Devil(s) Postpile National Monument

photo of the week for Thursday, 2008, October 9
Photographer: Kurt Repanshek

What's in a name? For years it's been accepted that the 800-acre national monument down below Mammoth Lakes, California, has been known as Devils Postpile. That's Devils with an "s."

Well, it didn't start out that way. When President William Howard Taft set aside the monument on July 6, 1911, only one "Devil" was involved.

But, according to monument history, while this singular approach was thought to be in error, in actuality the "Devil" spelling was contained on the 1901 U.S. Geological Survey map of the Mount Lyell quadrangle. Well, those who fret about such things weren't about to let that poor grammar stand, and in 1953 the U.S. Board of Geographical Names agreed to rename the monument "Devils," with the "s" but without an apostrophe on other side of it. Which might make you wonder if they got it right that time around as well.

Gear: Nikon D80, 35-80 mm F 4-5.6, 1/80 F-8.

On the Web: www.nps.gov/depo