However well-intentioned the effort to make Lake Calhoun known also as Bde Maka Ska, we pretty much know what most people will call it: Lake Calhoun.
Not unlike how some still refer to Macy’s as Dayton’s (name change: 2001).
Not unlike how people still refer to Terminals 1 and 2 (name change: 2010) as Lindbergh and Humphrey (or the main one and the other one).
Old habits die hard. Even if a shift is driven by business dictates, our brain’s muscle memory hangs tough. Did anyone ever not call him Prince? (Name change: 1993.) (Name recovery: 2000.)
Consider Lunds & Byerlys (name change: 2015), two groceries that long have had the same owner. Betcha anything that people who used to shop at Lunds will keep shopping at Lunds, while former Byerly’s customers still will ask their spouses to stop by Byerly’s for milk on their way home. (And will be vaguely irked by the absence of the apostrophe. Well, some people will be.)
But not all people, which raises a crucial point: This resistance to change most often is seen among longtime Minnesotans. Seriously: No son of Sleepy Eye ever said they were going to a football game at Mall of America Field (name change: 2009). They went to the Dome, as they had for decades.
Actually, here’s a case where a name change might stick, mostly because the “Star Wars”-esque behemoth now being built at the old Dome site most certainly is not a dome. Will people go to U.S. Bank Stadium, as they go to TCF Stadium over at the UM campus? Time will tell, although we have heard droll references to dubbing them East Bank and West Bank.
While habit is one thing, it can breed confusion, if not consternation. Newcomers forever feel like newcomers, not hip to knowing that meeting someone at the Chipotle in Pillsbury Center really means going to U.S. Bank Plaza (name change: 2004).
Likewise, when a longtime resident recommends an event at St. Kate’s, and then to your puzzled expression replies, “Oh, I mean the College of St. Catherine,” they really mean St. Catherine University (name change: 2009).
The issue seems less confusing in St. Paul, perhaps because of the Capital City’s charming sense of being suspended in amber. It’s as if once they shed the city’s original name, Pig’s Eye, nothing else needed fixing.
Still, newspapers on both sides of the Mississippi know that some older readers always will call them the Press-Dispatch (name change: 1990) and the Star Journal (name change: 1947 — no, really, 1947).
The names of the light rail lines are a curious exception to the persistence of habit. First called the Hiawatha and University lines, they became Green and Blue in 2013. Even native Minnesotans hadn’t had time to become entrenched, so the shift went off without a hitch.
Sometimes, a stubborn refusal to change pays off. Consider the MEA break, which now stands for Minnesota Educator Academy, or the four-day break in mid-October that schools have observed for decades.
Seventeen years ago, the name became Education Minnesota, but no one ever, ever called it EM break. For 17 years.
Now, this fall, the faithfully attended teachers’ workshop again is known as MEA.