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Rugby secures Geographical Center claim

By Staff | Apr 13, 2018

Rugby’s claim to the Geographical Center of North America was secured this month when a similar trademark held by a Robinson Bar was officially surrendered.

However, another North Dakota city hopes to capitalize on a different calculation of the geographic center to erect its own monument. The city of Center believes there’s science behind its claim, but just the same, it intends to tie its fame to its name rather than steal any thunder from Rugby.

“They have had it forever,” said Rick Schmidt, Oliver County Extension agent in Center of the trademark. “We don’t want to take it away from them. We look at it as a way we can promote our town without taking anything away from them.”

The Rugby Chamber of Commerce had no response at this time.

Hanson’s Bar in Robinson filed with the U.S. Patient and Trademark Office April 4 to surrender its claim to the Geographical Center of North America trademark, which was snapped up in 2016 after the Rugby Chamber of Commerce inadvertently let it lapse.

The Rugby Chamber issued a statement Friday saying the dispute over the trademark “has been resolved in a manner satisfactory to both the Rugby Chamber and NFNP (Hanson’s Bar). As a result of that resolution, NFNP has both ended its use of the mark and acknowledge the Rugby Chamber’s rights in the mark going forward from the date of the agreement. The parties are pleased to have reached on amicable resolution of their differences.”

Rugby regained its trademark registration for the Geographical Center of North America last August, having left it lapse in 2009. Over the last 80 years, Rugby has taken pride in being known as the Geographical Center of North America. It stakes its claim on a U.S. Geological Survey report in 1931 that deemed Pierce County as center of the continent. A monument erected in 1932 stands at the intersection of U.S. Highway 2 and N.D. Highway 3 in Rugby.

Robinson’s claim to the geographical center came from research showing when the Caribbean is included, the center of North America falls near the Kidder County town.

Center leans on the research of a New York professor, who recorded coordinates that identified a spot four miles north of Center as the center. Schmidt said Center is working to record its trademark as “THE Center – Just Ask the Scientists.”

A small monument will be erected with a plaque reciting the history behind the designation, with a dedication planned during Old Settler’s Day in June, Schmidt said. The monument and flags will be located in a scenic area four miles north of Center along Highway 48.

“One of the things that unique about it is the fact that our town’s name is Center. I think we can use that as maybe a tourism draw,” Schmidt said.

– Jill Schramm,

Minot Daily News

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