Carl Fisher's Jilted Girlfriend - Gertrude Hassler

Gertrude Hassler, an attractive opera singer was Indianapolis Motor Speedway founder Carl Fisher's girlfriend in the 1906-1908 time frame, right up to the point where he met and wed Jane Watts, an ambitious social-climbing young woman (her birth date is subject to speculation) of relatively humble means. It seems that during the period prior to the Fisher-Watts marriage on October 23, 1909 the two women were not aware of one another. Although Fisher offered her money shortly after his marriage, Hassler was not forgiving.
For whatever reason, she waited over two years before filing a lawsuit where she asked for $500,000, claiming breach of promise to marry. She also asked for an ownership stake in Fisher's company, Prest-O-Lite. This was a palimony suit long before the term was ever used to describe such situations. Ms. Hassler finally received $25,000 for her efforts, an amount she probably could have talked Fisher out of without all the scandal and trouble. Jane Fisher was reportedly humiliated, but this was ameliorated by Carl's attentions and, presumably, his generosity. Carl was a character to be sure, but these are probably the traits that come part and parcel with everything that constitutes a man with his lust for life and his success.

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