Commissioners Support Renaming Chinaman's Arch to Chinese

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BRIGHAM CITY, Utah (AP) -- Box Elder County commissioners have agreed to support a group's efforts to have Chinaman's Arch at the Golden Spike National Historic Site renamed as Chinese Arch.

The 15-foot natural limestone formation is thought to be named for Chinese laborers who helped build the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads during the 1860s.

In April, the Utah Organization of Chinese Americans submitted an application to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names to rename the structure.

"We want to commemorate the work Chinese laborers did, but without using a derogatory term," organization chairwoman Jeanny Wong said.

The National Park Service has spent the last several months trying to research the history of the arch and gather input from residents in nearby communities.

The agency will conduct a public survey on the name change before submitting an official statement to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names, which establishes official names of cities and geographic features.

Golden Spike chief ranger Melissa Cobern said the board's final decision will probably be made by next August.

Cobern said,community response to the proposed name change has been mostly positive.

In a recent Box Elder County Commission meeting, both commissioners in attendance, Suzanne Rees and Clark Davis, offered to write letters supporting the name change.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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