The Rum River is home to unique treasures and this summer's drought has created low, clear water, ideal for treasure hunting. Seizing this opportunity, local teenage brothers Eli and Ethan are finding a myriad of historic items on the river bottom. The boys have been scouring the river by canoe. River currents push their craft at just the right pace to allow for a good scanning of the river bottom for anything out of the ordinary. They can see up to five feet down, which isn't the norm for a river that does often have the color of rum. Sightings include thousands of clam shells, rocks (some as big as refrigerators), and fish of all sorts (bass, northern, bluegill, redhorse suckers, and more). The real excitement is spotting something brown, aged, and not a natural shape.
A few of the items found include…
A 1950's Ford pickup tailgate. The boys disappointedly reported they were unable to find the rest of the truck.
Four Weymann's smokeless tobacco ceramic jars from the early 1900's or maybe late 1800's. This company was the predecessor to Copenhagen. Why the jars were so abundant in the river is unknown.
There's a Burnett's Cocoaine bottle, likely from 1900-05. This product contained no opiates but instead was a hair treatment apparently trying to capitalize on the success of "coco-" named products like Coca-Cola.
They found a small bottle emblazoned "Sperm Sewing Machine Oil." It dates from sometime before 1970, when sperm whale hunting was outlawed. Sperm whale oil production was huge in the 1850's, and it was expensive stuff.
There's a glass Palmolive shampoo bottle from sometime between 1898 and 1916. Other assorted bottles without clear markings are in the mix.
More information about the Rum River Watershed Partnership is available at www.millelacsswcd.org under "watershed plans." The group is in its first year of operations and project accomplishments will be posted here as they occur. Landowners wishing for financial or technical help doing water quality projects can reach out to their local contact listed on the website. Check out the full article in the Anoka County Union Herald on August 23rd