With the eyes of the world set on their little town for the first and possibly last time ever, residents of Mont Vernon, New Hampshire gathered at a town meeting last night to vote on whether a tiny body of water known officially and unofficially as Jew Pond would be given a new, non-Jew-referencing name. But not without some last-minute drama! Clearly, there were forces in Mont Vernon willing to do anything to keep that name in place, including maybe pulling a fire alarm. As the AP reported last night:
A fire alarm has delayed a vote on whether to rename a fishing and skating pond that’s been called Jew Pond since the 1920s.
More than 100 residents of rural Mont Vernon were preparing to vote when the alarm went off shortly after 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Initial reports were that there was no smoke or other indications of a fire.
This desperate last-ditch effort, however, was ultimately but a minor bump in the road on the way to Jew Pond’s demise. After regrouping, the town voted overwhelmingly, 104-33, to petition the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to finally change the decades-old name of this muddy, anti-Semitic hole in the ground. The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward generic pond names.