montezuma natural wildlife refuge

Okay, this post has only the most remote possible connection to Mesoamerica. But I just came back from a trip to the Finger Lakes region of New York, where I visited a marshland nature preserve called the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. (The image shows a typical marsh vista at about the height of fall color.)

The refuge gets its name from Peter Clark, a New York physician who built an estate nearby in the first decade of the 1800s. To express the grandeur and exoticism of his hilltop home, he called it “Montezuma.” Eventually the name became applied to the whole region. Clark’s adaptation of the name of the Aztec ruler shows the hold accounts of the conquest had on the Yankee imagination in the early nineteenth century — Scott named his estate well before William Prescott’s best-selling histories of the conquest were published.