Back page: North Dakota tavern takes trademark as North American center
October 1, 2016
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Crediting "barstool science," a small-town tavern in central North Dakota is laying claim as the center of North America after snatching the title from a nearby city that allowed its trademark to lapse.
Hanson's Bar in Robinson — a town of fewer than 40 people — is now touting its continental bull's-eye status, dismissing Rugby's decades-long claim as the continental nucleus. And people in Rugby, a town of about 2,900 about 85 miles north, are miffed.
"It's upsetting," said Dale Niewoehner, Rugby's former mayor and the city's unofficial historian. "We spent a lot of time, money and energy marketing this distinction."
Niewoehner said Rugby officials found out this week the town had lost its trademark phrase "Geographical Center of North America" to the bar in Robinson.
Bill Bender, mayor of Robinson and one of a dozen owners of the bar, said patrons always have been suspect of Rugby's claim.
Through research, Bender and others discovered that Rugby's trademark expired about 20 years ago. Patrons raised $350 to buy the trademark and sent it off to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The paperwork came in the mail a few weeks ago, after a yearlong wait, he said.