Sidewalk Clean-Up

The Skidmore Standard and the paper that followed it, The New Era, frequently devoted column inches to the state of the town’s sidewalks.  When most of the town’s customers travel on foot or by horse and wagon, good sidewalks and proper hitch racks become major editorial issues.  From the February 2, 1900 Skidmore Standard, page 8:

A Good Move

J. M. French & Co, hardware dealers, moved their stock from the sidewalk in front of their store into the building, this week. In other words, they have taken in their sign – a corn sheller, grind stone, two or three large kettles and numerous other articles of trade – which had been reposing on the walk, for an age, an impediment to hurrying pedestrians circulating on our thoroughfares.

Messrs. French deserve commendation for this action, because it is the beginning of a reform in Skidmore, which will soon clear all the walks of obstructions, and enable them to be used for the purpose for which they were originally designed.

French & Co. were only proving the paper’s point, it seems. From elsewhere on that page:

Sidewalks were originally constructed for the benefit of pedestrians but for a long, long time some of the Skidmore merchants have seemingly entertained the idea that the walks in front of their respective places of business were for the express purpose of displaying salt barrels and empty dry-goods boxes. It strikes the ‘observer’ that if the walks could be cleared of these unsightly obstructions, the appearance of the town would be greatly improved and visitors would carry home much more favorable impressions of our little city.

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