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July 25, 1912: Naughty canoe names

  • Blog Post by: Ben Welter
  • August 1, 2013 - 10:57 AM
 
Be sure to catch Kim Ode’s marvelous piece on the canoe craze of the early 1900s in Minneapolis. “At one time,” she writes, “the number of couples cuddling in canoes grabbed headlines, spawned park police patrols and saw metaphorical lines drawn in the sand about naughty boat names such as Kismekwik, Skwizmtyt (sound it out) or Kumonin Kid.”
 
A Tribune story from 1912 lists more of the names declared by the Minneapolis Park Board to be unacceptable:
 

Suggestive Canoe Names
Discussed by Parkmen

 
Commissioners Bored at Slushiness of Sentiment Printed on Private Boats.
 

Owners to Be Notified at End of Season to Rename Craft.

 
Naughty names on canoes at Lake Harriet were before the committee on privileges of the park board yesterday afternoon. Commissioners Phelps, Boutell, Nye and Peterson discussed the names and deliberated what they meant, while Secretary Ridgway acted as interpreter. Many of them sounded so slushy that the commissioners looked bored, while they frowned at others.
 
Among the names that drew special condemnation were: Ilgetu, Thehelusa, Kum-to-mu-kid, Joy-tub, Cupid’s Nest, Half Shot, Ile-get-akis, “There’s a Girl Intended for Each Man; We Are Looking for Ours,” Win-ka-tus, “I Would Like to Try It,” Aw-kom-in, G-I-Love-U, Ildaryoo, Skwizmtyt (squeeze me tight), What That, Damfine, Nothin-doeen, and O-U-Q-T.
 
The commissioners said that it practically amounted to disorderly conduct to print such names on the sides of canoes and that they could not be tolerated after this season.
 
A list of the names and canoe numbers of each canoe on the lakes is in the hands of the commissioners and notices will be sent in the fall to have the names removed if it is the intention to have the canoes on the lakes next season.
 
Mr. Phelps, president of the board, said he had seen improper conduct in canoes at Harriet and that he thought someone ought to instruct the canoeists not to lop around in their boats.
 
Canoes packed with paddlers packed Lake Calhoun in about 1912. (Image courtesy of mnhs.org)

 

 
The gents in this postcard from about 1912 seem nice enough. But wearing a tie instead of a life jackets shows poor judgment. Am I wrong, ladies? (Image courtesy of mnhs.org)

 

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