OK ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for another impromptu Iowa geography/history lesson, courtesy of the Iowa Travel Advisor and the Sawmill Museum of Clinton Iowa. Iowa was once home to the largest lumber industry in the world.This may be something that your 8th grade teacher attempted to penetrate your consciousness as you struggled to fight the drowsiness and drool effect of 2 peanut butter/jelly sandwiches at lunch or were deeply immersed in a subversive note-passing operation.If that’s the case, then here is your second chance!
The lumber industry flourished in Clinton in the 1850’s as the result of several factors. The town’s geographic location on the mighty Mississippi River and its proximity to a growing railroad network,contributed to its success.As the demands of the Civil War and the ensuing “western ho!!” pattern of settlement occurred, the insatiable appetite for lumber followed and here were the Clinton entrepreneurs willing to build sawmills that would receive the huge log rafts of fallen timber from the forests of Minnesota and Wisconsin.Millions and millions of dollars ware made in this fair city as long as the lumber came floating downstream, but ,alas, in a recurring theme of industrial America,someone forgot to plant new trees up north and thus ended the lumber boom in Clinton!!
Fortunately we have museums and these museums exist to document our past history, boondoggles and all, and rekindle the memory of long ago occupations such as milling and lumberjacking!! The Sawmill Museum attempts to do just that.A specific effort has been made to appeal to the school age children and the museum has done a fine job.I myself was hoping to hear the sound of saws whirring,sawdust flying and the smell of fresh cut lumber and you can do that here one Sunday a month, but for now my imagination was my guide back to yesteryear and you can bet I wasn’t “board”!!!