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posted: 11/12/2012 11:11 AM

Uncle Sam antique returns home to Bartlett

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  • Courtesy of the Bartlett History MuseumBartlett History Museum director Pam Rohleder recently found an antique Uncle Sam on an online auction website that once sat outside Mungerson's Barber Shop on Railroad Avenue until 1970. Rohleder arranged to have the item sent back home to Bartlett, and it's now on display in the museum.

      Courtesy of the Bartlett History MuseumBartlett History Museum director Pam Rohleder recently found an antique Uncle Sam on an online auction website that once sat outside Mungerson's Barber Shop on Railroad Avenue until 1970. Rohleder arranged to have the item sent back home to Bartlett, and it's now on display in the museum.

 
 

A true patriot has returned home to Bartlett, just in time for Veterans Day.

The Bartlett History Museum has on display a handcrafted, wooden Uncle Sam that first stood at Mungerson's Barber Shop, once located at 116 Railroad Avenue, about the time of World War II.

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The Uncle Sam -- which measures 38 inches tall and 12 inches wide and proudly holds a 48-star flag -- was owned by Alex Mungerson, who began operating the barber shop in 1935.

When he died in 1970, his wife, Elsie, gave it to antique lover Julia McNeil, the wife of Bartlett's only physician at the time. McNeil passed the Uncle Sam on to her daughter Nancy, who displayed it every Fourth of July for nearly 20 years at her home in Virginia.

The memorabilia was long thought a piece of Bartlett's past until museum Director Pam Rohleder spotted it on an online auction site. The product description caught her eye because it mentioned the Uncle Sam was from a Bartlett barbershop.

When Rohleder learned it was from Mungerson's she was even more interested because the museum didn't have any items from the business.

"It was just a great piece of Americana and it just really spoke about Bartlett," she said. "I thought it was an interesting piece to have."

When Nancy McNeil heard about the museum's interest, she took the item off the website, stating that it was time for Uncle Sam to go home to Bartlett.

"She was just so gracious about pulling it from the auction," Rohleder said, noting that bidding on the item had already begun.

Rohleder is asking anyone who recalls the Uncle Sam in front of Mungerson's to contact her at (630) 837-0800 and share their memories. She also encourages residents who have items of Bartlett history they wish to donate to contact the museum.

The Uncle Sam will be on display in the museum, located in village hall, 228 S. Main St., throughout the month of November.

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