CLINTON — Clinton Sawmill Museum Director Matt Parbs has written a book, available next month, that highlights Clinton’s lumber history.
Parbs authored the “Hidden History of Clinton Iowa”, unearths Clinton’s past from the weight of myth and details the city’s hidden history. The book is set to be released to the public March 23. Parbs said the Hidden History series is available in almost every town. He said the focus of the book is the lumber related era, from 1870-1900.
“It was just going to be taking all of these things that you’ve been working on for six years and just some of them needed expanded, some of them needed shrunk, some of them didn’t make the cut and there’s a lot of new stuff in there,” Parbs said. “The heart of it is kind of to me the Hidden History; part of it is fully explaining the lumber side. Really trying to get at what it really means to be a lumber capital and then really as much as possible seeing the different people that lived in there.”
Arcadia Publishing and The History Press, which is publishing the book, reached out to Parbs in January 2019, requesting he consider writing the book. Parbs finished the book over the summer. The final proof was in mid-January. Parbs said royalties from the book will go to the Sawmill Museum. He also referenced his History and Headlines series in the Clinton Herald, which he said was how the publishing company noticed Parbs.
Parbs said one aspect of publishing the book that intrigued him was the potential to talk about the museum through publishing the book. He is scheduled to be at the Northwestern Illinois Foresters event at the end of March, which will be Parbs’ first official event.
“I don’t know how far it will go but one of the hopes was to try to get them in to different museums along the river in Wisconsin and Minnesota to teach those people about how they’re connected to Clinton, Iowa. That’s multiple chapters of really explaining just really how this little nucleus took over the larger industry.”
Parbs said the most challenging part of the book was finding pictures that were the right size. He believes he spent more time on finding the right pictures for the book than he did on writing the book.
“I think I spent more time on the pictures than I did the written word,” Parbs said. “So many of the pictures that passed our visual test didn’t pass the book’s.”
The paperbook version of the book is listed at $21.99, according to a release from the Arcadia Publishing and History Press. The book is listed as 160 pages.