How we started 

Taylor Freezers 1885 Earhart Dr
Sandwich IL 60548

Marycrest International University
1607 W 12 St
Davenport, IA 52804

St. Ambrose University
518 W Locust
Davenport, IA 52804

Palmer College of Chiropractic
1000 Brady St
Davenport, IA 52803

Augustana College
639 38 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

H & R Block
1715 W Locust St
Davenport, IA 52804

E & J
200 24 Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

American Institute of Commerce
1801 E Kimberly Rd
Davenport, IA 52807

Rock Island County Farm Bureau
1601 52 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Hempel Pipe and Supply
951 S Rolff St
Davenport, IA 52802

McGladrey & Pullen, LLP
Certified Public Accountants and Consultants
220 North Main St Suite 900
Davenport, Ia 52801

McGladrey & Pullen, LLP
Certified Public Accountants and Consultants
600 35 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

1607 John Deere Rd
East Moline, IL 61244

John Deere Pavilion
1400 River Dr
Moline, IL 61265

John Deere Store
1300 River Drive Suite 100
Moline, IL 61265

Birdsell Chiropractic
1201 5th Ave
Moline, IL 61265

2484 53 St
Bettendorf, IA 52722

17th St and 5th Ave
Moline, IL 61265

2132 E 11 St
Davenport, IA

1422 5th Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Teske Pet & Garden Center
2432 16 St
Moline, IL 61265

Teske Pet & Garden Center
2395 Spruce Hills Dr
Bettendorf, IA 52722

Moline Welding Inc
1801 2 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Barnett's House of Fireplaces
1620 5th Ave
Moline, IL 61265

DeGreve Oil Change
2777 18 St
Bettendorf, IA 52722

DeGreve Oil Change
3400 State St
Bettendorf, IA 52722

DeGreve Oil Change
3900 N Pine
Davenport, IA

DeGreve Oil change
2125 53 St
Moline, IL 61265

DeGreve Oil Change
1618 38 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

DeGreve Oil change
3560 N Brady St
Davenport, IA

1305 5 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Pratt's Antiques
125 E Main St
Aledo, IL 61231

Main St Antiques
114 E Main St
Aledo, IL 61231

Conner Co
PO Box 888
East Moline, IL 61244

Kimball Cleaners
308 SW 5th Ave
Aledo, IL 61231

Williams Studio
New Windsor, IL 61465

Andalusia, IL 61232

Hideaway Plastics
1801 17 St
PO Box 379
Viola, IL 61486

Deer & Co Credit Union
3950 38 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

2018 4 Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

Walcott Trust & Savings Bank
101 W Bryant St
PO Box 108
Walcott, IA 52773

Mississippi Laser
7700 47 St
Milan, IL 61264

Longs Carpet
4200 11 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

Roth Pump
Box 4330
Rock Island, IL 61201

Hughes Telephone
1117 Blackhawk Rd
Rock Island, IL 61201

ASAP Equipment
4730 44 St

Taylor Garages
Airport Rd
Milan, IL 61264

Davenport thinks cycle on upswing again

By Tory Brecht, Dispatch/Argus Staff writer

Perched on the far-eastern tip of Iowa -- where the Mississippi runs east to west -- Davenport was a magnet for early settlement of the state.

Click here for
larger view.
Photo courtesy of Davenport Public Library
Horse-drawn trolley tracks converge at 3rd and Brady streets in downtown Davenport at the turn of the century. In the distance is the railroad approach to the Government Bridge.
Dubuque was settled first, and Des Moines quickly grew larger, but the river city can boast many firsts -- both in the state and the nation.

The first commercial radio and television stations in the state broadcast from Davenport as WOC. The city boasted the state's first hospital, Mercy, and the first municipal art gallery. Phoebe Sudlow became the first woman high school principal in the nation, and Lock and Dam 15 became the largest roller dam in the country.

Like its Quad-Cities counterparts, the origins of Davenport are tied to the river.

Click here for larger view.
D.D. Cosgrove, bishop of Davenport. In 1903 Rev. Cosgrove called Davenport ``the wickedest city of its size in America.''
According to historian and author William Roba, the land that was to become Davenport was purchased by Antoine LeClaire, a former Indian interpreter, and two other investors. The group bought a site located between present-day Harrison and Warren streets for $1,750 in 1836, naming the fledgling settlement Davenport, after Col. George Davenport.

Within a year, it had 90 settlers. By 1850, that number had swelled to 1,848. Roba wrote that the river stimulated the economic growth of the city. Steamboats ran between March and November and by 1840, 20 boats of more than 150-ton cargo capacity were in regular service north of St. Louis with goods and passengers embarking in Davenport.

Click here for larger view.
Photo courtesy of Davenport Public Library
A rooftop view of the Brady Street hill and Palmer Colege, circa 1920.
In the 1850s, a wave of European settlers, many Germans, came to Davenport. They were drawn by the intersection of rail and river transportation that made the city a hub in what was then called "The West."

The 1850s were heady days for the young city, according to Mr. Roba, with 50 new commercial buildings, two iron foundries, two steam-boiler plants, two agricultural-implement firms, a pair of carriage-making shops, six sawmills, four flour mills, three furniture factories, a plow business and various other factories. The population that decade rose from 1,840 to 11,267 in 1860.

The city was also a bastion of education. Iowa College, which would later be relocated and renamed Grinell, was established in 1848. The eventual medical department of the University of Iowa was also once housed in Davenport as the College of Physicians and Surgeons of the Upper Mississippi.

Click here for larger view.
Photo courtesy of Davenport Public Library
The view looking west along Davenport's 2nd Street from Brady during the 1880s.
The large ethnic German population had a profound effect on the city's growth, Mr. Roba said. A predominantly German neighborhood of immigrants from the Schleswig-Holstein area sprang up to the west of the downtown business area. German language schools, newspapers and theaters accompanied the new immigrants, as well as progressive political thought.

The Germans were among the staunchest abolitionists, urging the citizenry to support John Brown and other radical slavery opponents. As the Germans became naturalized citizens, they emerged as a powerful voting block, courted by Whigs, Democrats and the newly formed Republican parties.

Davenport played a key role in Iowa's participation in the Civil War.

Historian Roald Tweet of Augustana College wrote that because of its location on the Mississippi and because the telegraph only reached that far, the city became the major collection point for Iowa troops and the emergency location of state government. Five troop camps, including the largest in the state, Camp McClellan, were established in the city.

Post-war prosperity was evident in Davenport with the construction of ornate Victorian mansions on the bluffs overlooking the river. The population grew to 23,830 by 1885, and fire and police departments were established along with street cars, sewers and water works. St. Ambrose Seminary, soon to offer college classes and eventually become a university, was established in the 1880s as well.

But the mansions on the hill belied the harsh living conditions of the city's working poor. Many of these workers were newly arrived immigrants living in tenement houses and paper shacks on the riverfront, according to Mr. Roba. The riverfront was also home to pool halls, houses of prostitution and taverns.

Hard-drinking Davenporters fought the state's effort to prohibit alcohol in 1884. The city leaders refused to ban the sale of booze, making Davenport the only Iowa city with free-flowing liquor.

But that was to end with the arrival of World War I. Fearing enlisted men and civilian workers at the arsenal getting drunk and disorderly on the Davenport riverfront, the federal government ordered the all "saloons and bawdy houses" within a half mile of the arsenal to close within 36 hours. The order resulted in the closure of 48 bars and 27 retailers downtown.

Historian Tweet wrote that as Davenport prospered in the first quarter of the 20th century, city leaders turned to aesthetic improvements. The muddy riverbank was cleared and cleaned in 1911, with the help of the newly created Davenport Levee Improvement Commission. The commission created LeClaire Park, brought in ferry service and a riverfront swimming pool. The Tri-Cities Symphony was founded in Davenport in 1916 and the Davenport Art Gallery opened its doors in 1925.

The 1920s brought another economic and building boom, said Mr. Tweet. The city's skyline began to form, with the construction of commercial structures like the Kahl Building (1920), the Parker Building (1922), and the Capitol Theatre (1920). Large national department stores also arrived downtown, led by Montgomery Wards, Sears and J.C. Penney.

But the boom time was to bust with the Great Depression years of the 1930s. By 1932, 7,000 people a month were collecting relief payments in Scott County and soup kitchens and homeless shelters began to appear.

One of the few positives of the Depression, wrote Mr. Tweet, was the construction of some large Works Progress Administration projects. These included the construction of Davenport Municipal Stadium (later named John O'Donnell), the Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge (now the I-74 bridge), and the creation of the lock and dam system on the Upper Mississippi; the first lock of which was located between Davenport and Rock Island.

Again, war stepped up the faltering economy with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Davenport manufacturers converted to wartime production, hiring back thousands of the unemployed.

The city also experienced the post-war boom. Oscar Mayer built a Davenport plant in 1946. In addition, Ralston Purina, Independent Biscuit, Nichols Wire and Aluminum and Priester Construction all built plants in West Davenport. By 1959, more than 1,000 homes a year were being constructed and 1956 brought the Interstate highway network to Davenport, assuring it would retain its stature as a transportation hub.

Although the economy kept humming and the population swelled to 89,000 in 1960, Mr. Tweet said the 1960s and '70s marked the beginning of the end for downtown retail. Shopping centers on the fringes of the city opened, along with drive-in theaters and restaurants. Car-owning residents no longer needed to go downtown to get goods.

By the end of the `70s, the good times seemed over for both the downtown and local business and industry, Mr. Tweet wrote. The start of the 1980s did little to ease those fears. The farm crisis hit hard, idling 35,000 workers throughout the Quad-Cities and closing the Caterpillar Plant on the city's north side. Downtown, Petersens and Woolworth closed shop.

"Closed stores, boarded-up windows and deteriorating buildings gave the appearance of a war zone," Mr. Tweet wrote.

But like they had so many times in the past, the reports of Davenport's demise were greatly exaggerated. Both local government officials and citizens interested in improving the once-thriving city, feel the beginnings of a turnaround in the 1990s is only a precursor to a great start in the new millennium.

"This sounds pretty clicheic, but Davenport is at a crossroads," said Dr. Michael Giudici, vice president of Rejuvenate Davenport. "The city had been deteriorating for the last 30 years. We are perhaps turning a corner now. We're doing a better job of attracting quality businesses to Davenport and our city council is trying new things."

Dr. Giudici and other members of Rejuvenate, a non-profit corporation dedicated to improving the city, believe downtown needs special attention.

"We have a good group of people behind an ambitious but responsible plan for downtown," he said. "We've seen the creation of the Kahl education center, the Radisson Hotel, the Mid-American building and the creation of pocket parks and green spaces. Many things have happened, but we haven't reached a critical mass where it's self-sustaining. That's going to take some time and money."

Jim Pierce, Davenport's city administrator, said the city council is prepared to put some time and money into downtown renewal.

"We have an extremely exciting few years ahead of us as reflected in the city council's goals," he said. "We have a long list of ambitious projects that represent an opportunity to improve the city's quality of life."

Two of the top goals on the council's annual hit list include further riverfront development, including renovation of John O'Donnell Stadium, and downtown development. The construction of a new downtown art museum heads the development list, along with new parking facilities and a number of other projects, Mr. Pierce said.

"We anticipate we will continue to see positive developments in business, housing and industry," he said. "We will also see an upturn in the city's population in the 2000 census, which reflects the community's growth."

Copyright 1999, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.