Baby Named Nira After Iowa Town

While doing research for the NIRA post, I discovered that there used to be a town in Washington County, Iowa, called Nira.

The town wasn’t named after the legislation, though. It had been named decades earlier by Col. William B. Bell, an early Washington County postmaster. He named the town after his wife, Nira.

And here’s an interesting fact: the town of Nira — just like the town of Salida, Colorado — held a baby name contest in its early days:

Col. Bell watched the growth of the village named for his wife, Nira, and offered a gold dollar to the first baby girl born in the town who was named Nira.

The gold dollar eventually was awarded Nira Moffitt, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Moffitt. Her present location is unknown.

(According to the U.S. Census of 1900, Nira Moffitt was born in June of 1880.)

There was a surge of interest in the town in August of 1933, when Nira became one of the first places in the nation to sell NIRA-emblem postage stamps. By that point, though, the town had dwindled to just 20 residents.

After those last residents left, the down of Nira became (and remains) a ghost town.


  • “Nira Enjoys New Boom.” Telegraph-Herald 17 Aug. 1933: 1+.
  • “Nira, Iowa, Enjoys Boom Because of New Stamp.” Reading Eagle 17 Aug. 1933: 11.

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