The Skidmore Standard team watched the efforts of the Skidmore Improvement Association with keen interest and often supported the group’s ideas, as we see in this report from the June 15, 1900 Skidmore Standard, page 1:
Shall We Have a Town Well?
Citizens have long recognized the need of a town well in Skidmore, a place where the farmers and patrons of the town may conveniently water their thirsty animals, and an effort is now being made to get one. The Skidmore Improvement Association has in its treasury about thirty dollars and the ladies are willing to contribute it toward furthering the enterprise.
Mr. Maddern, a representative of the U.S. Water and Steam Co., of Kansas City, was in Skidmore the fore part of the week looking over the ground and figuring what the cost would be for a wind mill, tank and watering trough. Mr. Adrian Pinkston has magnanimously offered his well for the purpose. The only cost to the town would be for the wind mill, tank and trough, which can be procured complete for the sum of $150. So it is up to the citizens now as to whether or not Skidmore shall have the well. The remaining $120 will have to be raised by personal subscriptions. H. W. Montgomery and W. R. Linville are circulating papers; if the business men subscribe liberally the enterprise is assured.
The editor of the Skidmore Standard was heavily invested in the reputation, success, and business future of his town. After all, the town was named for his ancestors. This interest frequently led him to report (and often chastise the town) on issues concerning town improvements. Here are a few:
From the May 25, 1900 Skidmore Standard:
To all whom it may concern, be it hereby known that S. P. Smith cut the poles for the new hitchracks and hauled them to town with his span of ancient yellow mules. Of course the Skidmore Improvement Association paid for them, but “Sterl” treated the ladies so nicely that the poles or the work was donated, anyway it was considered. The old mules are justly entitled to the best rack in town.
From the April 26, 1904 Skidmore Standard:
This town is sorely in need of more hitch racks. It is almost impossible for the farmers to find a hitching place here on a busy day. Let’s fix up our hitch racks and show the farmers that we appreciate their coming to town by having a good place for them to tie their fine teams.
From the April 26, 1901 Skidmore Standard, page 5:
As spring advances improvements and preparations for the summer season are made. Our merchants find that the sun shining in through the show windows is very unpleasant; besides it injures such goods as millinery. Awnings were put up this week in front of J. F. Kellogg’s store and the Diggs building which contains the butcher shop and millinery store. It is a great improvement to the appearance of both buildings.
A new sidewalk was put down in front of the M. E. church South parsonage last Monday. No one would be more willing to “put your name in the paper” if some more of our citizens would repair their walks, and some that have none would build new ones. There is not a town in this part of the state that has more side walks according to its size than Skidmore; yet that is no reason why we should stop building them. Let us continue to build walks until there is not a street in the whole town but what has a good four foot walk on both sides. When this is done we may feel like inviting President McKinley to visit our thriving little city.
From the March 22, 1901 Skidmore Standard, page 1:
The Hanamo Telephone Company is talking very strongly of putting a number of ‘phones in the country near this place. Five of our up-to-date and prosperous farmers have promised to take ‘phones and we are confident that when others see what great benefits are to be derived from teh use of the telephone service there will be more take advantage of this opportunity to be in communion with our town and their neighbors. The day will be here soon when a home without telephone service will be considered as a “back number.” Those who have promised to take ‘phones are: T. B. Slaughter, J. R. Bagby, James Strickler, F. C. Barber, and James Cook.
Town improvement news from the December 7, 1900 Skidmore Standard, page 1:
The Town Board Getting Ready to Act.
The members of the Town Board have taken under advisement a plan to grade the south side of Elm street from the Windsor Hotel to the railroad tracks and thus do away with the steps just east of Bosley’s grain office. Should this be done, Mr. Bosley’s scales would have to be moved, as they extend into the street. This bit of enterprise on the part of the Town Board is very commendable and the members should be encouraged in every way possible by all the loyal citizens of our little city. The grading of that portion of Elm street and lowering the walk will vastly improve the appearance of our town. And then, too, those dangerous steps, which have been a menace to life and limb for twenty years past, will be done away with. Let the grading be done, and the sooner the better.
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.