The Skidmore Standard often bemoaned the state of the town’s streets, alleys, and sidewalks. Perhaps the reminders in print eventually inspired this event, as reported in the September 21, 1900 edition:
Skidmore’s Clean Streets.
The Business Men Surprise Themselves and Others.
The business men cleaned the business streets last Friday morning. It was the queerest thing that ever happened in Skidmore. Nothing like it was ever witnessed here before in all the twenty years of the town’s existence. Everyone who was fortunate enough to see it was surprised; even Old Sol was astonished and hid his jolly face behind some clouds, and they gently shed a few tear-drops of joy over the scene.
J. M. French & Co., started it by cleaning a small area in front of their place of business. J. D. Montgomery noticed it and followed suit. Then the street cleaning fever spread. It was more contagious than mumps or measles, and it wasn’t fifteen minutes from the time French started until Walnut street was being worked all along the line from Parrish’s blacksmith shop to Pinkston Bros. lumber yard. Elm street soon presented the same appearance. Hoes, spades, shovels, rakes and brooms were used in getting the grass and trash loosened and in piles.
Each one seemed possessed of a spirit of rivalry and tried to outdo his neighbor in having the cleanest street front. Some actually got out and put on the finishing touches with sand paper. A gentle rain began falling but it did not hinder the work in the least. When the dirt was all raked into piles, a wagon was brought and it was carted away.
The improvement in appearance was great and our town suddenly assumed a real metropolitan look.