Congratulations to the Hickory Garden Restaurant!

While we usually blog about restaurants of the past, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate a local eatery that is part of the recent past and still going strong in the present!

Davenport’s Mayor and City Council Honor Hickory Garden Restaurant Tonight!

Congratulations to Davenport’s latest small business honoree Hickory Garden Family Restaurant. Owner Nick Fazliu established this gem in 1993 according to a Leader newspaper ad in August of 1997. Located at 3311 Hickory Grove Road in Davenport, the family eatery has often been featured in the Quad City Times as consistently having an extensive menu of terrific food, excellent customer service and great prices.

Davenport City Directories record the restaurant consistently employs 20-22 people. Adjectives used to describe the restaurant and banquet room in news clippings include fantastic, pleasant, choice, friendly and tops!

We salute the folks who make this small business one of the best in Davenport!

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100 Years Ago Today at the Davenport Public Library

Join us this evening to celebrate the vibrancy of Downtown Davenport at our special after-hours event Third Thursday@Davenport Public Library. We will be launching a new program in connection with the Downtown Davenport Partnership: DPL Perks! Show your library card to get discounts at participating local businesses.

One hundred years ago today, on October 20th, 1916, the library took part in another type of celebration: Iowa Day, the seventieth anniversary of statehood. This was observed with “an exhibit of pictures of early Davenport, loaned by J. B. Hostetler…” said the Davenport Daily Times:


Hostetler is a well-known name to us here at the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center. We are the fortunate caretakers of  a collection of portrait photography from his studio on 212 West 3rd Street in Davenport, containing images that date from 1895 to 1920.  A Downtown Davenport business, just like our current neighbors here on Main Street.

We are curious to find out which “works of Iowa authors” were also exhibited, though we know for certain what new books were purchased for the library in October, 2016 –they were announced in that very same issue of the Times:



It is unlikely that you’d find any of these titles in the RiverShare catalog today, but it’s fascinating to note the interest in the topics of war and democracy in the midst of the Great War. Explore the RSSC Center’s newspaper collections on microfilm or online to find out more about life in Davenport a century ago.

posted by Katie

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A Snapshot of Cook’s Point

We recently received a donation of pictures purchased at Estate Sales. One of the photographs shows homes in Cook’s Point. Earlier this year, we were also fortunate to receive a donation of items used at former resident’s reunions, including a hand drawn map with key. Together, these items give us a glimpse into the lives of Mexican Immigrants in Davenport .


Cook’s Point 1950


Acc#2016-12 Cook’s Point Collection

We used the 1940 Federal Census and the Davenport City Directories between 1932 – 1945 to verify the names of identified residents.

1 Morales, Salud (620 S Howell St.)
2 Jiminez, Agapito / Hernandez, Bartolo / Martinez, Frank
3 Bishop, Robert  / Torres, Cesario / Almanza, Fred
4 Ruiz, Beatrice / Lopez, John
5 Ramirez, Ysidro / Almanza, Federico “Fred”
6 Holly Rollers / Arguello, Rafael / Chapman, William
7 Juarez, Ignacio “Nacho” / Gomez, Peter
8 Garcia, Albert
9 Reyes, Nick
10 Hidalgo, Lorenzo
11 Hayes, John “Jack”
12 Terronez / Moreno, Antonio
13 Garcia, Porfiro
14 Mares, Aurelio
15 Juarez, Carmen / Hernandez, Bartolo
16 Franco, Manuel
17 School House
18 Terronez, Philip
19 Nache, Socorro
20 Ybarra, Raphael
21 Martinez, Frank / Lopez, Archie
22 Vasques, Micaela / Gutierrez, Trinidad (602 S Howell St.)
23 Chandler, Ray
24 Herrera, Basacelia “Bacha”
25 Hadley, John / Delgado, Pedro
26 Vasquez, Maximo
27 Pruess, Max
28 Herrera, Mariano
29 Herrera, Rosario
30 Serrano, John / Hernandez, Jacinto
31 Peterson or Patterson, John / Reyes, Manuel
32 Vasquez
33 Reyes, Philip
34 Hicks / Ramirez, Pete
35 Reyes, Nick / Mendez, Jesse
36 Gutierrez, Jesse
37 Ramirez, Dionicio “Nicho”
38 Quijas, Mariana / Peña, Eladio “Lyle”
39 Aguilar, Alfonso
40 Norris, George
41 Vargas, Jose (640 S Howell St.)
42 Juarez, Jose (638 S Howell St.)
43 Rangel, Isaac / Bernal, Peter / Dent, Virgil (632 S Howell St.)
44 Juarez, Joe (610 S Howell St.)
45 Gutierrez, Trinidad
46 Herrera, Delfino
47 Vasquez, Bridget / Magana, Maria (637 S Howell St.)
48 Vasquez, Jose / Winfield, Bob (635 S Howell St.)
49 Reyes, Phillip / Solano, Pete
50 Lopez, Fred (631 S Howell St.)
51 Castel, David
52 Bohnhoff, Fred “Fritz”
53 Tutor, Harold
54 Hoffman, Otto
55 Button Factory
56 Aldape, Apolonio
57 Ogden, Frank
58 Solano, Pete
59 Gamble, Edward
60 Puentes, John “Ganzo”
61 Gomez, Peter
62 Garcia, Porfirio / Hubbe, Fred (702 S Howell St.)
63 Rhoades, Delbert / Reyna, Manuel
64 Garcia, Jose
65 Boatman, Charles
66 Quijas, Tirso / Vieth, Helen / Dunklau, Henry
67 Solis, Antonio “Tony”
68 Puentes, John “Ganzo”
69 Valdez, Jose
70 Elias, Selso
71 Ortega, Pedro
72 Johnson, Lucille
73 Wilharber, John / Empke, Fred
74 Peterson, John
75 Rodenberg, Oliver (226 S Howell St.)

For more information about Cook’s Point and other historic Latino neighborhoods in Iowa, visit the fantastic resource, Migration is Beautiful, from the Iowa Women’s Archives at the University of Iowa Libraries.

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Getting Our Feet Wet: The flood of September 2016? *Updated 10/06/2016


The Flood of 1965. We can only imagine the volunteer hours needed to sand bag Davenport during this flood.

The first day of autumn 2016 came with surprising news for those of us who haven’t been focused on the weather. Yes, a Mississippi River flood watch has been issued for the upcoming days at Lock and Dam 15.

September is not locally known to be a flood month, and the month of August this year was hot with little rain in recent weeks. So where is the water coming from?

Unfortunately, our neighbors to the north have been very wet recently. Heavy rains in northern Iowa, Minnesota, and western Wisconsin have caused flooding of  rivers and streams. And since those tributaries feed into the Mississippi River, all that water will be headed our way.

And just in time, rain is expected to fall in the Quad Cities.

Taking a quick look at the twenty-eight recorded Mississippi River floods (1828 – 2015) that reached an estimated 15.1 feet or higher, it’s interesting to note that none crested in the month of September.*

However, there have been two recorded floods in the month of October: the 1881 flood crested on October 25th – 27th at 17.7 feet, making it the latest seasonal flood on record; the 1986 flood crested on October 7th at 19.22 feet. (In case you were wondering, February 22, 1966, is currently the earliest seasonal flood on record, cresting at 19.00 feet.)

Preparations are currently underway by the City of Davenport in anticipation of the predicted crest on September 29, 2016. The National Weather Service currently forecasts an apex of 16.00 feet.

Fortunately for us, it will not be like the floods of 1993 or 1965. It seems it will be just enough to remind us that nature has a way of changing things when you least expect it.

Update October 06, 2016: It appears the “No flood in September” record still stands. The Mississippi River at Rock Island Lock and Dam 15 crested at a pending 16.79 feet on October 3, 2016. Our thoughts go out to Cedar Rapids, our neighbor to the Northeast, as the Cedar River crested at 22 feet which is 6 feet above flood stage on September 27th.

(posted by Amy D.)

*The floods of 1828 and 1859 have been estimated based on primary resources from the time. It wasn’t until the flood of 1866 that a more accurate form of measuring began. The flood of 1859 is estimated between 15.0 and 16.0 feet while the flood of 1828 was reported to be considerably higher.

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The Davenport Cardinals

Football season has started!

The start of professional football yesterday brought to mind a mystery photo in our collection. It was labeled “City Champs 1925” and the players sport a large letter “C” on their uniforms. What football team was this? And what championship? The players look too old to be high school students, and none of the local colleges’ names begin with “C…”

Searching through the sports sections of local newspapers, we found what we believe to be the answer: in September, 1925, three semi-professional Davenport football teams in were merging to become the Davenport Cardinals.

Semi-professional football teams had existed for many years around the country; cities like Davenport were often home to more than one. The players were usually young men in their twenties, and teams were formed based on ethnic group, race, military career, veterans, or area within a city.

The newspapers were sure that football fans would be excited to learn that the Davenport Shamrocks*, the West End Cardinals, and the Davenport Bears were becoming one. Originally the team was reported to be named the Davenport Bears, but that was soon changed to the Davenport Cardinals.

The first practice was held the night of September 27th under Coach Ed McGrath; after this the team began traveling to play its opponents. The team appears to have done very well…so well, in fact, that they were selected to play against the Battery B football team in the semi-professional Davenport City Championship. The Battery B team held the championship title from the previous three years. The match played at the new Davenport High School football stadium was expected to be an exciting one.

The game was scheduled to be played November 8, 1925. The teams were considered by the newspapers to be evenly matched in their 11-man formations. The average weight was even mentioned: Cardinals averaging 170 pounds and the Battery B men averaging 175 pounds. Both were strong on offense with excellent punters taking the field.

The only thing the two teams could not defeat was the weather. October of 1925 was exceptionally cold, with nighttime temperatures dropping down into single digits. By early November, snow was falling! By the morning of the game, several inches covered the field and drifts were reported to be a foot high. The Davenport City Championship was postponed by consent of both teams until November 15th.

When game day finally arrived, a little over 600 fans filled the stadium at 50 cents per person. Thankfully, the snow had melted by the 2:30 kick-off. Newspapers reported there was quite a bit of mud as the game progressed.

After a hard-fought game, the Davenport Cardinals came out the victors by beating the Battery B team 6 – 0. The only touchdown was scored by the Cardinals’ Mickey McDermott in the last three minutes of the game.

It must have been some game!

Perhaps the photograph below was taken directly after this championship game, as the likely coach and manager are wearing winter coats, and many of the players have mud on their uniforms.

City Champs


We encourage you to take a moment and study not only the uniforms of the day, but the determination in the players’ faces!

(posted by Amy D.)


*Interestingly, the Davenport Shamrocks are still mentioned in the 1925 newspapers playing semi-professional football during the 1925 season. Perhaps some players left to join the new team while the Shamrocks continued to play with remaining members and new recruits.


Davenport Democrat and Leader, September 27, 1925. Page 27.

Davenport Democrat and Leader, November 4, 1925. Page 7.

Davenport Democrat and Leader, November 6, 1925. Page 25.

Davenport Democrat and Leader, November 8, 1925. Page 31.

Davenport Democrat and Leader, November 14, 1925. Page 13.

The Davenport Daily Times, November 16, 1925. Page 19.

Davenport Democrat and Leader, November 16, 1925. Page 7.

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Davenport’s Transit Workers

With the arrival of Labor Day this Monday, September 5th and Davenport’s CitiBus service in the news of late, we here at DPL’s Richardson Sloane Special Collections Center (the officially-designated archives for the City of Davenport) would like to highlight some of the information we have available on the city’s transit workers.

The image below shows the title page of the first contract between the Davenport’s City Transit Authority and Division No. 312 of the Amalgamated Transit Union:

Bus Union Contract 1974

The contract was signed on September 6th, 1974. A feature of note was that a driver could take his or her birthday as a paid holiday! The Amalgamated Transit Union still represents the Citibus drivers today, one of five public employee unions that work with the City of Davenport.

A few years before this contract was signed, on August 22, 1969, Davenport voters approved the City’s takeover of bus service from Davenport City Lines, a private operator.


A presentation given by the Davenport Department of Transportation in the mid-nineteen-seventies (RSSCC Collection #2008-12) included these photographs of city bus drivers, along with the statement: “We will bend our buses to serve you…and will welcome you with open arms.”

dpl2008-28 Bus3dpl2008-28 Bus2dpl2008-28 Bus1Call, write, or visit us to explore more about the history of the City of Davenport, Iowa!

(posted by Cristina and Katie)

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Back to School: The return of smiling faces

Davenport High School library c. 1920

A school library in Davenport c. 1920

With school back in session after summer break, we thought we would take a look back at the excitement of the first day of school in 1907.

Schools reopened for students on September 3rd that year. The Daily Times noted in the evening edition that all fourteen public school buildings and the high school welcomed back students.

The article continued that 150 new students entered into Davenport High School making the incoming class the largest in school history. Part of the increase in numbers for the new class was thought to be related to the development of the “Commercial Course” which would provide students the chance to graduate with business skills such as bookkeeping, stenography, and business methods in addition to basic study in English, history, and math.

New Davenport High School Principal George E. Marshall, who replaced Principal Frank L. Smart (who had become Superintendent of the Davenport schools), was excited to announce that the number of books in the high school library had been expanded and a private telephone system was to be installed in each classroom. The phone would connect with the principal’s office and have a switchboard to transfer calls to the outside.

As for the other schools, The Daily Times reported many of them had been cleaned over summer break, new teachers filled classrooms where necessary, and the only school without a principal was School No. 3.

All in all, it seemed a pretty good start to the school year!

(posted by Amy D.)

Source: The Daily Times, September 3, 1907. Page 6.


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To Catch a Summer Breeze: The Upper Lagoon at Vander Veer Park

As an antidote to the heat and humidity of August, we share this photograph from our collection that we hope will evoke a cool and tranquil experience of the outdoors:

Upper lagoon at Vander Veer Park c. 1915. Loretta Clayton Donation 2003-43.

Upper lagoon at Vander Veer Park c. 1915. Loretta Clayton Donation 2003-43.

This photograph of the Upper Lagoon in  Vander Veer Botanical Park was taken in about 1915.  A stream connected it to the to the Lower Lagoon, the entire body of water running along the east side of the park. The Lower Lagoon still exists today at the park’s northern entrance.

While the original sepia-toned photograph is beautiful, we found it hard to see many of the finer details of features such as the stone bridge. For a clearer view, staff enhanced the photograph shown below by replacing the sepia tones with black-and-white coloring. Please click on the image for a larger view.

Color altered view of the above photograph to enhance details.

Color altered view of the above photograph to enhance details.

Purchased by the City of Davenport in 1885, the former fairground and horse track was slowly developed by the Parks Department, with its first grand design created in 1890.

Originally named Central Park (later renamed Vander Veer Park in 1911 in honor of A. W. Vander Veer) early unique features included a band shell, restaurant, palm house, conservatory, aviary, fountains, wading pools, and the two lagoons.

All that remains of the Upper Lagoon is the arch of the stone bridge, still a draw for all visitors.

Next time you cross the bridge at Vander Veer Park, close your eyes to feel the cool breezes and hear the sound of trickling water from summer days past.

(posted by Amy D.)

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Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival Posters

The 45th Annual Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival kicks off today!

Stop by the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center and browse through our collection of posters from past years, donated to us by our friends at the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society and the Bix Beiderbecke Museum and Archives.

Below are some of the new additions to our fine collection.

And never fear, our department is fully carpeted so if a jazz beat starts in your mind just let your feet tap away.

We are sure the jazz greats, including Bix, would approve.

Bix2016 Bix2015 Bix2014

Bix2013 Bix2012

(posted by Cristina)

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Riepe & Pratt’s: Swimming 1862 style

As the heat of summer continues to warm most us to unpleasant levels; we decided to take a look back on ways Davenporters have kept cool in the past. We were excited to come across this advertisement for Riepe & Pratt’s Bathing House and Swimming School from July 27, 1862.

Riepe and Pratt Swimming School

The Davenport Daily Gazette. July 27, 1862.

We were able to find that the school was owned and operated by Mr. William Riepe and Mr. William H. Pratt. They originally petitioned the City of Davenport to open the swimming school at the foot of Ripley Street where it meets the Mississippi River in June of 1861.

The gentlemen needed to get approval for their business from Davenport City Council due to a City ordinance that was passed on June 24, 1843 stating that no one was allowed to go into the river to bathe in front of the city from one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset when bathing was then allowed, apparently through the night. A five dollar fine would be assessed for each offense for anyone breaking the ordinance.

The site selected for the bathing house and swimming school at the foot of Ripley Street would most definitely fall under this ordinance.

The two men filed a petition that was read at the June 5, 1861 Davenport City Council meeting to allow them a place for bathing in the river near Ripley Street. The motion was granted and the swim school began soon after.

Riepe Swim School

Davenport Daily Gazette, June 24, 1861.

A quick search of newspapers indicates that Mr. Pratt did not stay with the business for long, but Mr. Reipe maintained it every summer through the late 1860s.*

A few interesting items we noted in the July 27, 1862 advertisement includes the separate bathing times for women and men and the length of swimming time allowed based on physician recommendations.

One can only imagine how interesting it would have been to have been a patron of the swim school with the numerous boats loading and unloading both passengers and freight not far from the swimming area.

We hope that it at least provided a somewhat cool respite during those hot summer days.

*Davenport Daily Gazette, June 14, 1867.

(posted by Amy D.)

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