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BY MIKE AVITT
I will continue last week’s article as I found more information in the Mount Ayr Journal newspaper.
The Chung family operated a steam laundry in Mt. Ayr, beginning in 1914. I followed the story until 1917 and I lost the trail. Then, in March 1919, I got my last hit for Bow Chung. Bow had resigned from the laundry about January 1, 1919, but the owner at the time was the Lamoni Steam Laundry. Messrs Wildey and Stoft of Lamoni bought the chinese laundry about January 1 and upgraded the equipment. However, business declined and the operation was moved to Lamoni in March 1919. I assume Bow went back to the steam laundry in Creston.
More research revealed how much competition there was in 1919. Delivery trucks had come into being and the Lamoni Steam Laundry was running a truck to Mt. Ayr. Both pickup (on Tuesday) and delivery (on Friday). And there were three Mount Ayr clothiers advertising for customers to drop off their laundry at that location. One clothier advertised “Weems” would do the laundry. I don’t know where that would be.
I know some people had washing machines in their homes but I don’t know what percentage. Before electric machines, homemakers could buy hand-agitated machines.
C. V. L. Thompson had run a dry cleaning and tailor business throughout these years. The Perry Dress Club, a dry cleaners and clothing store, opened in 1921. Brady and Mike Beaman opened another dry cleaners in 1930.
The Perry Dress Club had a long run. They were burned out of their building at 109 S. Fillmore in early 1927. In late 1927, they erected a new building at 105 W. Monroe, the current location of Dick’s Barber Shop. In 1947, Mr. and Mrs. Earl Perry sold out to Mr. and Mrs. George Farmer.
Mount Ayr’s first laundromat was built in 1959 for Norman Barker of Winterset. Barker sold the business to Howard Nichols in 1963. In 1968, Mr. Nichols sold the laundry to Joe Haineline.
Mr. Haineline sold the business to Loy and Mary Meyer in 1977. Mary Meyer closed the laundromat in 1990. There was another laundry business in the alley behind the Odd Fellows building. I don’t know when it opened but it closed about 2005. I remember the owner being a man named Carlson.
The last dry cleaning business closed in 1976, shortly after the owner, George Jaskson, passed away. It was located at the same address as Perry Dress Club, 109 S. Fillmore.
Fairway Cleaners at 105 W. Monroe closed in, most likely, 1963 when Dick and Theanna Simpson bought the building.