Lincoln Civic Center

Supervisors settle on new facility name PDF Print E-mail

This Dec. 7, 2009, file photo shows a sign for the short-lived Lincoln Center name for the county's multi-purpose facility. Supervisors have decided to change the facility's name to Lincoln Civic Center after trademarks concerns were expressed by officials with the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.


The war is over, and the Yankees won ... again.

Lincoln County supervisors have renamed the county's multi-purpose facility as "Lincoln Civic Center," forever dropping the short-lived title "Lincoln Center" after facing a potential trademark lawsuit from New York City's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. County officials at first made light of LCPA's demands the name be changed, but were forced to seriously consider the ramifications of fighting the northern aggressors in court and signaled a surrender Monday.

"There are no trademarks using that name (Lincoln Civic Center), but if something comes out of the woodwork, I recommend we go to the (mat) on it this time," said Pat McCullough, a member of the Lincoln Civic Center Commission.

News of New York's demands went national in December when commentators ridiculed LCPA's assertion that local use of the term "Lincoln Center" was "likely to cause confusion with the trademark rights of LCPA."

The Big Apple's Lincoln Center hosts operas and ballets; Lincoln County's center hosts horse and cattle shows. The two are separated by about 1,200 miles.

In the final analysis, many Lincoln County residents wanted supervisors to thumb their noses at the seemingly snooty and well-funded LCPA, but the name "Lincoln Center" was in fact trademarked by that organization. At the commission's recommendation, supervisors sidestepped a costly court battle with the name change.

But not without having a little fun one last time.

"I'm glad we got this resolved - this could have led to another secession from the Union. Remember Jones County?" McCullough said, referring to the "Free State of Jones," a Mississippi myth stating that county seceded from the state during the Civil War.

Lincoln County Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop called the entire affair - in which the multi-purpose facility's name changed three times - a "giant waste of time."

"I certainly hope our friends from New York can rest easy now that we are not encroaching on them," he said.

Rehashing the most popular sarcastic remark made about the affair last year - board attorney Bob Allen's assertion the Russian ballet might get confused and travel to Brookhaven instead of New York - Lincoln Civic Center Manager Quinn Jordan said he received no phone calls from Russia and mediated no confusion from the fine arts community.

"I never had to book the airport to fly them in, either," he said. "And, Dr. David Braden and his family visited New York and looked for a cow show all over the city and couldn't find one."

On a serious note, the center was renamed because "Lincoln Civic Center" achieved the commission's goals of adjusting the facility's image away from agriculture-only and avoided a trademark battle. Jordan said the name was one of a few final choices - along with Lincoln County Center and Lincoln Central- when Lincoln Center was originally selected.

"In different times and different economic conditions, I think the board and my commission would have looked at what we could have done to maintain that name, but trying to be frugal with what we have right now is more important than being right," he said.