Carlisle Area Historical Society

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A Couple of Characters

In May of 1925 Sidney Helms and his son Max took a trip down the Mississippi River on a MATTRESS!

Sidney owned a furniture store in Carlisle and he wanted to prove that the Red Cross Kapoc mattress was the best mattress made. The mattress/raft traveled from Keokuk to St. Louis, over 202 miles. Nation-wide publicity was given in magazines and leading newspapers. Moving pictures were shown by Fox news (I didn't know there was a FOX news in 1925). Demand for news and photos came from as far away as Berlin, Germany!

           Max and Sidney on the river.

Max Sr. had a son Max Jr. (Sonny) who went on to become famous for another reason. He was a very well-known and successful race car driver. He was killed at the county fair in Bloomfield. Have you ever noticed the boulder at the playground area of North Park. It is a memorial to Sonny Helms. Another of Carlisle's colorful characters!