Sunday, July 25, 2021

Mae Glenn Gasser & her washing machine

The 17th annual Chariton Cemetery Heritage Tour, cancelled last year because of restrictions related to COVID-19, is back on the schedule this year --- planned for a Sunday afternoon in mid- to late September. We'll keep you updated on the details.

The event is sponsored by the Chariton Historic Preservation Commission --- currently Alyse Hunter, Dave Edwards, Melody Wilson, Florence Heacock and Frank Myers.

One of this year's subjects will be Mae Glenn Gasser (1884-1969), one of Chariton's great characters, who happens to be buried in the far northwest corner of the cemetery, where this year's tour will be focused.

And that brought to mind this photograph of Mae from the Lucas County Historical Society collection that I looked up yesterday while doing a little cataloging at the museum.

It was taken some time during the 1920s in the storefront show room on the square of the Southern Iowa Electric Co., successor to the 1914 Union Service Co., which had purchased the city of Chariton's electrical generating plant that year and then proceeded to establish the first "grid" to serve Lucas County --- extending power generated in Chariton to Russell and elsewhere.

The company also was the major purveyor of up-to-date electrical appliances, including washing machines, in the area at the time. 

If the sign is to believed, Mae had owned the first electric washing machine in use in Chariton and had arranged for its delivery to the show room for this promotional display. Hopefully, she had taken home a brand new up-to-date appliance.

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