Tuesday, April 30, 2013

And the Mystery Artifact is . . . .

Congratulations to reader sandyoppelt!  You are absolutely right!

Our mystery artifact photo (above) shows three irons sitting atop an iron warmer on the stove in our Prairie Stories exhibit:

 The museum has in its collection irons and laundering artifacts, many of which come from the Shelton Laundry.  This laundry business, which operated for more than 50 years, was for a time was the largest in Illinois outside of Chicago.

It grew from humble beginnings when Arah Mae Shelton decided that she would bring in washing to support her family.  Daughter Frances Shelton Moreland recalled that the employees "were a 'melting pot' made up of Africans, Hispanics, a young man from India (who later married into the family), African Americans, and Caucasians."  She said "Mother left us a legacy . . . .  She took an old black pot, a washboard, and an old iron and turned it into a multimillion-dollar business . . ."

Many irons, including self-heating models that run on kerosene, and  other artifacts from the Shelton Laundry assemblage can be seen on display directly across from the stove and irons pictured above.  Come visit us sometime soon and see them all!

No comments:

Post a Comment