Residents of Mont Vernon, New Hampshire, vote today for a fairly unconventional reason: to decide whether to rename Jew Pond. The town health officer who pushed for the vote finds the name "inappropriate" and "disrespectful," but others in the small rural town aren't sure such a big deal should be made over a small pond no one particularly cares about. The manmade Jew Pond was originally named Spring Pond, but its creators—owners of a hotel and golf course on the land—barred Jewish guests.
The name apparently changed to Jew Pond in the 1920s, when two Jewish businessmen bought the hotel. They meant to rename it Lake Serene, according to officials; the AP calls the story "a bit murky." A Historical Society member and longtime resident of the town insists the name is not offensive: "It's too bad it's gotten to be such an issue when it's never even referred to or portrayed in a negative way. It's more like, 'It's the Jew's Pond. The new man in town.'" The name appears on a map from 1968, but not on any signs in the town. (Read more New Hampshire stories.)