The Annexation Vote of 1957

Davenport in 1940

At the municipal election on November 5th, 1957, the citizens of Davenport voted on a proposal to annex two separate areas totaling 28 square miles to the City of Davenport. The first area covered 11 square miles west of the city limits up to the Rockingham Township line (the town of Rockingham itself was annexed in May of 1926). The second area covered 17 square miles north of the city limits up to the Davenport township line, and included the unincorporated communities of Ridgeview and Probstei.

The main intention was to have the city limits on the north and west go up to the proposed new interstate highway (I-80 on the north and I-280 on the west). They were expecting that the new interstate would attract new businesses and plants near the route, which would bring new jobs and taxes to the City.

The propositions carried with overwhelming majority, with 83% of voters in favor of annexation. The first part of the ballot was to approve the 11 miles section and the second part the 17 mile section. This two part ballot caused some confusion among voters, with some failing to fill in the second square. The total number of votes in favor for the first part was 12,096 with 2,560 against. Part two received 10,565 votes in favor and 2,092 votes against.

The newly annexed areas did not become part of the City right away. Davenport had to file a petition with the Scott County District Court asking for approval of the annexation before the County could issue a decree. But first, the city would have to perform a title search, listing the names of property owners with descriptions of their properties. The City started with the area near Rockingham first.

On January 22, 1958, District Court Judge Clay LeGrand signed a decree approving the annexation of the 11 square miles originally belonging to Rockingham Township to the City of Davenport.

The northern area took longer to receive approval from District Court. As Davenport finished paperwork on this second section a legal case relating to an annexation proposal in Cedar Rapids went to the United States Supreme Court  in May 1959 (Anderson vs. Cedar Rapids).

The question before the Supreme Court involved legal notification of individuals holding any interest in properties within an area to be annexed using newspaper advertisements.  Because the ruling would affect future decisions, annexation rulings were delayed throughout the state of Iowa until the Supreme Court made its decision.

The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal by Roger L. Anderson that month stating there was no substantial federal question involved in the case. On August 12, 1959 Judge LeGrand signed the order approving the annexation of 17 square miles, including Ridgeview and Probstei, to the City of Davenport.

The approved annexation doubled the size of the City from 22.3 square miles up to 50.5 square miles. The total population of the city grew to over 93,000 with the addition of about 2,000 in the first annexed area and 6,500 in the second.

Davenport in 1960

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Bibliography:

Davenport Democrat and Leader. “Annexation Wins Okay: Area Of City Is Doubled.” November 6, 1957: page 1.

The Daily Times. “Annexation Order “Doubles” Davenport: Population Nears 94,000 In 2nd Step.” August 12, 1959: page 1.

The Daily Times. “City Grows 11 Sq. Miles.” January 22, 1958: page 1.

The Daily Times. “Propositions Carry: City To Act Fast On 2 Annexations.” November 6, 1957: page 1.

(posted by Cristina)

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