Monday, September 13, 2021

The Glenn-Gasser house & property genealogy

I've spent a good deal of time during the last couple of week writing scripts for the 17th annual Chariton Cemetery Heritage Tour, scheduled for 4 p.m. next Sunday, Sept. 19 (everyone's welcome, no admission charge). One of the pitfalls of that --- trips down an Alice-in-Wonderland-like White Rabbit's hole chasing obscure bits and pieces of information, some relevant and others not.

One of our subjects this year is Mae Glenn Gasser (1884-1969) and one of the bits of lore attached to this distinguished lady has been that she was born and died in the same house, located at what now is 810  Court Avenue, a half block east of the southeast corner of the square, now the site of an apartment complex that fills the entire eighth-of-a-block lot on which the house once sat.

I decided to see if that was an accurate statement, and to make a longer story short discovered that it wasn't --- exactly. Mrs. Gasser was born in the original Glenn home on the site (left, as it looked in 1869, the year her parents moved in), but not in the far grander Glenn home (top) that actually was built during 1885, a year after Mae was born.

Although Mae had three older siblings, all died young before she was born so she was in effect an only child. This photograph of Henry, Maria and Mae Glenn would have been taken about 1895.

The Chariton Democrat reported in its edition of Sept. 16, 1885, that "Mr. H.S. Glenn has commenced the work of removing his old residence on Adams street to make ready to (build) a new, elegant and commodious structure which he will immediately proceed to erect on the site."

At the time, what now is Court Avenue was Adams Street.

The editor of The Chariton Patriot visited the site during November of 1885 and published the following report in his edition of Nov. 25:

In looking over the permanent improvements in Chariton our reporter made a visit to the new house being built on Adams street (now in 2021 Court Avenue) by Henry Glenn. It is evident, from the substantial and comfortable home that friend Glenn is building, that he intends to stay. Such permanent and valuable improvements constitute the solid wealth of our city. In nothing has Mr. Glenn shown better judgment and forethought that in the admirable manner he has provided for comfortably and beautifully warming his new abode. In the basement is located a Richardson & Boynton Co. perfect gas tight furnace, capable of heating 30,000 cubic feet of house room. The means of circulation of air and ventilation is most admirably arranged. The main air trunk is equal in capacity to all the distributing pipes, thus providing for a constant supply of pure air in all the rooms. The whole is put up in the most substantial manner, and the mechanical work on the fittings and connections reflect much credit on the firm of Goodrich & Ensley, who did the work.

Henry and Maria Glenn had arrived in Chariton from Pennsylvania during 1869 after Henry went to work in a blacksmith shop located at what now is 114 South Grand St. (currently the site of Cups on Grand). He bought the shop a year later and expanded it into a substantial two-story building where he opened Glenn's Wagon Shop, manufacturer of fine wagons and buggies.

Here's the Sanborn Fine Insurance map of 1883 showing the location of the wagon shop --- and the outline of the original Glenn home to the northeast. Keep in mind Chariton streets were renamed after 1883. 

Mrs. Gasser did indeed die in her fine old home. After her death, it served for a time as home to a couple of small businesses, then was purchased for demolition so that the current apartment complex could be built.

Bids for the demolition project were solicited during January of 1983 and during August of 1984, bits and pieces salvaged from the home were sold at a public consignment auction. The following description lifted from the sale bill published in The Herald-Patriot of Aug. 23 will give you some idea of just how grand the old house had been. Mrs. Glen's household goods and many of her personal possessions already had been sold at auction soon after her death.

From Mae Gasser House --- Over 100 years old when torn down. All interior contents including marble fireplace and lavatories, light fixtures including brass chandeliers, walnut curved staircase, solid doors with engraved brass hardware and etched glass, old cabinets, large 7-by-9-foot oil painting, old furniture, old books, leaded beveled glass window and much more.

Mrs. Gasser had held onto most of the lot on which her father's wagon shop had been located and that was sold to the city of Chariton for use as a parking lot. Her principal beneficiary was First Baptist Church, a congregation she had been a part of since birth, but thanks to her executor, attorney Virgil Meyer, and friend, Lucille Judd, many of her personal belongings, including the photographs used here, were passed on to the Lucas County Historical Society.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

We purchased that large front window at that auction It was installed on the south side of our house, it is beautiful!