Montana Geographic Names Advisor

Geographic Name Change Request

Change Goedertz Lake to Goeddertz Lake
Toole County, Montana

Status = Approved

Description reservoir, 6.2 acres, located at the W edge of the community of Kevin, 9.7 mi. SSE of Sunburst; named for members of the Goeddertz family, who settled in the area in the late 19th century, including Albert Goeddertz (1880-1965), who helped organize and plat nearby Sunburst
Location 48°44’52”N, 111°58’13”W
PLSS Location Sections 34 and 35, Township 35 North, Range 3 West
Proposal to change incorrect spelling of family name
Proponent U.S. Board on Geographic Names staff
Not Goedertz Lake, Goedertz Reservoir
Administrative area None
Previous BGN Action None
See also
GNIS ID 771823
Local Usage None Found
Published Goedertz Lake (USGS maps since 1943); Goeddertz Reservoir (USACE Dams and Reservoirs list 1981)
This proposal, initiated by the Board on Geographic Names staff as a resulted of an inquiry from the Montana Geographic Names Advisor, is to change the name of Goedertz Lake in Toole County to Goeddertz Lake. The 6.2-acre reservoir is located on the western edge of the community of Kevin, and has been labeled Goedertz Lake on USGS topographic maps since 1943. Although there is no information in the USGS field notes regarding the origin of the name, it appears the reservoir was named for Albert Goeddertz (1880-1965), who owned property in the area and who along with neighbors helped organize and plat Sunburst, a community 9.7 miles north-northwest of the reservoir.

A search of online genealogical records resulted in numerous references to the Goeddertz family in the Kevin area. Albert Goeddertz’s obituary states that the family settled in Sunburst in 1890, relocating to Kevin in 1907. Albert was described as a “pioneer rancher and builder,” and for many years, “the leading sheep rancher in the area.” He built the Kevin Hotel, as well as a grain elevator, lumber yard, general store, and livery stable, and the family home “that is still a landmark in Kevin.” He later branched into ranching and banking, and was instrumental in bringing oil drilling to the area. The first oil well was located on the Goeddertz ranch. He served as mayor of Kevin for many years. The Goeddertz family continues to own and operate the ranch.

Prior to receiving this inquiry, GNIS listed two entries for the feature: Goedertz Lake and Goeddertz Reservoir. The latter entry was obtained from the 1981 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Dams and Reservoirs inventory; it has since been deleted from GNIS as a duplicate entry and retained as a variant of Goedertz Lake. Goeddertz Dam, from the same USACE file, is also listed in GNIS (it is no longer recorded in the present-day National Inventory of Dams). An inventory of “Gas Wells Rich in Carbon Dioxide” compiled in 1982 by the USGS includes a listing for “Goeddertz-Agen No. 1,” with a location approximately 3 miles to the north-northwest of the reservoir. Google Maps, Google Earth, and the online MapCarta mapping service all apply the name Goeddertz Reservoir to another, much larger body of water on the east side of Kevin, but all evidence suggests this is an error. Until recently, that body of water was a dry lake bed; it is simply labeled on USGS topographic maps as “Lake Bed.”

The Montana Geographic Names Advisor reports that he attempted to solicit local opinion on the issue, but did not receive any feedback from the Kevin town hall, while “two people at the local post office indicated they were not aware of any names for the pond on the west side of town or the lake bed on the east side of town.”

Domestic Names Committee Decision Date - Wednesday, May 10, 2017

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