Rockaway Headlands renamed

The soon to be renamed Rockaway Headlands and Rockaway Beach. Adam Pardee / Tribune

Local nonprofit Pacifica’s Environmental Family announced last Friday that the Rockaway Headlands area will be named Aramai Point to honor stewardship of the first people on this land.

The U.S. Geological Survey accepted the group’s application to name the highland between Rockaway and Linda Mar after the Native American tribe that lived alongside what is now known as Calera Creek, within the Rockaway Quarry. The Aramai people lived for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans in 1769. The USGS accepted the naming application at its Sept. 9 meeting.

A Sept. 17 statement from USGS reads, “The name will be entered into the Geographical Names Information System, the nation’s oldest geographical names repository.”

Mark Hubbell is a PEF member who played a key role in seeking the renaming. He said the process started in June 2020. “I’m ecstatic,” he said. “It was a community effort.”

Pacifica Historical Society members Jim and Pat Kremer helped move the idea along, Hubbell said. The Pacifica Historical Society provided the name of the Native American tribe, Aramai, and the name of the village, Timigtac, at Calera Creek where they lived for 5,000 years.

“They were fantastic stewards of the environment. That’s what this is all about. Then it only took us about 100 years to screw it up,” said Hubbell. “They left us a little blessing.”

PEF, a local environmental and history education nonprofit, filled out an application from USGS with the coordinates and the name wanted for the area commonly known as Rockaway Headlands. Officially, the area had no USGS name. PEF solicited letters of support from local politicians and others in the community and received letters from San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley, former Mayor Deirdre Martin and former Pacifica City Councilmember John Keener. PHS found a descendant of the Aramai tribe who wrote a letter of support.

“Because the USGS is one of the oldest government agencies, their bylaws require them to meet in person for them to approve it,” Hubbell said. “With COVID-19 going on, that set it back about a year; all the Confederate monuments had been renamed. That kept the USGS really busy. It was a joy to work with the USGS.”

Jane Northrop has covered Pacifica for the Pacifica Tribune since 1996. She has won first place John Swett Awards from the California Teachers Association for her coverage of education.

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