County Says No Way to Hootenanny Way

By Beacon Staff

If there is ever a party out on 2 Mile Drive, you can call it a shindig, a soiree, a gala, or a celebration. Just don’t call it a hootenanny.

The aversion to the word began when the 14 resident landowners near 2 Mile Drive west of Kalispell were asked to vote on a name for a lane sprouting off the road just north of Meadow Hills Drive. Several prospects were suggested, such as “Killdeer” or “Berry,” but the former was rejected because it was already in use and the latter only received one vote.

The street name that earned the highest number of votes by July 1 would win. After cashing in its two votes, the dark horse competitor, Hootenanny Way, stole the election.

However, several homeowners on the lane were unimpressed with their new title.

“Hootenanny sounds a little off the wall,” Ed Wettach told county commissioners on August 11 during the name appeal hearing. “I play bluegrass and I can’t spell hootenanny.”

Other residents were concerned the unconventional name would inhibit their chances of future land or home sales. Pamela Berry said her husband sent the county plat office a letter asking for a name change because the winning name was “not our choice.”

The word “hootenanny” usually refers to a social gathering that involves folk music, dancing and audience involvement, according to Webster’s Dictionary. Though the origin is technically unknown, it is generally associated with southern culture.

Debbie Clay, who has lived on the lane with her mother for 24 years, said she would prefer a different name despite her southern roots.

The residents, representing three households, told commissioners Dale Lauman and Jim Dupont their preferred name would be Hun Lane, in reference to the Hungarian partridges in the area.

After a quick deliberation and no one defending Hootenanny Way, the commissioners voted in the name change with a smile.