The Billingsley’s Open Dayton’s First Laundry Service in 1929
Taking a moment to remember one of our citizens who has gone on before us. Lou Henderson Billingsley was born June 8, 1893, on Dayton Mountain near the Friendship Church. Lou met her husband John M. Billingsley, when she was a student at the one room schoolhouse on the mountain and he was the teacher.
In 1919, then twenty-six-year-old Lou and her husband moved to Dayton.
Lou and John moved into their home in November of 1923, just two years prior to the Scopes Trial. Their house was later moved across to Main Street from its original location that is now under water from the lake area.
Lou once stated that the main thing she remembered about the events of the Scopes Trial were all the little tents in the outlying area of town where the reporters lived during the trial. It was a circus like atmosphere with folks buzzing all around town that hot July.
John was out of work and was looking for a new business when one day he stayed home to help Lou with the laundry. After seeing how much work was involved in washing the sheets, John decided to start the laundry business.
In 1929, the Billingsley’s started the first laundry service in Dayton. In fact, their very first automobile was a laundry truck which they purchased that same year.
During an interview, Lou was asked what had changed the most during her lifetime. She stated that she saw the first radio, the invention of the automobile and television, but her favorite change was when indoor plumbing came about.
Pictured above, Lou Billingsley celebrating her 90th birthday at the Dayton Church of Christ on June 8, 1983. At the time of the celebration, all six children of her were present along with the 13 grandchildren. Her children are Vera Holloway, Nina Wright, Don Billingsley, Claude Billingsley, Wilma Prater, and Edna Parnell. In addition, Lou had 32 great-grandchildren and 12 great-great grandchildren.
Lou’s husband John Billingsley was born on November 10, 1879, and passed away on November 25, 1956. At almost the age of 102, Lou passed away on April 14, 1995, and was laid to rest next to her husband in the Buttram Cemetery, in Dayton, Tennessee.
May these two fine citizens of our hometown Rest in God’s Peace.
(Photo Courtesy of Cunnyngham Studio Archives)
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