There’s a little town just north of Little River, in North Carolina, called Delco.
You may never have heard of it, unless you’ve done as I once did: miss a turn coming out of Wilmington.
The cross-roads town was once called Brinkleys, after the family of David Brinkley, the longtime NBC newscaster.
Brinkley told the story of Delco in a 1996 memoir and I mentioned it in a column at that time.
It seems that early in the century, Brinkleys townspeople wanted electric lights so they could watch high school basketball games at night.
But their petition to a Wilmington electric utility was rejected. The town was too small to extend power that far out.
So the town borrowed money and bought a Delco generator, then installed it in the school.
The whole town gathered in the gymnasium and when the switch was thrown, the place exploded with light.
“It was all so splendid,” Brinkley wrote, “that after an informal survey of the crowd it was decided there in the gymnasium to change the name of the town from Brinkleys to Delco. So it remains today.”
A similar thing is happening today in neighboring Georgia – except on a massive scale, a cyber-scale.
A town called Stonecrest, Ga., located about 20 miles west of Atlanta, on Monday de-annexed 345 acres, followed by a petition to the Georgia legislature to name the place Amazon, Ga.
There is method to the madness.
The gigantic e-retailer, Amazon, is looking for a site for a second headquarters, called HQ2.
The planned $5 billion facility would employ 50,000 in jobs that some say could average $100,000 a year.
A prerequisite calls for a population of at least 1.5 million – a bit out of reach for Stonecrest’s 53,000, but within easy reach of the more than 5 million in metropolitan Atlanta.
Stonecrest is hoping the cyber giant will be unable to resist its ingenuity and recognize its proximity to the nation’s ninth-largest urban area.
“How could you not want your 21st century headquarters to be located in a city named Amazon?” asked Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary.
Well, yes, but Stonecrest, like the mouse that roared, is battling most of the nation’s largest cities. Name one – New York, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Dallas – and chances are it will be making a pitch to Amazon on the Oct. 19 deadline for HQ2 proposals. Atlanta itself is ranked among the top five contenders.
I’m a big supporter of the underdog – well, as long as I don’t have a dog in the fight – so I’ll be watching Amazon, Ga., with some interest.
Having said that, I also hope that if some gigantic golf company ever decides to relocate, Myrtle Beach will resist the temptation to rename itself Titleist, S.C.
Contact Bob Bestler at firstname.lastname@example.org.