A Times Editorial
© St. Petersburg Times, published July 1, 2001
North Dakota's chamber of commerce has decided that the state's name is bad for business. "North Dakota" conjures up an image of a "cold and snowy and flat" place, says former Gov. Ed Schafer.
So civic leaders have started a movement to drop the "North" and rename the state "Dakota." Just "Dakota."
Maybe a name change is all that's needed to turn the state into a fashionable vacation paradise. After all, the Dakota is one of the most exclusive apartment buildings on Manhattan's West Side. And the Dodge Dakota is one of America's trendiest pickup trucks, associated with the sort of rugged outdoorsmen who once appeared in Marlboro ads.
But it may turn out that people perceive North Dakota as cold and snowy and flat not because of its name, but because of its location. After all, nobody associates North Carolina with cold and snowy and flat. North Korea, maybe, but not North Carolina.
For that matter, nobody confuses South Dakota with South Beach.
We think North Dakotans should embrace their cold, snowy flatness. If anything, they should consider renaming their state NORTH Dakota, because North Dakota by any other name would still smell like sleet.
And whenever the good people of NORTH Dakota feel the need to experience some hot, humid flatness, well, we're here for them.