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City Aggrees To Change Name

February 12, 1998

GRANVILLE, N.D. (AP) _ Lifelong Granville resident Jack Morrison admits he doesn’t know how to spell McGillicuddy, but for $100,000 he’s happy to learn.

``Oh yeah, you betcha,″ Morrison said Wednesday after this rural hamlet of about 250 people was chosen to receive $100,000 for changing its name to a brand of schnapps.

And so Granville’s days are numbered. Beginning next month, the community 25 miles east of Minot will call itself McGillicuddy City for the next four years in an advertising stunt that followed a coast-to-coast contest.

Folks here toasted the news at the Branding Iron Saloon over free shots of Dr. McGillicuddy’s Imported schnapps. They said they can swallow the name change because of the money, which will help build a civic center.

``These small towns, they don’t have a lot going for them,″ said Morrison, whose grandparents were among the original homesteaders. ``You just take what you can get.″

His grandmother led an 1886 drive to build the post office and liked the old name just fine.

``If she knew this town would be called McGillicuddy, she’d be rolling over (in her grave) right now,″ the 55-year-old Morrison said.

Named about a century ago in honor of a railroad official, Granville beat out three other North Dakota towns in a 1996 national promotional contest sponsored by Sazerac Co., a New Orleans liquor maker and distributor of the Canadian-made schnapps. Granville and the southeastern North Dakota town of Streeter were the finalists.

Except for the post office and schools _ which will keep the Granville address and name _ it will become a whole new town, er, city.

``I think it’s great,″ said Bob Bachmeier, the city’s maintenance worker. ``It’s always nice to get free money, right?″

Granville isn’t the first town to change its name on a whim. Enamored of the former quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, the tiny Montana farming village of Ismay _ population, about 20 _ changed its name temporarily to Joe in 1993, a name that stuck through a couple of seasons.

Granville’s name swap is scheduled to take effect on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day. Sazerac officials are to visit in April to work out details.

The contest was based on several criteria. The winning town had to have a place to lodge visitors, a bar willing to change its name to the Shady Eye Saloon and snow at least six months of the year _ although Granville appears to have more schnapps than snow this unusually mild winter.

The civic center will be a nice addition to the town, where the grocery store, post office, two bars and a gas station all are within a one-half block area on Main Street. The skyline is dominated by a water tower.

The Branding Iron Saloon, where a sign prods: ``Charge Accounts must be paid in full monthly or no more charging,″ has been nominated to change its name to the Shady Eye.

Lana Medler, who runs the saloon with her husband, said she’s willing to put the new name out front but doesn’t want to tinker with anything else.

In Streeter, Mayor Jeff Veil had counted on the money for a park project.

``They did give us $2,500 for participating, so we didn’t totally lose,″ he said. ``I guess that’s not so bad.″

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