What's in a name?

North Dakota State Roundup

Published September 1, 2001  | September 2001 issue

Four years ago, leaders in the town formerly know as Granville cut a deal with a company to change the town's name to a brand of schnapps—McGillicuddy. Some saw it as a sellout to corporate America, while others saw a unique economic opportunity not to be passed up.

By winning a contest in 1998, the north-central town received not only the name change to McGillicuddy City U.S.A. but also $25,000 each of the next four years from the distributor of Dr. McGillicuddy's schnapps. The money has gone toward the construction of a community center, and the new name has boosted the town's morale. Although no one credits the name change directly, the 2000 census counted 36 additional residents over the past decade, bringing the total population to 275.

North Dakota will follow in McGillicuddy's footsteps if a Greater North Dakota Association recommendation to change the state's name to merely "Dakota" is adopted. While a name change for the state may not be as easy to order, the state is receiving a lot of attention, nonetheless. In fact, a South Dakota newspaper noted a reader suggestion that, instead, North Dakota should just call itself South Canada.

Rosie Cataldo