Monday, November 16, 2009

Did You Know . . .

That Muscatine, Iowa is the pearl button capital of the world?!

My friend, Dawn, and I trekked to Iowa this last weekend to visit Sharon at Sweet Repose and to our surprise, we discovered that Muscatine has a rich history in button making. I couldn't wait to share it with the Floozies!

This quaint little town sits right on the Mississippi on the Illinois border. Love this great little boat.

Here's a pic of the paddle complete with pics of buttons!

And lots of the shops and restaurants carried the button theme.

I loved this great gate.

And I had to bring Sharon a picture frame packed with lots of buttons, including some of pearl. How was I to know when constructing this that these buttons may have been making a great big circle back home (got em from my mother-in-law in Alabama).

Sharon and her business partner call their company White and they are the two white girls, lovers of buttons and all things with rich pasts to tell. The next time you're around Iowa City, take a detour down to Muscatine, a cool little town with a great vibe and some awesome people. Thanks again, Sharon!

10 comments:

Sweet Repose said...

I remember, back in the day, my maternal grandfather punched pearl button blanks in his back yard...everyone had someone in the family that punched button blanks. Our driveways were totally filled with the blanks that didn't pass inspection, they were everywhere, making it great fun for a little girls playing in the yard with her jewels.

My paternal grandmother worked for years in the button factories, making little more than pennies a day sorting buttons. I had huge pickle jars of them to play in at Granny's house...the real pearl necklaces!

I remember seeing the clam boats drift up and down the river, hauling in their great hooks that would grab the clams off the bottom. There is a season now for the harvesting, as several species have been harvested to near extinction.

Yes a rich history in this ol' burg, our pearl button museum chronicles it, very interesting...

Thanks again Kelly for the kudos...see ya in the summer!

Sharon

Tess said...

Wow, All I can think of to say is WOW. What a beautiful boat and the history and the sentiment of the gift that you didn't even realize. Wow!

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

Thank you for sharing this page from history. I am working on a piece called "Pearls of Wisdom" about how it takes three generations of women to end war. I have been collecting my priceless buttons to frame the three generations and I find such Peace as I muddle through making the quilt that narrates my dream for Peace. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

LemonyRenee' said...

Awesome to know, thanks!

bowerbirdz said...

Thanks for sharing this great story. I have some buttons that were made in Muscatine, and I live in Australia!

Floss said...

That is a wonderful history - thanks so much for the details of the past and present of the area. I have a question about my MOP butons - as I collected them in Europe, mainly in the UK, did they come from other sources (perhaps the British Empire) or are they likely to be American too? I would be grateful if anyone in the know could give me some suggestions.

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Who knew there was a pearl button capital of the world period? :-) Now I do.

That frame is absolutely gorgeous. And Two White Girls is the most hilariously clever business name, like, ever. ;-)

Macs said...

nice blog!

macs

http://animalspic.blogspot.com

Nishant said...

I had huge pickle jars of them to play in at Granny's house...the real pearl necklaces!

Work From Home

Anonymous said...

Hi,
My grandmother worked in several button factories in Muscatine. There is actually a lovely button tour and the chamber of commerce has a section on the history of button making in Iowa. At one time they produced over 35 percent of the world's mother of pearl buttons.
Cool huh.

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