Colorado town of Fraser looks to lock in ‘Icebox’ claim
The mountain town of Fraser may be on the verge of the country’s next big “cold war.”
City officials in the town of less than 1,000 have filed for a federal trademark on the nickname “Icebox of the Nation,” hoping to snatch the title from another chilly locale, International Falls, Minn.
Fraser officials say International Falls let its trademark registration lapse. But the mayor of the Minnesota city of about 6,300 says no way, and officials there have called an emergency meeting to discuss the matter.
“No, no, no!” International Falls Mayor Shawn Mason told the Denver Post. “The city owns the trademark. The council just renewed it a few months ago.”
But federal records show no mention of a renewal, although International Falls officials do have a state trademark certificate issued in December.
The battle won’t be the first for the chilly municipalities. Fraser has claimed the “Icebox” title since 1956, but gave up its “official” claim back in 1986, for a payment of $2,000 from International Falls.
Fraser town manager Jeff Durbin believes International Falls has let the trademark slip away and says his community has a stronger claim to the title.
“The most important piece, in terms of whether or not you can get the trademark, is who started using the trademark first,” he said. “We are really pleased as punch to be moving forward.”
International Falls Town Administrator Rod Otterness sounded ready to defend the title.
“We beat them once, and I’m sure we can beat them again,” he said.
Ironically, not everyone in Fraser is enamored with the idea of being known for bone-chilling temperatures.
Last year, some in the business community sought to dump the monicker, concerned that it undercut marketing efforts. Locals beat back the measure, taking pride in the area’s brutal cold.
“It was pretty loud and clear that the vast majority of the community said: ‘Hold on. This is reflective of who we are,”‘ Durbin said.
Fraser, which sits in a valley, reports an average annual temperature of 34.8 degrees with winter lows sinking to 40 degrees below zero.
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