New name coming for East Calhoun

Residents of East Calhoun have voted to change the name of their Uptown neighborhood, making it the second Southwest community to change its name amid a movement of residents and institutions disassociating themselves with the legacy of John C. Calhoun.

In May, the East Calhoun Community Organization (ECCO) invited residents to cast ballots in a yes-no vote: Should the neighborhood change its name or not?

East Calhoun community members
East Calhoun community members gathered to discuss a potential name change to the neighborhood on May 9. Photos by Andrew Hazzard

Just over 63% of residents voted yes, according to ECCO name review committee chair Ralph Knox. There were 424 ballots cast, or about 17% of the neighborhood, he said.

In the wake of Lake Calhoun being redubbed Bde Maka Ska, its original Dakota name meaning Lake White Earth, several entities have changed their titles, too, including the Calhoun Area Residents Action Group (CARAG), which adopted the name South Uptown last year. John C. Calhoun was a South Carolina politician who advocated for the institution of slavery and had a role in orchestrating the Indian Removal Act.

The Minnesota Supreme Court is currently reviewing whether the Department of Natural Resources had proper authority to rename the lake without legislative approval.

Now, the neighborhood is soliciting potential names from residents until Sept. 2.

The name review committee will then narrow down submitted names to 10 finalists, which will be put up for a vote.

Those ballots will be tallied using a ranked-choice voting style, Knox said. If none of the finalists gets more than 50% of the vote, a final runoff election will be held with the top two.

“We want to be very calculated about this,” Knox said.