Davenport, Iowa: Wikis


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—  City  —
A row of tall buildings in the middle, with a river on the bottom and a blue cloudy sky on top
Downtown Davenport looking across the Mississippi River from Rock Island, Illinois
A flag with the colors red, white, and blue going from top to bottom horizontally. The top left corner reads "1836". In the middle is a stylized blue letter D, with building outlines in the middle and two wavy lines as its bottom.
A circular seal with the text "Seal of the City of Davenport" and "Iowa" around the edge. An eagle is in the middle.
Motto: Working together to serve you
Located on the center south border of a county that is on southern side of the hump on the eastern border of Iowa.
Location of Davenport in Scott County (left) and location of Scott County in the State of Iowa
Coordinates: 41°32′35″N 90°35′27″W / 41.54306°N 90.59083°W / 41.54306; -90.59083Coordinates: 41°32′35″N 90°35′27″W / 41.54306°N 90.59083°W / 41.54306; -90.59083
Country  United States
State  Iowa
County Scott
Settled May 14, 1836
Incorporated January 25, 1839
 - Type Mayor–council
 - Mayor Bill Gluba (NP/D)[1]
 - City 64.9 sq mi (168.2 km2)
 - Land 62.8 sq mi (162.6 km2)
 - Water 2.2 sq mi (5.6 km2)
Elevation 580 ft (177 m)
Population (2008)
 - City 100,827
 Density 1,584.6/sq mi (621.0/km2)
 Metro 376,160 (132nd)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 52801-52809
Area code(s) 563
FIPS code 19-19000
GNIS feature ID 0455799
Website www.cityofdavenportiowa.com

Davenport is a city located along the Mississippi River in Scott County, Iowa, United States. Davenport is the county seat of and largest city in Scott County. As of the 2000 census, the city had a population of 98,359. A 2008 estimate shows the population has increased slightly to 100,827 making it Iowa's third-largest city. Davenport is one of the Quad Cities, along with neighboring Bettendorf and the Illinois cities of Moline, East Moline, and Rock Island. Davenport was founded on May 14, 1836, and was named after Colonel George Davenport, a friend of founder Antoine LeClaire. As of 2009, the mayor is Bill Gluba.

Located approximately half way between Chicago and Des Moines, Davenport sits on the Mississippi River on the border of Iowa and Illinois. The city is prone to frequent flooding due to it lying on the Mississippi River. There are two main universities: Saint Ambrose University and Palmer College of Chiropractic, which is the birthplace of chiropractic and wellness techniques. Several well-known annual music festivals take place in Davenport, including the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, The Mississippi Valley Fair, and the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival, which is dedicated to native Bix Beiderbecke. An internationally known 7-mile (11 km) foot race called the Bix 7 is run during the festival. The city has a Class A minor league baseball team, the Quad Cities River Bandits. Davenport has twenty-seven parks and over 12 miles (19 km) of recreational paths for biking or walking.

Three interstates and two major United States Highways serve the city. The city has seen steady population growth since its incorporation, with an exception being the 1980s, when the city lost residents due to job loss. Davenport has a declining crime rate and a low rate of unemployment. In 2007, Davenport, along with neighboring Rock Island, won the City Livability Award. Notable natives of the city include jazz musician Bix Beiderbecke and NFL running back Roger Craig.



a black and white image of a hefty man looking forty-five degrees to the left
Antoine LeClaire was the primary founder of Davenport

In 1832, Sauk Indian tribe chief Keokuk and United States Army General Winfield Scott signed a treaty to end the Black Hawk War.[2] Antoine LeClaire, who was part French and part Pottawattamie, served as translator. Chief Keokuk gave a generous portion of the land to Antoine's wife, Marguerite LeClaire, who was the granddaughter of a Sac chief.[2] Keokuk stipulated that Antoine build their home on the exact spot where the treaty was signed or forfeit the land. Antoine did so, finishing the Treaty House in the spring of 1833. Davenport was established on May 14, 1836 by Antoine LeClaire, and named after his good friend Colonel George Davenport and incorporated on January 25, 1839.[2]

Davenport became the county seat after four years of effort. In 1837, shortly after Scott County was formed, Davenport and rival neighbor Rockingham both campaigned to become the county seat. The city with the most votes in the February 1838 election would become the county seat.[3] On the eve of the election, Davenporters secured the temporary service of Dubuque laborers so that they could vote in the election and Davenport won. Rockingham supporters did not like this and protested the elections to the territorial governor, who refused to certify the results of the election. A second election was scheduled for the following August. To avoid another import of voters, the governor set a 60-day residency requirement for all voters. Davenport was again the victor by only two votes.[3] A third election was set by the Territorial Legislature for the summer of 1840. As the August election drew nearer, Rockinghamers grew tired of the county seat cause, and the efforts of other Davenporters were difficult to challenge. Davenport easily won the third election. To ensure that the county seat issue would not be played out again, Davenport built the first county courthouse.[3]

In 1856, Rock Island Railroad built the first railroad bridge across the Mississippi River, connecting Davenport and Rock Island, Illinois.[4] Steamboat companies saw nationwide railroads as a threat to their business and on May 6, 1856, just weeks after it was completed, a steamboat captain deliberately crashed the Effie Afton into the bridge. The owner of the Effie Afton, John Hurd, filed a lawsuit against The Rock Island Railroad Company, who Abraham Lincoln defended as trial lawyer.[4] The United States Supreme Court decided the bridge could remain.[5]

Just before the start of the Civil War, Governor Samuel J. Kirkwood declared Davenport to be Iowa's first military headquarters and five camps were set up in the city to aid the Union.[6] After the Civil War, hundreds of Iowa children were left homeless. On November 16, 1865, the "Iowa Soldier's Orphans' Home" (renamed the Annie Wittenmyer Home in 1949) was opened.[7] Starting in 1876, children from broken homes as well as orphans from all of Iowa's ninety-nine counties would live in the home. The home was a self-contained community containing residences, a school, tailor shop, and a chapel.[7] After 110 years of service the home closed in 1975.

A medium size two-story house sits on a small hill. Trees surround the house
The "Treaty House" was built at the exact location Chief Keokuk and General Winfield Scott signed a treaty to end the Black Hawk War in 1832. The house was completed in 1833 by Antoine LeClaire, and has since been moved to another location.

The Davenport City Hall was built in 1895, for the meager price of $100,000 ($2.61 million in 2010 dollars).[8][9] Architectural journals poked fun at city leaders due to the small amount budgeted for the project. The 1920s brought an economic and building boom. The city's skyline began to form with the construction of commercial buildings like the Kahl Building, the Parker Building, and the Capitol Theatre. Large national department stores also arrived downtown, including Montgomery Ward, Sears, and J.C. Penney.[10]

By 1932 thousands of Davenporters were on public relief due to the Great Depression. A shantytown grew in the west end of the city along the Mississippi River. Sickness, hunger, and unsanitary living conditions plagued the area. That would soon end, as many citizens went to work for the Works Progress Administration and then Davenport experienced a boom after World War II.[10] Oscar Mayer, Ralston Purina, and other companies built plants in west Davenport. The Interstate highway network was brought to Davenport in 1956. By 1959 more than 1,000 homes a year were being constructed.[10] By the late 1970s the good times were over for both downtown and local businesses and industries. The farm crisis of the 1980s hit Davenport and the rest of the Quad Cities hard; 35,000 workers lost their jobs through the entire Quad Cities area.[10] The Caterpillar plant on the city's north side closed, causing many jobs to be lost. The 1990s brought the beginnings of a turnaround for the city.[10] In recent years, many renovations and building additions have occurred to revitalize the downtown area, including fixing up Modern Woodmen Park and building the Skybridge and the Figge Art Museum.


An old image shows the Mississippi River in the middle with several boats traversing it. On both sides of the river are several buildings.
Lithograph of Davenport from a letter-head dating to 1868

Davenport is located at 41°32′35″N 90°35′27″W / 41.54306°N 90.59083°W / 41.54306; -90.59083 (41.542982, −90.590745).[11] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 64.9 square miles (168 km2), of which, 62.8 square miles (163 km2) is land and 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) (3.31%) is water.[12]

Davenport is located approximately 170 miles (270 km) west of Chicago and 170 miles (270 km) east of the Iowa state capital of Des Moines. The city is located about 200 miles (320 km) north of St. Louis, Missouri, and 265 miles (426 km) southeast of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Farmland surrounds Davenport, outside the Quad Cities area. The Mississippi River in Davenport has a maximum depth of around 30 to 40 feet (9.1 to 12 m) and is 2,217 feet (676 m) wide where the Centennial Bridge crosses it.

Davenport is located on the banks of the Mississippi River. The river flows from east to west along Davenport's banks, as opposed to its usual north to south direction.[13] From the river the city starts to slope north up a hill, which is steep at some points. The streets of the city, especially downtown and in the central part of the town, follow a grid design. Davenport often makes national headlines when the Mississippi River floods.[14] It is the largest city bordering the Mississippi that has no permanent floodwall or levee.[15] Davenport prefers the open access to the river for parks and vistas over having access cut off by dikes and levees. Davenport has adopted ordinances that any new construction in the floodplain must be elevated above the 100-year-flood level or protected with walls. As a result, former mayor Phil Yerington publicly expressed the view that if they "let Mother Nature take her course, we'll all be better off".[14] An example of a building that is elevated or flood-proofed in Davenport is the Figge Art Museum.[16]



A street with a major amount of water on it due to flooding. A bridge is on the top of the image, and a row of buildings to the left. Sandbags are in front of the buildings
Flooding on April 30, 2008. The red line (at the top right) indicates where the Mississippi River should be. The picture was taken from the Skybridge.

Davenport is in the humid continental climate (Dfa) on the Köppen climate classification. Summers are very warm to hot with high levels of humidity. Winters have cold temperatures and often high winds, with snow likely from November through February. Average snowfall in Davenport is 30.7 inches (780 mm) per year.[17] January is on average the coldest month, while July is the warmest.[18] The highest temperature recorded in Davenport was 103 °F (39 °C) on July 18, 2006.[19] The lowest record temperature, −22 °F (−30.0 °C), was recorded on February 2 and February 3, 1996.[20] Substantial weather changes frequently occur at three to four day intervals as a result of mid-latitude storm tracks.[21]

While situated squarely in the path of Tornado Alley and the potential certainly exists for one, no devastating tornado has ever touched down in Davenport.[22] The reason for a lack of tornadoes may be due to the fact that the Mississippi River and Rock River merge together close to the city.[22] Flooding, however, is often a severe problem in Davenport due to the lack of a flood wall. During the Great Flood of 1993, the water crested at 22.63 feet (6.90 m) on July 9.[23] This is nearly 8 feet (2.4 m) above the 14.9-foot (4.5 m) flood stage. Major flooding in Davenport causes many problems. Roads in and around the downtown area, including U.S. Route 67, are closed and cause increased traffic on other city roads. The effects of major flooding can be long-lasting. For example, during the 2008 flooding, Credit Island in the city's southwest corner remained closed for 5½ months while crews worked on cleaning up damage and removing river debris.[24] It is not just the Mississippi River that floods; Duck Creek, a stream situated in Bettendorf and Davenport, is vulnerable to flash flooding. Severe thunderstorms on Saturday, June 16, 1990, created heavy flash flooding in Bettendorf and Davenport that killed four people.[25] Another major flood happened on Thursday, June 12, 2008, when severe thunderstorms caused Duck Creek to jump its banks and flood into properties and nearby streets (see Iowa flood of 2008).[26]

Climate data for Davenport, Iowa
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 69
Average high °F (°C) 30
Average low °F (°C) 13
Record low °F (°C) -17
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.28
Source: The Weather Channel[18] 2008-07-26


A row of three older buildings lines the far side of a street. On the near side is grass from a park with two park benches
One of Davenport's oldest neighborhoods, the Village of East Davenport, is full of small specialty shops.

Davenport has a variety of neighborhoods dating back to the 1840s.[27] The original city plot was around current day Ripley and 5th Streets, where Antoine LeClaire had built his house. The city can be divided into five areas: downtown, central, east end, near north and northwest, and west end. Many architectural designs are found throughout the city including Victorian, Queen Anne, Tudor Revival, and others.[28] Many of the original neighborhoods were inhabited by German settlers.[27]

The east side of the city dates back to 1850 and has always contained higher end housing. The proximity and commanding view of the river kept these neighborhoods a fashionable address long after the original families departed.[29] Lindsay Park, in The Village of East Davenport, was used as parade grounds for Civil War soldiers from Camp McClellan.

In contrast to the east side, the central and west neighborhoods originally contained many of the working class Germans who settled the town. Development on the west side started in the 1850s with extensive construction occurring in the 1870s.[30] Housing was mostly one and a half to two story front gable American Foursquare and simplified Queen Anne style. The central Hamburg neighborhood contains the most architecturally significant residences in the old German neighborhoods.[31] Also in central Davenport, the Vander Veer Park Historic District is a neighborhood anchored by Vander Veer Park, a large park with a botanical garden and a fountain. The park was modeled after New York City's Central Park and originally shared its name.[32] Vander Veer is surrounded by large Queen Anne and Tudor Revival style houses that were built between 1895 and 1915. Development of the Vander Veer Park was the first major beautification effort outside two small spaces in downtown.[32]

Today the eastern side of Davenport still contains many of the higher class houses in the city. The old Civil War parade grounds, in The Village of East Davenport ("The Village" for short), have been turned into Lyndsey Park, which is surrounded by small specialty shops. West of The Village, downtown contains the two tallest buildings in the Quad Cities, The Wells Fargo bank building which is seventeen stories tall and the MidAmerican building is fifteen.[33] Downtown contains a few other tall buildings, including the eleven-story Black Hawk Hotel and the ten-story Kahl Building.[33]


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1850 1,848
1860 11,267 509.7%
1870 20,038 77.8%
1880 21,831 8.9%
1890 26,972 23.5%
1900 35,254 30.7%
1910 43,028 22.1%
1920 56,727 31.8%
1930 60,751 7.1%
1940 66,039 8.7%
1950 74,549 12.9%
1960 88,981 19.4%
1970 98,469 10.7%
1980 103,264 4.9%
1990 95,333 −7.7%
2000 98,359 3.2%
Est. 2008[34] 100,827 2.5%

According to a 2008 estimate, the city population grew to 100,827, marking the first time since 1984 that the city's estimated population has topped 100,000.[34][35]

As of the 2000 census, there were 98,359 people, 39,124 households, and 24,804 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,566.5 people per square mile (604.8/km²). There were 41,350 housing units at an average density of 658.5/sq mi (254.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 83.68% White, 9.24% Black or African American, 0.37% Native American, 2.00% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 2.32% from other races, and 2.36% from two or more races. 5.36% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.[36]

There were 39,124 households out of which 31.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.0% were married couples living together, 13.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.6% were non-families. Of all households, 29.5% were made up of individuals and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.03.[36]

In the city the population was spread out with 26.2% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 30.1% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 94.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.9 males.[36]


Crime in Davenport is on the decline. Violent crimes, which include robbery, rape, and assault, have fallen 35.7% from 2002–2006.[37] Murders are down 42.9% from 2000 to four murders in 2006.[37] From 2005 to 2006, stolen vehicles decreased by 36.6% to 295, burglaries decreased 12.7% to 1,449, aggravated assaults decreased by 46.3% to 481, and robberies decreased by 10.5% to 271. Forcible sex abuse is the only crime with an increase, up 17.4% to 142 cases.[37]


Davenport's biggest labor industry is manufacturing, with over 7,600 jobs in the sector.[38] John Deere is the largest employer in the Quad Cities,[39] and has a plant on Davenport's north side.

Davenport is the headquarters for department store Von Maur, which has twenty-two stores in nine states.[40][41] Davenport is also the headquarters of Lee Enterprises, which publishes fifty-five daily newspapers and more than 300 weekly newspapers, shoppers, and specialty publications, along with online sites in twenty-three states.[42] As of September 2009, the unemployment rate in Davenport and the rest of the Quad Cities, had risen to 8.4%.[43]

The median income for a household in the city is $40,378 with families earning $51,445.[44] Males had a median income of $41,853 versus $30,002 for females.[44] The per capita income for the city was $18,828. About 10.5% of families and 14.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.2% of those under age 18 and 6.4% of those ages 65 or over.

Davenport has a lower cost of living than the national average, with the average home price being $99,312.[45] . In 2009, Forbes ranked Davenport as the second best metropolitan area for cost of living.[46] CNN Money ranked Davenport as the sixteenth most affordable housing in the country.[47]

The surrounding Quad Cities have a few major places of employment, including the Rock Island Arsenal, which is the largest government-owned weapons manufacturing arsenal in the United States.[48] KONE, Inc, a large manufacturer of elevators, is located in Moline, Illinois. Alcoa, a large aluminum manufacturer, is located in Riverdale, Iowa. Other local businesses include Whitey's Ice Cream, Hungry Hobo sandwich shop, and Happy Joe's and Harris Pizza – both local pizza restaurants.



A large four-story red brick building with many windows. The building is on a street corner with the front and one of the sides visible.
The Redstone Building was originally the longtime home of the Petersen Harned Von Maur flagship store and is now home of the River Music Experience.

Downtown Davenport has many points of interest including the Davenport Public Library, the Davenport Skybridge, Figge Art Museum, River Music Experience, Putnam Museum and IMAX Theater, Modern Woodmen Park which is home of the Quad City River Bandits baseball team and the Centennial Bridge. Entertainment venues include the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Freight House (The Freight House).

Davenport has a few cultural and educational institutions, including the Figge Art Museum, the Putnam Museum which was founded in 1867 and was one of the first museums west of the Mississippi River,[49] and The Quad City Symphony Orchestra, headquartered in downtown Davenport, was founded in 1915.[50] The Davenport Public Library was opened in 1839.

Uptown features the Great Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds, which hosts fairs, stock car racing, and many other events. NorthPark Mall is the city's main shopping mall and has 160 stores. Its companion, SouthPark Mall, is located in Moline. Brady Street Stadium is home to Davenport high school and Saint Ambrose University football games. Davenport has a number of parks, including Credit Island park which has a bike path, baseball diamonds, tennis courts, and fishing along the Mississippi River. Vander Veer Botanical Park has a small botanical garden and also features a walking path, a lagoon, and a large fountain.

Events and festivals

Bix Fest is a three-day music festival with many traditional jazz bands held in tribute to internationally renowned jazz cornetist, pianist, composer, and Davenport native Bix Beiderbecke. The festival was started in August 1971 and the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society was founded one year later to organize and sponsor it.[51] 2009 was the 39th consecutive festival. In addition to the Bix Fest, the Wells Fargo Street Fest features live music, food, and vendors.

The annual Bix 7 is a 7-mile (11 km) road race held in late July in Davenport. The race was founded in 1975 by a resident of Bettendorf, Iowa, who wanted to bring to the Quad Cities some of the excitement he felt when he ran his first Boston Marathon.[52] The first race had 84 participants, but today 12,000 to 18,000 runners take part.[52][53][54] In late July or early August the six-day Great Mississippi Valley Fair features major grandstand concerts, carnival rides, attractions, and food vendors.[55] Sturgis on the River is a large annual gathering of motorcycles which includes bands and food vendors.[56]

Sister cities

Davenport has three sister cities.[57] Kaiserslautern, Germany, became a sister city on June 10, 1960.[57] The coastal city of Ilhéus in Bahia, Brazil, became Davenport's sister city on January 31, 2005.[57] Finally, Davenport and County Carlow, Ireland, became sister cities on September 26, 2006.[57]

Sports and recreation

A large brick stadium with many round windows on the bottom and many rectangle windows in groups of four line the top of the stadium. The words Modern Woodmen Park are displayed above the door
Modern Woodmen Park is home to the Quad Cities River Bandits baseball team

Davenport and the Quad Cities are home to many sports teams. The Quad Cities River Bandits baseball team play games at Downtown Davenport's Modern Woodmen Park. The i wireless Center in Moline is home to the Quad City Flames hockey team and the Quad City Steamwheelers arena football team. The Quad Cities Riverhawks are a Premier Basketball League team. They play their home games at Wharton Field House on the old Marycrest International University campus. Davenport high schools are in the Mississippi Athletic Conference for sports.

Davenport has twenty-seven parks with a total of 2,200 acres (8.9 km²) of land.[58] Major parks include Credit Island, which is a 420-acre (1.7 km2) park in southwest Davenport located alongside the Mississippi River.[59] Fejervary Park contains a pool and children's zoo and has had approximately 20,000 visitors each year since 1996.[59]

an image of a park. Many large trees are around the park and at the entrance a sign say Junge Park. Two basketball hoops and a baseball diamond are visible.
Junge Park is situated along the Duck Creek bike path and includes baseball and softball fields, along with sand volleyball, and basketball courts.

Junge Park is situated along the Duck Creek Parkway and includes baseball and softball fields, sand volleyball, and basketball courts.[59] LeClaire Park is located right on the banks of the Mississippi River next to Modern Woodmen Park. LeClaire Park hosts many summer events including River Roots Live and Ribfest.[60] Bands for the Bix Fest play in the park each July. Vander Veer Botanical Park welcomes approximately 25,000 visitors to continuous floral shows.

The city features two recreational trails for biking or walking. Duck Creek Parkway extends from Emeis Park in west Davenport 8.26 miles (13.29 km) east to Bettendorf along Duck Creek. Riverfront Parkway extends 4.75 miles (7.64 km) along the Mississippi waterfront from Credit Island to Bettendorf. Both these trails continue into Bettendorf.[59] Plans are being discussed to connect the two trails in Riverdale.[61] Four public golf courses are offered in the city, which are designed and maintained to satisfy all types of golfing interests.[62]

Davenport offers a few river-related activities. The Celebration Belle has river cruises from a one-and-a-half-hour sightseeing cruise[63] to an all-day three-meal cruise up to Dubuque, Iowa.[64] The Channel Cat boat offers rides across the river and has two stops in Iowa and three stops in Illinois and connects the bike paths that each state has on its river front.[65]


 A large tv station building. The building has many windows and a large awning runs parallel to one side. A small sign out front and a large sign on the side of the building both say KWQC TV 6
The KWQC building was the first television station in Davenport.

The major daily newspaper in Davenport is the Quad-City Times. An alternative free newspaper, the River Cities Reader, is published in Davenport. All four major television networks have stations in the area, including KWQC (NBC) and KLJB (Fox) in Davenport. WHBF (CBS) is located in Rock Island and WQAD (ABC) is in Moline.

The Quad Cities ranks as the 97th largest market for television [66] and the 147th largest market for radio.[67] Radio station WOC made its local broadcasting debut on February 18, 1922. It was the second licensed station on the air.[68] In 1933 WOC hired future president Ronald Reagan as a staff announcer.[68]


A large three-story stone building built in 1895. Three stories of windows line the front of the building with the two front corners containing cone-shaped roofs that stick out from the main roof. Above the entrance is a large clock tower that is taller than the rest of the building.
The Davenport City Hall was built in 1895 at the meager price of $100,000.

Davenport uses a mayor-council form of local government, which consists of a mayor (currently in 2009 Bill Gluba) and a ten-person council. One person is elected from each of the eight wards and two at-large aldermen are elected to represent the whole city. Nonpartisan elections are held in odd-numbered years. The mayor is the city's chief executive officer. He or she approves, vetoes, or takes no action on all ordinances, amendments, or resolutions passed by the City Council. The mayor presides at city council meetings and can vote in case of a tie. The mayor is also responsible for appointing members of city boards and commissions.[69]

The city council has the responsibility of setting all municipal policies not designated by city charter or the Iowa General Assembly such as adopting ordinances and resolutions and approving the city budget.[70] The city administrator, currently Craig Malin, is appointed by the mayor and is subject to confirmation by a two-thirds vote of the entire membership of the city council. City-wide goals through 2011 include having a financially responsible government, having a growing economy, revitalizing neighborhoods, and upgrading city infrastructure and public facilities.[71]

The establishment of Davenport as a political and government unit came in 1839, three years after the city was settled.[72] The city was incorporated as a result of a resolution by Iowa Representative Jonathan W. Parker by special charter in the Iowa Territory on January 25, 1839.[72] Parker was a resident of Davenport and one of six trustees elected to govern the city with Rodolphus Bennet being the first mayor. Activity for the first four months was minimal as the council failed to meet.[72] In 1842, the city charter was amended for the first time. Changes include having six alderman replace the five trustees, dividing the city into three wards, and appointing a city clerk position to replace the recorder.[72] The charter was amended again in 1851 to expand the city boarder, provide greater detail of the duties of the mayor, city council, and other officials.[72] During the last half of the nineteenth century, government assumed expanding responsibilities for public welfare and public works improvements.

The city expanded police protection, even temporarily having volunteer police officers to assist the three paid officers.[72] Fire protection was expanded in 1882, with the city's first thirteen paid firefighters.[72] Mayor Henry Vollmer accomplished several public works achievements, including large street paving and new sub-divisions being plotted.[72] A large city budget surplus brought the creation of the Davenport City Hall.[73] After 1900, each mayor brought new agendas for city improvement. Waldo Becker encouraged new railroads for the city. He also promised a more business like government and to depoliticize the police department. In the mid 1920s the city established the first zoning ordinances, electrical traffic signals and street lighting. They city also expanded with the incorporation of the city of Rockingham and the establishment of the Davenport Municipal Airport.[73]

Current (as of 2010) Davenport mayor Bill Gluba speaking at a Barack Obama rally in 2007.

The 2008 fiscal year budget is $161.2 million,[74] a decrease of 5.68% from 2007 due to program reduction in the capital improvements budget.[74] The city's general fund receives about 78% of its revenue from property taxes and 80% of its expenses go to personnel costs.[74] The city has given a few surveys for citizens to rate the quality of life and city services. The 2004 survey stated 44% of citizens said they support increasing revenue to maintain city services.[74] The largest department in the city is the public works department with a budget of $34.9 million.[75] At less than half that budget, the fire department is second with $15.1 million.[75] The police department has a budget of $10.9 million, the parks department has $5.8 million, and the Davenport Public Library has a budget of $3.9 million.[75]

At the federal level, Davenport is in Iowa's 1st congressional district and is represented by Democrat Bruce Braley. The two Senators are Republican Chuck Grassley and Democrat Tom Harkin. At the state level, Davenport is represented by the forty-first, forty-second, and forty-third Iowa Senate districts and in the Iowa House of Representatives by the eighty-first, eighty-fourth, eighty-fifth, and eighty-sixth districts. The forty-first senate district covers the eastern third of the city[76] and is represented by Republican Senator David Hartsuch. The forty-second district covers the western third of the city[77] and is represented by Republican Senator Shawn Hamerlinck. The forty-third and final senate districts covers the central third of the city[78] and is represented by Democrat Joe Seng.

The eighty-first house district covers the eastern third of the city and has the same western boundaries as the forty-first senate district. The district is represented by Democrat Phyllis Thede. The eighty-fourth district covers the western third of the city, and has the same eastern boundary as Senate district forty-two[79] and is represented by Democrat Elesha Gayman. The eighty-fifth and eighty-sixth districts are made up of the same area as the forty-third senate district. The eighty-fifth district covers the north and west-central area while the eighty-sixth district covers southern and eastern part of the senate district.[80][81] Both are represented by Democrats with Jim Lykam representing the eighty-fifth and Cindy Winckler representing the eighty-sixth. Davenport has a Federal Court House for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.


A statue sits in front of a large four-story red brick building. To the right of the entrance, the building goes in a little ways, and then back out. To the left of the entrance is a small two-story area connecting the main part of the building to the rest of it. Above and behind the two-story part is a four-story part of the building
St. Ambrose University, established in 1882, is the oldest of the three universities in Davenport.

Davenport public schools serve nearly 17,000 students in the communities of Davenport, Blue Grass, Buffalo, and Walcott. The Davenport Community School District is the second largest school district in Iowa.[82] Davenport has three public high schools: Central, West, and North and one private high school: Assumption. There are six public intermediate schools and twenty-three public elementary schools.[83] One of the intermediate schools, Sudlow was named after Phebe Sudlow, the first female public school superintendent in the United States.[84] She was superintendent for Davenport schools from 1874–1878.[84] The high schools are part of the Mississippi Athletic Conference for sports. The city has four colleges and universities: Palmer Chiropractic College, which is the first chiropractic school in the world,[85] Saint Ambrose University, Kaplan University, and Hamilton Technical College. Marycrest International University was a university in Davenport from 1939 to 2002, when it closed and became senior citizen housing.



Three interstate highways serve Davenport: Interstate 80, Interstate 280, and Interstate 74. U.S. Route 6, U.S. Route 61, and U.S. Route 67 also go through Davenport; U.S. 67 crosses over to Illinois via the Rock Island Centennial Bridge. Davenport is connected to the Illinois side of the Quad Cities by a total of three bridges across the Mississippi River. The Government Bridge and the Centennial Bridge connect Downtown Davenport with the Rock Island Arsenal and downtown Rock Island, respectively. The I-280 Bridge connects the western edge of Davenport with the western edge of Rock Island.

Other highways include Iowa Highway 22, which is on the city's southwest side, and Iowa Highway 130, which runs along Northwest Boulevard on Davenport's north edge. For air travel, Davenport Municipal Airport – located adjacent to the city's northern city limits – serves smaller aircraft.

The Quad City International Airport across the river in Moline, Illinois, is the closest commercial airport. Major railroads include the Iowa Interstate Railroad and the Iowa, Chicago and Eastern. Two national U.S. recreation trails intersect in Davenport: the Mississippi River Trail and the American Discovery Trail.

Amtrak currently does not serve Davenport or the Quad Cities. The closest station is about 50 miles (80 km) away in Galesburg, Illinois. In 2008, the two current United States Senators from Iowa, Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, and former Senator Barack Obama sent a letter to Amtrak asking them to begin plans to bring rail service to the Quad Cities.[86] They hope to see passenger rail service up and running in two years from Iowa City to the Quad Cities and from the Quad Cities to Chicago.[86] Greyhound Lines/Burlington Trailways bus service has a station in Davenport. The building is shared with the local Davenport Citibus.[87] Davenport does not have any river ports.

Davenport has an infamous "truck-eating bridge".[88] The bridge, or rather three bridges, is a set of railroad bridges that cross over north and southbound U.S. Route 61 and another street. Evey year an average of twelve semi trucks hit the bridge, usually causing massive damage to the trucks.[88] The bridges, made out of iron, steel, and concrete, are rarely damaged.[88]

Davenport Citibus

Public transit appeared in Davenport in 1969 when the city created a City Transit Authority.[87] The authority at first provided monetary support to Davenport City Lines Bus Company, which was a privately owned company. After a few years the city purchased the Davenport City Lines and placed the operation of public transportation under the jurisdiction of the City's Department of Municipal Transportation. Today, CitiBus is a division of the Department of Public Works. CitiBus has a total of 20 vehicles and covers approximately 30 square miles (78 km2) of the city. CitiBus connects with both Bettendorf Transit and the Illinois Quad Cities mass transit system, MetroLINK.[87] In 2007 Citibus saw a ridership of 1,022,815 customers. Ridership as of September 2008 had grown to 1,045,000 due in part to high gas prices.[89]

Utilities and health care

Behind a large parking lot sits an 8-story-tall red brick building with a large number of windows. The words Genesis are on the center of the building at the top. To the left is a slightly shorter building connected to the first with many glass windows. The second building says Pavilion 1
Genesis West Hospital is one of the two hospitals in Davenport. The other hospital is Genesis East.

Electricity to Davenport, and the rest of the Iowa Quad Cities, is provided by MidAmerican Energy Company. Water is provided by the Mississippi River and is treated by the Iowa American Water Company. The water treatment facility is located in southeast Davenport. The contaminants in the water are far below government standards.[90]

Davenport is served by two hospitals: Genesis East and Genesis West part of the Genesis Health System. Together the facilities, along with two other facilities outside Davenport have 665 beds.[91] The hospitals employ more than 600 physicians and 5,000 staff members.[91] The American Nurses Credentialing Center, awarded Genesis Medical Center the Magnet designation for excellence in nursing services.[92] Fewer than three percent of hospitals receive this honor.[92]

Notable natives

Notable Davenporters include jazz musician Bix Beiderbecke,[93] after whom the Bix 7 road race and jazz festival are named. The artist Isabel Bloom was raised in Davenport;[94] she is the creator of decorative concrete figurines that bear her name. Other natives include the aviation pioneer Samuel Cody[95] and actress Lara Flynn Boyle.[96] Sports figures born in Davenport include NFL running back Roger Craig[97] and former middleweight boxing champion Michael Nunn.[98]

Livability Award

Davenport (along with neighboring Rock Island, Illinois), won the 2007 City Livability Award in the small-city category from the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Tom Cochran, Executive Director of the Conference, stated that the award "gives the Conference a chance to highlight mayoral leadership in making urban areas safer, cleaner and more livable."[99] The award acknowledges achievements from the RiverVision plan of Davenport and Rock Island; "RiverVision is a bi-state collaboration between Davenport and Rock Island to transform the Mississippi River’s edge into one of the most compelling waterfronts in the nation."[100]

See also


  1. ^ Gluba is a Democrat but city elections are nonpartisan
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  • Plan and Zoning Commission, Historic preservation in Davenport, Iowa for inclusion in the Davenport Comprehensive Plan, Davenport (1985) OCLC 20501198
  • Svendsen, Marlys, Davenport A Pictorial History, (1987) Davenport: G. Bradley Publishing, Inc., ISBN 0940286-05-x
  • Svendsen, Marlys, Davenport historical survey report : a thematic history of Davenport, Iowa, 1836-1940 with reference to buildings, structures & sites, (1980) Davenport, OCLC 21526770

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

DAVENPORT, a city and the county seat of Scott county, Iowa, U.S.A., on the Mississippi river, opposite Rock Island, Illinois, with which it is connected by two fine bridges and by a ferry. It is the third largest city in the state. Pop. (1890) 26,872; (1900) 35,254, including 8479 foreign-born (6 1 11 German), and 19,230 of foreign parentage (13,294 German); (1905, state census) 39,797; (1910) 43,0 2 8. Davenport is served by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, the Chicago, Milwaukee & St Paul, the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, the Iowa & Illinois (interurban), and the Davenport, Rock Island & North Western railways; opposite the city is the western terminus of the Illinois and Mississippi, or Hennepin, Canal (which connects the Mississippi and Illinois rivers). Davenport lies on the slope of a bluff affording extensive views of landscape and river scenery. In the city are an excellent public library, an Academy of Sciences, several turn-halls and other German social organizations, the Iowa soldiers' orphans' home, Brown business college, and several minor Roman Catholic institutions. Davenport is an episcopal see of the Roman Catholic and the Protestant Episcopal churches. The city has a large commerce,and trade by water and rail in coal and grain, which are produced in the vicinity, is of special importance. With Rock Island and Moline it forms one great commercial unit. Among Davenport's manufactures are the products of foundries and machine shops, and of flouring, grist and planing mills; glucose syrup and products; locomotives, steel cars and car parts, washing machines, waggons, carriages, agricultural implements, buttons, macaroni, crackers and brooms. The value of the total factory product for 1905 was $13,695,978, an increase of 38.7% over that of 1900. Davenport was founded in 1835, under the leadership of Colonel George Davenport; it was incorporated as a town in 1838, and was chartered as a city in 1851.

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Simple English

Davenport is a city of eastern Iowa in the United States. The city is located on the Mississippi River next to Moline and Rock Island, Illinois.


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