Surprising Connections: Travelers Dee and Lee Anderson Make Historical
Connection While Visiting Muscatine
By Margaret Stadtwald (Muscatine Journal)
In April of this year, Dee and Lee Anderson, retired and started making
plans to sail the length of the Mighty Mississippi. Boaters since the
1980s, the couple arranged to travel down the river starting from their
home port near Lake City, Minnesota, on their Lord Nelson Victory Tug, the
Jack Robert (which they named for their fathers).
As the Andersons traveled down the river, they learned that Lock and Dam
Seventeen had closed on October 13th due to flooding. Looking for a place
to stay while they waited for the water to recede, they discovered the
Muscatine Marina and chose to harbor there. Though not listed in their
travel literature, they found the marina the perfect place to dock. "This
is a great little Marina with great access to the waterfront," stated Lee.
Since the two had plenty of time to explore Muscatine, the Andersons went
into downtown to see some of the sights. Of particular interest, they
visited the National Pearl Button Museum @ History and Industry Center,
where Museum Director Terry Eagle gave them a guided tour.
While learning about the pearl button industry in Muscatine, the Andersons
discovered a surprising connection to their hometown. Back in Lake City,
the pair had seen the Lake Pepin Pearl Button Company (now an antique store
with some historical displays). They assumed it had created buttons
locally, but never investigated it. However, through their talk with Eagle,
they learned that the factory actually harvested clams locally and cut out
blanks, which they shipped down the river to Muscatine for finishing. Both
Dee and Lee felt amazed to find this link with their home, as well as the
larger history it contributed to. As Lee put it, "This town has a great
history . . .. It's as big as the gold rush!"
Along with diving into Muscatine's history, the Andersons also had several
chances to check on Muscatine's restaurant scene. The two met Mike "Boonie"
Kleist who treated them to dinner at his son's new establishment, Skinny's
Barbeque, as well as drinks at Wine Nutz on their back porch, which Lee
described as having a view worthy of a post card picture. Always looking to
try something new, the Andersons have also gotten meals from Boonie's
itself, as well as Elly's Tea and Coffee and Mamma Mia, an Italian restaurant.
Though the Anderson's never dreamed of stopping in Muscatine, their
unexpected trip has proved a truly enjoyable outing for them. "This is a
wonderful town," said Dee. "The . . . people are so welcoming and anxious
While their visit came to an end at the end of last week when the flood
waters receded, the Andersons will never forget their stop in Muscatine. As
they continue down the river, they look forward to running into more new