Lucas County fell upon hard times during November of 1907 after Chariton's First National Bank --- one of the largest in the state and the dominant financial institution in the region --- crashed, taking with it not only the savings of individual depositors but also the cash reserves of Lucas County, the city and many business and professional operations. Deposits were not insured at the time.
By 1910, however, recovery was in sight --- after a lot of hard work by federal bank receivers, who squeezed every drop of cash they could out of bank owners (the Mallory family) and other bank creditors, and everyone else --- who just carried on.
So the editors of The Herald-Patriot were inclined to engage in a little boasting in their edition of Nov. 3, 1910 --- three years after the crash occurred. As part of the effort, they provided readers with the following list of community assets under the headline, "Things You Can Boost About." The advertisements, lifted from microfilm, are from the same edition.
Chariton people sometimes wonder what they could boost the town about, if they wanted to boost. Well, here are a few things to tell your outside friends about, if you haven't done it already ---
Within the last few years we have recovered from a $1.5 million bank failure, a calamity that would have floored a poorer town for a decade.
We have installed a system of water works and have cut our insurance risks in half and stopped the disastrous conflagrations that were ruining the business reputation of the town.
We have rebuilt our municipal light plant, and made it one of the best municipal plants in southern Iowa, with both day and night service.
We have three of the most beautiful churches in Iowa --- the Methodist, Episcopal and Presbyterian --- and seven or eight others that are as good as the best of their denominations in most towns, and with better preachers than most towns of this size.
We have had a Carnegie library so long that we don't brag about it any more, and it has a patronage that any city of 10,000 could be proud of.
We have no saloons, and no drug stores with liquor permits.
We have more beautiful residences that any other town in southern Iowa, with the possible exception of Red Oak.
We have a finer looking square, with handsomer business blocks and more of them, than any other town in southern Iowa.
We have the handsomest electrolier lighting system for the business section of all the towns in southern Iowa, and had it long before many others thought of it.
We have had our square paved for eight years, and have since then had two additional sections of paving done, the last one being now under construction.
We have the best high school in southern Iowa, with a first class faculty and up-to-date departments and equipment, and three other school buildings for the grade pupils.
We have not many factories, but what we have are the best of their kind --- Schreiber wagons, Curtis brooms, Reibel bee supplies, Johnson Bros. hay tools, Balley's bricks, Waugh's pop, etc.
We have more traveling men living here and more railway mail clerks than any other town in southern Iowa. The social and church advanages, the splendid stores, and the railway conveniences make it an ideal headquarters town for such men.
We have a lack of good houses to rent, and we need someone who will build some good modern houses to rent for from $15 to $20 per month.
We have splendid facilities for shipping livestock and have buyers who pay the highest prices for shipping stuff.
We have four rival poultry and produce houses, which insures the highest possible prices for cream, butter, eggs, poultry, etc., to all producers.
We have two good hotels, and several good boarding and rooming houses.
We have two first class newspapers, one of which, the Herald Patriot, has the largest list of all the country weeklies in the state of Iowa --- about 3,500 subscribers.
We have four banks and none of them dominating the county as the old First National used to do, which is a good thing.
We have the largest and best stores for the size of the town of any place we know of in Iowa.
We have 50 or 60 autos though only two years ago we had only three, and last year we had only six or seven because of the bank failure. Now there are three large garages, one just completed equal to the best outside of the large cities.
We have a beautiful lake resort, with swimming and boating facilities, at Crystal Lake, the railroad lake one mile long, just west of town. The lake is stocked with bass croppies and other good fish and is controlled by a gun club with a large membership.
We have the best laundry and the best pantatorium in southern Iowa.