Muscatine, Iowa

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Muscatine is a city in Muscatine County, Iowa, United States. The population was 22,697 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Muscatine County[1]. The name Muscatine is unusual in that it is not used by any other city in the United States.[2]

Muscatine is the principal city of the Muscatine Micropolitan Statistical Area (2000 census population 53,905), which includes all of Muscatine and Louisa counties.



Muscatine began as a trading post founded by representatives of Colonel George Davenport in 1833. Muscatine was incorporated as Bloomington in 1839, but the name was changed to reduce mail delivery confusion as there were several Bloomingtons in the Midwest. Before that, Muscatine had also been known as "Casey's Woodpile".

The name Muscatine is believed by some to be named after the Mascouten native American tribe.[2] The Mascoutins were driven out of Michigan in approx 1642 and assumedly absorbed into the Foxes and Sac tribes by the early 19th century.[3]:66 In 1819 Muscatine Island was known as Mascoutin Island. An alternative theory is that it is derived from a Siouan term meaning "Fire Island". William Williams, who was present when the town changed its name in 1849, reported in his journal that "Muscatine in English is Fire Island" in his list of Sioux Indian names.[4]

On May 25, 1849, Maj. William Williams visited Muscatine and provided a brief description in his journal:[4]

—Maj. William Williams

A button company was founded in 1884 by a German immigrant named J.F. Boepple, producing buttons by punching them out of clam shells harvested from the Mississippi River. Muscatine was known as the "Pearl Button Capital of the World." Hole-punched clam shells can still be found along the riverfront.

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