The ABCs of Lowell History: S is for Scott Family

The Lowell Area Historical Museum is offering a weekly feature to explore local history. This week, museum staff is telling us about the Scott Family. Mabel Scott opened Lowell’s first beauty salon. To learn more about Lowell history, visit the museum website to explore its collection of local artifacts and records.


Joseph and Mabel Scott married in 1916 and after the birth of their first son Bertram “Bud,” Joseph went off to the Great War. After returning home the family grew by one when son Warner was born in 1920.

Joseph never was able to lead a healthy life because he had contracted influenza while in the Navy. The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 spread through military camps and took many young men immediately and many like Joseph just never regained their health. When he died in 1929, it was said that his life “has been a sacrifice upon the altar of his country. The sickness which took him away was only a further development of the sufferings he endured during his service in the World War.” He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery with full military honors by the American Legion.

Mabel Scott opened Lowell’s first beauty salon, The Vanity Shoppe. She brought fashionable and modern beauty practices to Lowell. She used the first ‘Marcel Iron’ in Lowell. Having your hair “Marcelled” was very popular and right on the cutting edge of fashion. Marcelling was a hair style technique created by hot curling tongs used to create a curl into the hair similar to a finger wave. Marcelled hair was popular in the 1920s,

In 1937, Mabel opened her new beauty salon on the west of the bridge where the Main Street Inn is today. “Extreme good taste mark the decoration and furnishing of the reception room and the operating room has private booths and up to date equipment.”

Mabel also used the first “hair permanent” machine in Lowell. She provided for her family and was generous to the community. She helped out by offering “a free permanent” as a raffle drawing prize for community fund raisers. Mabel served in the Auxiliary for the American Legion. She served as president, overseeing events such as Armistice Day Dinner. Mabel honored her husband’s memory by serving in the Women’s Relief Corp. One way she served was through coordinating rides to the cemetery on Memorial Day.

Mabel Scott on her graduation day

When Mabel was growing up not all girls could go to high school. Her own family couldn’t afford to have more than one daughter away from the home. When Mabel failed Latin she decided to quit school so that her sister could go to school. She only had one year left. At the age of 81 she went back to school and received her high school diploma.

Joseph and Mabel Scott left a legacy for future Lowell residents of patriotism, consideration of others, determination and perseverance.

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