We Mustache This Question: The 1884 Davenport Police Department

As we’ve mentioned before, this year marks the 175th anniversary of the Davenport Police Department.   In previous posts, we’ve shared some of the historical information and resources in our collections about and from the Department, and even cleared up a mystery or two.

But one mystery continues to elude us.

This photograph is of the 1884 Davenport police department, posed in front of the first station, which still stands at 130 West 5th Street.*

1894 Police DeptWhen we studied this beautiful image, we noticed something. All of the police officers have facial hair—most appearing to prefer mustaches of the handlebar variety—except for one.

See the third officer from the left, just past the tree?

1894 Police Dept lineupHis face is bare.

Along with this image, the photography studio—Hastings, White, and Fisher of Davenport—also did individual portraits of the officers.

It was easy to find our man:

1894 Officer 10Unfortunately, none of our resources list the badge numbers of officers, or provide physical descriptions. So we don’t know the name of the officer, nor will we ever know if his shaven state was a personal fashion choice, a physical limitation, or simply the visage of a new hire who hadn’t yet succumbed to peer pressure.

If our curiosity gets the better of us, we may do a brief search of our records for a rule about police officers being required to produce a mustache or beard within six months of employment.  But without a name, we won’t be able to search out city council minutes to see if this officer was given special dispensation.

Regardless, if anyone can help us identify this gentleman, or any of his fellow officers in the group photograph, we would be grateful for the information!

_________________________

*This building now houses Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley.

 

(posted by Sarah)

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