy Larkin, a Tompkins County resident, has initiated the formal process of officially changing the name to “Six Mile Creek”, and


WHEREAS, the United States Board on Geographic Names requests local municipalities to weigh-in on requests for name changes, now therefore be it


RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Government Operations Committee, That the Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature be authorized to sign and submit a Geographic Name Proposal Recommendation form to the United States Board on Geographic Names, confirming that the Tompkins County Legislature believes this stream should be officially known as “Six Mile Creek”.


Meeting History

Jan 16, 2018 4:30 PM  Government Operations Committee Special Meeting

Mr. Braga spoke about the resolution to correct the spelling of Six Mile Creek and said he would also like to encourage the Committee and community to follow the precedent of also recognizing the indigenous names for natural features. I asked that consideration be taken to also request the federal government to recognize the creek’s name in Cayuga. He said written sources have the creek’s name as Teegastoweas. He urged Legislators to contact the government of the Cayuga Nation to determine the other proper name for Six Mile Creek and to modify the proposed resolution to reflect these findings.

Mr. Klein said the original request about the spelling of Six Mile Creek came from a resident.

Mr. Lane said representatives of USGS contacted the County and agreed it is the spelling that is in question. The Bicentennial Commission has been discussing a similar topic and said it is asking the City to consider adding signage on Cayuga Street that includes Indigenous Cayuga language.

Following further discussion, the Committee agreed to postpone action on the resolution to allow time to look into having a dual name for Six Mile Creek.

RESULT:NO ACTION TAKENNext: 2/1/2018 9:30 AM
Feb 1, 2018 9:30 AM  Government Operations Committee Regular Meeting

Tim Larkin addressed the proposed resolution entitled Request to Officially Name the Stream “Sixmile Creek” as Six Mile Creek (ID #7564) and said he initiated the process to correct the name of the stream. He spoke of the recent opportunity he had to do some historical research Six Mile Creek and said it was brought to his attention that the designation name was incorrectly spelled. He petitioned the Federal government to change the official name and was told that it requires a formal process and that this action by the Legislature is needed.

Mr. Klein said after the last Committee meeting when this was discussed, he researched this and said the purpose of the United States Board on Geographic Names is to correct names such as in this case. This action from the County’s point of view is that Six Mile Creek is the common usage. If there was interest in changing the name as recommended earlier by Patrick Braga, someone would have to initiate that process with the Federal agency.

Mr. Larkin commented on the research he conducted and as the name Teegastoweas has not been used in over 200 years, he does not believe it should be considered. He further commented that the Cayuga Indians are not making a request and that it could create confusion.

Mr. John agrees but believes there should be some form of recognition to the Indian name and that it is a worthwhile historical reference.

Mr. Lane said the Bicentennial Commission has been having a similar discussion and would like to recognize the Indigenous people. The Commission is asking the City to allow the County to have on Cayuga Street a second sign that would have it in the Cayuga language. He suggested that something similar could be considered for Six Mile Creek.

Mr. Larkin clarified that the United States Board on Geographic Names only accepts one name for name changes; two or more names cannot be designated.

Ms. Dawson suggested a plaque could be considered as well.

Mr. Klein said he is not interested in initiating a process for pursuing other designations as there are many, but said if someone else was, he would be supportive.

Ms. Champion said this is being discussed because a member of the public brought it forward and if he wants to move it forward she said she would be interested in it progressing. She agrees with Mr. Klein’s statement that there are a number of the places that could be renamed, but unless someone brings it forward, she does not see pursuing it either.

Mr. Larkin noted that the Town of Caroline has a resolution to consider at their next Board meeting. He thought the City of Ithaca was considering a resolution too, but is unclear the status of it.

Mr. Klein said the County Historian has also given her support and agrees with this action.

MOVER:Rich John, Member
SECONDER:Amanda Champion, Member
AYES:Daniel Klein, Deborah Dawson, Rich John, Michael Lane, Amanda Champion
Feb 20, 2018 5:30 PM Media Tompkins County Legislature Regular Meeting
MOVER:Anna Kelles, Member
SECONDER:Deborah Dawson, Member
AYES:Shawna Black, Amanda Champion, Deborah Dawson, Henry Granison, Rich John, Anna Kelles, Daniel Klein, Anne Koreman, Michael Lane, Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, David McKenna, Glenn Morey, Martha Robertson, Michael Sigler