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A jump into the past

Previously named, Oaktown, the Main brothers established their box factory in 1904 and in 1913 the village was named Karnak. It was given this Egyptian name which meant "land of milk and honey.

Gus Bartleson and his sons from Grand Chain, IL owned almost all of the timber in the Karnak area.  Mr. Bartleson sold several thousands of acres of both farmland and White Tupelo timberland.  It was the timber turned into wood containers and boxes that helped build the village of Karnak. The brothers began by manufacturing fruit jar containers and then White Tupelo egg cases.  


The Main brothers were strong competitors with the Chicago Mill and Lumber Company, both vying for the egg carton business.   The brothers’ business evolved with the times and began manufacturing wire-bound boxes or crates.


Over 250 men and women were employed by the Main Brothers Box and Lumber Company.  In addition to the box and lumber business, the Main Brothers erected a large two story hotel for the convenience of their transient employees and visitors.

Fast forward to 2016 Located right next to the Tunnel Hill State Trail, tent and RV campers will have the luxury of staying in a campground with restroom, picnic table, grill, and dump station facilities.


Need something to do? Ride the bike trail or hike two miles to the Henry Barkhausen  Wetlands Center, a nature center and natural history museum of the Cache River Wetlands.  There are many exhibits, activities and a film about the Wetlands.


Information about camping at the MAIN BROTHERS CAMPGROUND is available at the Karnak Village Hall, along with tourist information on local and regional sites.  You can call:  618-634-9311 or email:

Written by Mike Scott

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