a little this led to a little that and so on...

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10/07/2008

2 minutes in the mind of JB and how she learns trivia and other useless information, that interests her:

I saw an old photo (from a site an innmate told me about 6 mo's). Echos from the past.

It showed the Clinch River, from days gone by. 

I remembered my Master Naturalist Training where we discussed lotic and lentic ecosystems...which led me to learn that mussels are a great indicator of the health of a stream. Learning that the health of the Clinch River is now coming back, as they do much testing and introducing mussels back into the river which was all but annihilated by the Clinch River Reactor.  It has more endangered mussels than any other river in America.

And from that I recalled that this was a great pearl river in it's hey day. that there was a "gold rush" of sorts to get to these very valuable pearls.  Selling a single pearl for $50 or $100 way back when. 

And from that, I considered the statement about "Mother of Pearl" and how the discarded mussel shells were sent off to a "pearl button factory" which as a child I found ultra beautiful. Nowadays we have plastic and other materials for buttons that have taken the place of the "Mother of Pearl button"

And then I am led to the history of the Mother of Pearl button, as I wondered where they were made...and lo and behold, the capital of the mother of pearl buttons is none other than an innmates town, who has been on this forum and the old forum before it since I first joined: Muscatine IOWA!

and the rest, as they say, is history. Now you know as well. Thanks for traipsing along my journey, each link explains what I found out.

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10/07/2008

Arks I saw your area in my google search! 

Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

We had a big mussel shell button industry here (and they found quite a few pearls) in the long ago. The river that flows by our town still has mussels but they don't get as big as they used, we think because of all the herbicides and pesticides used on the farm fields now, that get washed into the river every time it rains.

The button "factories" weren't much bigger than a garden tool shed, but we had a lot of them. The last remaining one was dismantled a few years ago and the entire little factory was rebuilt inside our local museum, saving an important part of our history.

When the river is low here you can walk the banks and still see piles of mussel shells with holes in them where they drilled out the "blanks" for making the buttons. AND, the workers on my guesthouse project found one of the old mother of pearl buttons a few weeks ago when they digging out behind my building.

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All saints can do miracles, but few of them can keep hotel. ~ Mark Twain

 

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

That is neat!

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