Quad-Cities Basics
Health and Education
Things to do

List of Advertisers


Brad Deery Motors

Brad's Used Parts
1035 West Kimberly Road
Davenport IA

Clarion Hotel
Colman Florist
2754 12th Street
Rock Island IL

Courtesy Car City
Crowe Ford
1041 S State St
Geneseo IL

Cy's Rental
312 East Locust St
Davenport IA

Da Varah Salon & Spa
1616 5th Avenue
Moline IL

Davenport Boat & Marine
1414 S. Stark St.
Davenportq IA

E.H. Schroeder Insurance Company
3424 18th Avenue
Rock Island IL

Economy Inn
1191 19th Street
Moline IL

Estate Wines
Esterdahl Mortuary & Crematory, Ltd.
6601 - 38th Avenue
Moline IL

Q-C Trivia: Why was that zeppelin flying over Davenport?

Dred Scott lived here

In 1833-34, John Emerson claimed a 320-acre piece of land that is now known as Bettendorf. Legend has it that Emerson built a cabin near the present-day Interstate 74 bridge and placed his slave, Dred Scott, in the cabin to stake his claim.

After the closing of Fort Armstrong, Emerson, who was the post surgeon, was transferred to Fort Snelling (St. Paul, Minn., today) and let Antoine LeClaire rent the land. When Emerson left the army, he moved back to his land and began building a brick house.

Emerson died on Dec. 29, 1843, before the house was completed. A memorial plaque now stands at that site, on a building at 217 E. 2nd St., Davenport. And his slave, Dred Scott, became the central figure in a Supreme Court case that hastened the onset of the Civil War.

A square deal

John W. Spencer was an early pioneer in the Rock Island area, arriving in 1828. Spencer Square was dedicated to him in 1890. The land was sold in 1954 and now holds the U.S. Post Office and Federal Building. His second house was located on 16th Avenue and 19th Street.

Holding the fort

Fort Armstrong was constructed around 1816 and burned in 1855.

Hurt like the Dickens

Francis J. Dickens, the third son of British novelist Charles Dickens, was buried in Riverside Cemetery, Moline, a short distance from the Deere family plots, after a sudden illness that was believed to have been brought on by drinking either tainted ice water or a stronger drink.

Poole's room

Mattie Poole was one of Moline's first female shop owners when she opened her art store and china-painting studio in the 1880s.

More nurses than patients

When Moline's City Hospital was dedicated in 1896, it had one matron, two nurses and two student nurses, and served three patients on its first day.

A streetcar named `afire'

Moline's first streetcars were horsedrawn, but with the introduction of electricity in the 1880s, the city's transportation quickly became "electrified."

Moline's first electric streetcars to carry passengers up "the hill" were among the earliest in the nation to negotiate such steep inclines.

On Sept. 26, 1892, an electric streetcar caught fire because of an overload of electric current needed to pull the car up Moline's 15th Street hill. Service was not interrupted in spite of the mishap.

Seems logical

Area Native Americans called Col. George Davenport "Saganosh," which means Englishman.

Stay at our House

Moline's first hotel, the Moline House, was built in 1843 near 1st Avenue and 17th Street.

The first Lutherans

First Lutheran Church, Moline, the first Swedish Lutheran church in the Tri-Cities, was founded in 1859 in the home of the area's second Swedish settler, Carl Johnason.

Something to read

Moline's first public library opened in January 1873, sharing quarters quarters with the post office.

The one and only

For two days, First National Bank of Davenport was the nation's only national bank.

Tough year for bridges

An ice gorge displaced a span of the railroad bridge across the Mississippi River in the spring of 1868. Shortly afterward, a tornado pushed the swing span of this first bridge across the Mississippi into the water.

Don't send the Hindenberg

On August 28, 1929, the famed Graf Zeppelin made a special low-flying trip over Davenport as a salute to the city's large German population.

Play ball!

From the early days, Quad-Citians were avid baseball fans, and a great number of leagues and teams came and went over the years. Davenport was a member of the Northwestern League, the first professional league in the Midwest, as early as 1879.

POWs help out

Many Italian prisoners of war were interned in the Quad-Cities during World War II. They were given a relative measure of freedom and even were assigned various tasks at Rock Island Arsenal.

One final indignity

Shortly after the great warrior Black Hawk's burial, his body was removed from the grave, and his flesh was boiled from the bones in a soapmaking kettle. According to legend, a Dr. Turner and Warren and Jefferson Cox committed this offense and planned to exhibit the skeleton, but the uproar over the grave robbery was so great that this was never done.

Give them a lift

In 1872 the old wooden bridge connecting Davenport and Arsenal Island was replaced by a new Whipple truss bridge near the downstream tip of the island. The double-deck bridge (trains above, wagons below) included a lift span that could be raised by steam power to let steamboats pass. Total cost was just under $1 million.

A capital ship

No riverboat conjures up more vivid memories for Davenporters today than the ferryboat W.J. Quinlan. Riding the Quinlan was more than a leisurely means to get across the river when traffic on the Government Bridge was heavy; it was an excursion, an adventure, the embodiment of a century-long love affair with the river. A fare of 5 cents got one-way passage on the first deck, while an investment of 10 cents secured an afternoon of endless crossings on the second deck.

Have a cigar, Muriel

Cigar manufacturing was the major industry to employ women workers at the turn-of-the-century in Davenport.

Getting off the ground

Before and after World War I, a few daring aviators took to the skies over Davenport. Suburban Island (Credit Island) was used as an airfield until 1916, when a crash deterred its use. An airstrip along Brady Street in the vicinity of the Armory was another popular spot; and another strip paralleled the Mississippi in Bettendorf. Eugene Ely was credited with flying the first plane to Davenport.

Family feuds

The cities of Davenport and Rock Island were competitors from their infancy in the early 1830s. Occasionally, transportation schemes brought the cities together to fight on behalf of the common good -- a fact bemoaned by some and applauded by others.

Boon to the economy

When the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) decided to build its new rolling mill on a 400-acre site east of Davenport in 1946, major concern about postwar unemployment ended. The $30 million Riverside plant employed 2,000 workers when it was completed in the late 1940s.

Drawing immigrants

The success of Deere & Co. and the continued hardworking moral tone of Moline stemmed in part from the active recruitment of industrious immigrants from Germany, Belgium, and Sweden. The company helped supply inexpensive housing and homespun entertainment for the men who came and worked to bring their families to "John Deere Town."

Good prospects

In its earliest days, Prospect Park was privately owned and operated as an amusement park. It eventually became a part of the Moline park system. The rides were removed, and playgrounds and picnic areas were installed.

A day at the opera

Life in Moline in the decade after the Civil War was one of progress and a resurgence of religious dedication. Sunday afternoons were spent at the Wagner Opera House, leisurely strolling, or with friends and neighbors.

Moline's station

Moline's first and only AM radio station, WQUA, opened on Sept. 23, 1946. Celebrities including Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Pat Boone and the McGuire Sisters were interviewed there over the years.

Lending a hand

One of Iowa's most outstanding women, Dr. Jennie McCowen, graduated with honors from the University of Iowa Medical School in 1876. She settled in Davenport in 1880 and began a medical practice that continued until 1921. Dr. McCowen, a social reformer and civic activist in addition to being a physician, helped found the Lend-A-Hand Club in 1887, a place where young women who were living and working away from home could find fellowship and education in a chaperoned environment.

Disastrous fire

Fire destroyed more than eight blocks of buildings in East Davenport, including homes and the Weyerhauser and Denkmann sawmills, on July 25, 1901. The damage was estimated at a loss of $1 million.

Popular new view

-- Locks 15 opened Aug. 16, 1933, and sightseers watched the ships move through during the remaining good-weather months.

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