Shady Creek Campground
Near Muscatine, Iowa
Today was a beautiful day here on the Mississippi. This morning, we drove about 10-miles into Muscatine to explore their downtown Riverfront Park. The Riverfront includes 3 or 4 green areas that are connected by a long and winding biking/hiking walkway that runs about 5-miles along the Mississippi River. Walking shoes on….ready to explore….we set out heading south. We were treated to the sights and sounds of the river which include barges, trains and wonderful smells.
The walkway is clean and well maintained with plenty of benches where you can sit and quietly contemplate the River. This was one of Mark Twain’s favorite places, he lived here for a time and even wrote about Muscatine’s stunning riverfront sunsets. “I remember Muscatine for its sunsets. I have never seen any on either side of the ocean that equaled them.”
Along the walkway there are fountains and several bronze statues that help to tell the story of Muscatine’s founding and growth.
This is Muscatine’s famous “Mississippi Harvest” bronze by Erik Blome. It is dedicated to the men and women of Muscatine who made this city the Pearl Button capital of the world! Look close and you can see the mussels and clams at the feet of this clamdigger.
The inside of the shells have a pearlized layer that reflects many colors of natural oyster pearls. Back in the late 1800’s a German immigrant moved here to establish a better life. In Germany, he had been a successful button maker so, he looked around Muscatine to find some natural material that he could use to produce buttons here in the states…..he found the perfect, beautiful material inside Mississippi River mussel shells and began harvesting the shells to make buttons…I can only imagine the amount of mussels that man’s poor family must have had to eat! The production and sale of his “Pearl” buttons soon become one of the biggest booms the city has ever seen.
By 1905 Muscatine produced 1.5 billion pearl buttons annually. With nearly 37% of the worlds buttons coming from Muscatine, the town became the undisputed Pearl Button Capital of the World.
Here’s a close-up of the bronze from below.
We walked about 3-miles along the the trail. On the way we met a very knowlegable local man who told us all about Muscatine and the many responsible corporate citizens who help to make the city a great place to live and raise a family. There is a lot more for us to see her in Muscatine.
By noon we were back at our campground and ready for lunch. Today was pasta day with homemade sauce chock full of veggies and chunky ground beef with just enough heat to make it interesting!
The campground is starting to fill-up for the weekend. They say it is filled every weekend of the summer till it closes for the season in October. Guess we were lucky to get a site.
Thanks For Riding Along,