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Privately owned model at museum

California mill shows lumber production in 1920s

A model of the California-Michigan Lumber Company's Pino Grande mill in California is on display at The Sawmill Museum in Clinton, Iowa. It is on temporary loan.
A model of the California-Michigan Lumber Company's Pino Grande mill in California is on display at The Sawmill Museum in Clinton, Iowa. It is on temporary loan.

CLINTON, Iowa – There is a special visitor at The Sawmill Museum right now – Twin Mills at Deer Creek Sawmill.

This award-winning model shows a 1920s sawmill and lumber yard, courtesy of Bill Michaels. A co-host of Dwyers and Michaels on 97X radio in the Quad Cities, he has put the model on exhibit out of his possession for the first time.

The display shows the California-Michigan Lumber Co.'s Pino Grande mill area in California. Built from a kit, many hours of time were put into it. Visitors will see 18 structures. All the working parts of a mill make up the exhibit, even logs in the water ready to go up the log haul. And in case of a log jam, the dynamite shack is at hand.

Visitors can get into the fun of it all by trying one of the scavenger hunts directed at the model. Looking for particular parts will help to ensure nothing of the intricate display is missed.

Another exhibit is visiting the museum this month and will be on display until the end of November. This traveling exhibit from the National Museum of Forest Service gives details of what is mined from national forests.

Children and adults will find these and other displays both fun and instructive. There is a child-size lumberjack camp to look over, based on an 1888 camp. Looking at the log cabins, it does not take much imagination to summon the feeling of being in the Northwoods.

Activities for the family can be found there. They will learn what lumberjacks do in a matching game or by scavenger hunt, learn about the forest while working a floor puzzle, and can even play the museum's board game. In this, players need to collect what it takes for a tree to be healthy. That means watching out for those nasty storms and droughts.

Sturve Mill promises to be entertaining. Here visitors can follow lumber from its original state to a finished project on a piece of furniture.

Another option is to visit the museum on a sawing day. A restored 1920s sawmill churns out lumber from logs. Be warned, this is noisy business. The next one is at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 3.

Family Days are from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturdays at the sawmill museum. This month the activity theme is Halloween. Games and crafts, and a train ride around the grounds, are part of the adventure. The 20-minute ride costs $2. The Midwest Lumber Train runs when the weather is above 50 degrees and there is no rain.

A drive to Clinton can be a step back into time to the days of lumberjacks. Just listen to the saw purr.

If you go

What: The Sawmill Museum

Where: 2231 Grant St., Clinton, Iowa

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, and 1 to 6 p.m. Monday

Cost: $4 for adults, 13 and older; $3 for children 4 to 12; and free for children 3 and younger. On Sundays and Mondays in October, admission is $2 per person.

Information: Go to or call 563-242-0343

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