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In the early years of the twentieth century, the lumber industry as a whole faced a serious downturn. Vast areas of virgin forests had been clearcut to supply timber, but even with replanting, trees of a viable size would take generations to regrow. The timber industry’s might was waning, and all timber companies were left with was sawdust.
Travel through Laurel’s Historic District, and you’ll see Catherine Gardiner’s vision. It was her husband’s decision to move to Mississippi, but once here, she worked beside, not behind, him to make our City Beautiful a wonderful place to call home.
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Not all of Laurel’s growth, or her accomplishments, can be attributed to our Iowa men. Some of our greatest and most enduring successes were homegrown, and their legacies (and relations) still live on in Laurel today.
By folding community and family life into the unruliness of the traditionally male-dominated lumber camps, Eastman Gardiner gave their workers a home, albeit one on wheels, and created a completely different way of doing business.