Baby born in Iowa town of Nira, named Nira

While doing research for the post about NIRA, 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.

2 thoughts on “Baby born in Iowa town of Nira, named Nira

  1. My mother born im Shannon Georgia Sept 2 1933 was named nira a crockett. My grandfather BF crockett told us stories that he was paid $25 for naming her nira. To promote NIRA
    I have searched for decades to find out more. He said he got her name in the paper

  2. Hi Myra!

    That’s a fascinating bit of information, thank you!

    I have not come across any 1930s articles (in newspapers or elsewhere) that offered parents money for naming their daughters Nira, but I will do more research on this to see if I can find anything.

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