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The Lure of the Pearl Button with Robyn Stoller
St. Croix Pearl Button Factory workers on pile of shells
The story of freshwater mussels and the pearl button industry in St. Croix and Mississippi river valleys
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, more than a lumber boom was occurring in the St. Croix River valley. A pearl button boom was also underway, employing thousands of ‘clammers’ and button factory workers who labored in the business of making buttons and decorative elements for jewelry and watches. The pearl button industry was short-lived. Advances in plastics technology and mussel over-harvesting led to its early demise but its history is amazing and includes unique stories of ... view more »