Stinking Water, Stinking Waters, Stinkingwater River, Stinking Water River
Origin Of Name:
Named Stinking Water River in 1807 by explorer John Colter, due to the odor of nearby sulphur springs. Renamed in 1901 by the Wyoming Legislature and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, in response to public demand. (Not Stinking Water) (Decisions, 1901) In 1901, the Wyoming Legislature changed the name of the Stinking Water River to Shoshone. (Annals of Wyoming 24:2) The Shoshone River was called "Stinking Waters" in the early days, due to the Maris sulfur springs above Cody. It is well established that John Colter was the first white man to see the Stinking Water River so named by him because of the foul odors from sulfur and other mineral hot springs common along side its course. According to one historian, Colter probably did not go all the way up the Clarks Fork but followed up Dead Indian Creek to the North Fork of the Shoshone, where he detected the odors of the stinking waters. From the North Fork, he proceeded southward up the Elk Fork, thence over into the South Fork via Ishawooa Pass, thence up the South Fork and over the divide into the Wind River Country. From here, he circled northward and made his famous Colter's Hell discovery. (WPA) "The Shoshone project, on which the newly named Buffalo Bill Dam and reservoir are located, was named after the range of mountains and the river which is the source of water for the project. However, the Indians originally gave the river the unattractive name of "Stinking Water" because of the sulphur springs near the mouth of Shoshone Canyon. The Wyoming Legislature, on February 14, 1901, officially fixed the name as Shoshone, after the Shoshoni tribe of Indians. Six weeks later the Board of Geographical Names in the Department of the Interior adopted the name as fixed by the legislature. The reason for changing the last letter of the name from "i" to "e" is not known." ("Speaking of Names" in The Reclamation Era, June 1946, p. 136)
A history of the North Fork of the Shoshone River. Murray, Ester Johansson. Rev. ed. Cody, Wyo., USA : Lone Eagle MultiMedia, 2010.