Every time we take a road trip I end up with a couple of odd bits that I think are fascinating but don’t quite justify an entire blog post. (1) For your amusement and edification I offer two of these today: The shot tower at Dubuque , Iowa My Own True Love went out of…

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The Sawmill Museum at Clinton, Iowa, was our last stop on this year’s Great River Road adventure—and a fitting stop it was. Logging was a recurring theme this year and last year. Beginning in Lake Itasca in Minnesota almost every local historical museum or GRR interpretive center has had at least one panel on logging.*…

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The nineteenth century button industry based on fresh-water mussels was a recurring theme of our ten days on the Great River Road this year. In 1891 a German button manufacturer named John Frederick Boepple opened a button factory in Muscatine, Iowa, after a change in tariff laws caused his business in Germany to fail. Shell…

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