A fishy name will stay the sameSeptember 6, 1996
Web posted at: 11:50 p.m. EDT
From Correspondent Mary Ann McRae
FISHKILL, New York (CNN) -- Welcome to the small, upstate New York town of Fishkill, or should it be called Fishsave?
All was quiet in Fishkill until an animal rights group, PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, took issue with the town's centuries-old name.
PETA wants the town to change its name, claiming it suggests cruelty to, well, fish.
"It seems like a light-hearted subject at first. But the real issue behind the name of Fishkill is the violent imagery," PETA spokeswoman Anne Sullivan said.
Fishkill Mayor George Carter can't imagine using the name Fishsave on town signs -- like the one for the elementary school.
"Picture that (school) with the new name? Oh, my goodness. Fishsave Elementary School? Good Lord," laughed the mayor.
"I think their proposal is idiotic," he said.
If the town of Fishkill changes its name, then what about the other towns in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey with the stem -kill.
Bushkill, Schuykill, Cresskill, Cobleskill, Fishkill Plains, Peekskill, Plattekill, Poestenkill, Wallkill, West Kill, Wynanstkill...
And don't forget the nearby rivers with similar names: the Fish Kill, the Wall Kill and the Basher Kill.
If the towns and rivers are renamed then the Catskill Mountains of New York should also be renamed.
Kill means creek
Why all the names ending in 'kill'? One definition of the word is channel or creek -- of which there are many in this mountainous Northeast region.
The area around Fishkill, New York, was founded by the Dutch in the early 1600s; the 'kill' part in the name is actually the Dutch word for 'stream.'
Fishkill is a few miles east of the Hudson River, and not far from the Catskill Mountains. It is known for its ski resorts in the winter and campgrounds in the summer.
"We encourage the citizens of any town whose name reflects cruelty to animals to consider changing it," Sullivan said.
So if the town changed its name, would the Fishkill Inn would become the Fishsave Inn?
"This is an old, old establishment," the mayor explained.
"This building's been standing here and it's been Fishkill all along. What would George Washington think? It was Fishkill when he was here," said the inn's owner, Paul Vogelsang.
Residents like town's name
Many residents of Fishkill aren't enthusiastic about considering a name change, either.
"Kill doesn't mean to kill the fish. The name came from the Dutch, you know, and was alright," one said.
Local merchants also haven't taken to the name change.
"Go save the whales or something," one local bar owner said.
Coincidentally, PETA's proposal, which may seem a bit extreme to some, is part of the group's effort to draw attention to an anti-fishing campaign.
However, some local merchants, such as Captain Cliff's Fish Market, are not taking the bait.
"I don't like Fishsave at all,", said Captain Cliff, while cooking up some sauteed lemon Sole.
While PETA may have hoped villagers would swallow its proposal -- hook, line and sinker -- they've had no such luck.
"As long as I'm sitting in this seat, you can rest assured the name Fishkill, New York, will still stay on the map," Carter vowed.
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