""Pearl of the Mississippi"" Muscatine by deecat

Muscatine Travel Guide: 20 reviews and 57 photos

Muscatine, Iowa

Muscatine, Iowa, is a "must see" river town. Muscatine has about 24,000 people who live between 2 river bluffs along the Mississippi. The area is spread out; however, we concentrated on the historic downtown district.

While in this lovely community, we discovered that Mark Twain was a one-time Muscatine resident, & he wrote, "I remember Muscatine for its sunsets. I have never seen any on either side of the ocean that equaled them."

No other place has the name of Muscatine. Most people believe that the town was named after a small band of Indians who lived in the area during the early 1800's, the Mascoutins.

Muscatine has been a center for the European fur-trading industry; then the lumber industry, &, of course, the button industry (made from the mussel shells fished from the Mississippi River.

Companies of note that still make Muscatine their home are: H.J. Heinz Company {vinegar, gravy, & ketchup]; IPSCO [leading producer of steel plate & pipe}; Monsanto [Herbicides]; & Musco {sports-lighting technology]' among many others.

While in the town & surrounding area, I would suggest that you see:

1. Muscatine Art Center {Laura Musser Mansion & Stanley Art Gallery]

2. Muscatine History & Industry Center , formerly the Button Museum{it preserves the button industry history]

3. Pine Creek Grist Mill/Melpine Schoolhouse/Wildcat Den State Park [see Separate tips]

4. Musser Public Library/Oscar Grossheim Collection [50,000 glass plate negatives from turn of the century]

5. Great River Road [Charles Young, a native of Muscatine, devoted much of his life to the creation of the Great River Road, & it was his design for the Great River Road's green & white signs which bear the pilot's wheel ]

6. Pearl Plaza [shopping & restaurants right in the heart of this historic district]

7. Lock & Dam 16

8. Muscatine County Courthouse

9. Mississippi Harvest Sculpture and Riverside Park

From our point of view, Muscatine is one of Iowa's under-recognized "gems"

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Mississippi River Town, Deep into Restoration, Friendly, Progressive
  • Cons:A week after we visited, a tornado hit Muscatine!
  • In a nutshell:A city steeped in history; saves it past; but moves forward.
  • Last visit to Muscatine: May 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (17)

Comments (23)

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Oct 17, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    Back for another visit to this excellent page. From all that you have described here and the wonderful photos, Muscatine certainly looks like the type of place I'd love to visit. Great job!!

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Jul 12, 2010 at 11:01 PM

    It's been interesting reading about the pearl button's. Never knew about them until your page!

  • jillzi's Profile Photo
    Jul 6, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    Wow, what another great location in Iowa. The history of the buttons is quite unique. Love the revitalization, too. Your tips are extraordinary.

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Jan 24, 2010 at 8:43 AM

    Love the historic courthouse, river views, harvest festival scultpure, mill, school house and the state park is wonderful. I think we like the same things:) Excellent page!

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Dec 20, 2009 at 11:17 AM

    I love visiting smalltown USA with you Dee. Muscatine's button story's great - Broome here in West Aust was the marine pearlshell button capital until plastic took over - Muscatine's fate too I guess. leyle

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Dec 9, 2009 at 11:41 AM

    Hello, Dee! Thanks for your wonderful story about Muscatine.... It would be great to travel to that area...><><><><

  • tiabunna's Profile Photo
    Apr 20, 2009 at 10:13 PM

    A very pleasant looking town and I enjoyed your enthusiastic descriptions and photos, Dee. What a surprise to find the former centre of the world's button industry here!

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Mar 18, 2009 at 2:27 PM

    Finally found one of your pages I hadn't seen before! Sweet little grist mill and school house. Town hall looks like Providence city hall, believe it or not. Nice page!

  • sourbugger's Profile Photo
    Feb 17, 2009 at 12:00 PM

    very interesting page you have put together here, regards. sb.

  • nickandchris's Profile Photo
    Aug 12, 2008 at 7:40 AM

    Terrific page, quite fascinating, particularly about the pearl button industry.


“Yesterday is a cancelled check; tomorrow, a promissory note; today is the only cash you have; spend it wisely. Kay Lyons”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 0 2 4
Forum Rank:
0 1 2 6 2

Badges & Stats in Muscatine

  • 17 Reviews
  • 56 Photos
  • 0 Forum posts
  • 5,649PageViews

Have you been to Muscatine?

  Share Your Travels  

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (5)