We have seen reports in the news lately of Internet-fueled naming contests for boats, soccer teams, and other items whose owners soon regretted asking for public input. Such was not the case in Skidmore, Missouri in 1903, however.
W. J. Skidmore, who had purchased the S. P. Smith farm, intended to name the new subdivision and sponsored a contest announced in the Skidmore Standard. The winning name would earn one lucky person a whole ten dollars.
The winner was announced in the March 24, 1903 Skidmore Standard:
The $10.00 Name Suggested by Jesse Barrett.
If there had been only one person suggested a name there would have been no trouble, but as there were fifty-one suggestions, I had to get the help so S. R. Baker, cashier of the Skidmore Bank, kindly assisted me. As the letters were received I numbered them on the outside of the envelope and laid them away without opening. Mr. Baker opened each letter and marked the coupon the same number as its envelope and read off the name suggested but not the name of the sender. I wrote down the different names and when all letters were opened I selected the name “Glenwood.”
I sincerely thank all those who participated in the contest and am sorry there were not enough ten dollar bills to go around.
W. J. Skidmore.
The newly-named neighborhood was then advertised, as we see in this announcement from the March 31, 1903 Skidmore Standard:
We feel confident in saying that W. J. Skidmore would never have stood for “Boaty McBoatface” or any other similar nonsense, but we wish he had published the other suggested names in the paper, too. Does anyone know what part of town is represented by Glenwood? Comment or email us if you do, please.
First ad reads, “Ten Dollars for a Name. Having subdivided the S. P. Smith farm into lots of several acres each, I want a name for it and will pay Ten Dollars to the one that will suggest a name that suits me. The name must contain less than twenty letters. No name will be considered unless written on the coupon in this advertisement and addressed W. J. Skidmore, Name Contest, Skidmore, Mo. Don’t fail to put “Name Contest” on the outside of the envelope or I will open it before time and your coupon will be lost. Cut this coupon out. Coupon. Name Suggested: From: The contest will close Monday, March 23, 1903. I reserve the right to refuse all names suggested, and in that case will advertise again. W. J. Skidmore.”
Second ad reads, “What do you call it? Lots for Sale. It will be several days yet before the name I advertised for will be selected, but the lots are marked off and are now for sale. Now you fellows that wanted a few acres to make you a nice little home, come around and we’ll make a trade. The first fellow gets first choice. Now is your time to buy. Don’t wait until all the best locations are gone. Will sell on very liberal terms. W. J. Skidmore.”