Upper Davenport

By now we are familiar with the fact that the 1857 Map of the City of Davenport and its Suburbs, Scott County, Iowa by James T. Hogane and Henry Lambach contains many features that were aspirational for the city’s developers. Curious about the area on the map labeled “Upper Davenport” to the east of both East Davenport and the Thomas Allen land that would become Camp McClellan/McClellan Heights, we wondered if this lovely light-green patch was ever actually platted and sold.

A search of “Upper Davenport” in the local newspapers yielded a few clues, as did the attempt to find details about the three individuals named: Swords, Watkins, and Hildreth.

However, it was a group of title abstracts for this land (legally described as the West 1/2 of Section 29 of Township 78 North, Range 4 East of the 5th Meridian) in our collection that provided the clearest information.

This image from the 1875 Andreas Atlas, with modern streets overlaid using the Iowa Geographic Map Server, shows the area in question:

The tract was indeed platted shortly before the publication of the Hogane & Lambach map, in October 1855 (Town Lot Deeds Book A, page 174), when it was owned by William and Cordelia Wray. The 280.73 acres had been deeded to them by George L. Davenport the previous autumn, save 10 acres in the southwest corner by the river.

The plat map shows the 9 blocks of lots, with Washington and Jackson Avenues running north to south, and Front, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Streets running east to west. Presumably, the surveyor was Henry Lambach; he drew the subdivision of lots 1 & 2 registered the following month (Town Lot Deeds, Book A, page 290).

Copy of the certified plat of Upper Davenport as found in title abstract No. 212, Acc.#1992 -06.

As early as September 1855, before the plat was certified, newly-arrived real estate agent George L. Nickolls was offering lots in Upper Davenport for sale in the Davenport Daily Gazette. According to his advertisement, these were “…beautiful sites for private residences having fine views of Davenport, Rock Island, and Moline, also of the river for several miles East and West.” Some were “…well adapted for many kinds of manufacturing business” and some even had “fine stone quarries…”

The following spring, W.H. Hildreth & Co. offered the “Upper Davenport and LeClaire House OMNIBUS” to take prospective buyers, those “doing business in the city,” to these “suburbs” where “pure air, cheap lots and elegant sites” awaited the “wealthy and those of moderate means to gratify their tastes and promote their interests by establishing homes where the rise of property will add to their wealth, and at the same time, exemption from high rents and taxes diminish their expenses.” (Daily Iowa State Democrat, April 7, 1856, p. 2.)

Hildreth’s company included Charles S. Watkins and George H. Swords. The Wrays had sold the land to the three in March of 1856. The success of the enterprise, however, was limited, and the dream of Upper Davenport quickly began to fade. There is a note of desperation in W.H. Hildreth & Co.’s early 1857 Gazette advertisments offering lots “…embracing summit, hillside and plain, with the most pictureseque views…destined to be a portion of the Metropolis of Iowa, its Eastern gate…” They promised a ferry to Moline, soon to become a “highway for immigration” and a “direct route to the coal region,” as well as “proximity to fuel” and “inexhaustible limestone quarries.” The area, they said, would grow to be “the entrepot for the commerce and supplies for the city and the choicest quarter for palatial residences,” at which present-day Davenporters would marvel in ten years time.

Like many others, this speculation venture did not survive the Crash of ’57; the firm dissolved in March of that year. There were no omnibus rides that spring.

George Swords suffered forclosure on his portion of the property in 1859; it was then obtained by Charles Watkins. The September 4th, 1861 issue of the Gazette reported that Watkins requested of the Scott County Board of Supervisors’ committee on bridges and highways the “vacation of streets and alleys in Upper Davenport.” Hildreth passed away in 1867; his obituary in the October 26th, 1867 issue of the Daily Davenport Democrat refers to the area as the “Watkins Farm.” County surveyor Thomas Murray re-platted a portion of the Watkins property in late 1872; the map of Scott County in the 1875 Andreas Atlas shows Watkins as the principal landowner in the west half of Section 29:

Huebinger’s 1882 Map of Scott County gives the names of property owners other than Watkins by the next decade:

And the whole of the West 1/2 of T78NR4E was replatted by Thomas Murray in early 1883:

Copy of the certified plat as found in title abstract No. 212, Acc.#1992 -06.

Huebinger’s Scott County atlases for 1894, 1905, and 1919 show the ownership of what was Upper Davenport through the turn of the century and the World War. The Watkins name was associated with the area even after his death in 1911. Identified as a “capitalist” in the 1856 census, he was active in Davenport ventures, including the Davenport Water Power Company and the Scott County Savings Bank. In the mid-1890s he traveled west for yet more opportunities, along with several other adventurous Davenporters, to Denver, Colorado.


We searched in vain to find evidence of residents of Upper Davenport in the short time it was so named, save a single article from the June 2, 1858 Gazette exclaiming over a Brahma hen that laid three eggs in fifteen hours. It belonged to a Miss Clara Holmes of Upper Davenport.

(posted by Katie)

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This Week We Say Goodbye to Our Director Amy Groskopf

This week we say goodbye to our director Amy Groskopf. Amy has been with the library for over 33 years and has held numerous positions in that time culminating in leading the library for the past 7 years.

With a small staff, she expanded the beginnings of Special Collections and turned it into a Center that is highly regarded as one of the best local history and genealogy collections west of the Mississippi River. She spearheaded the renovation of the Main Library basement into a welcoming and useful facility after pitching a million-dollar proposal on the spot to donors Ted and Alice Richardson Sloane. Working closely with the Scott County Genealogical Society, Amy was the catalyst of today’s Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center. She worked with city and local organizations to create a premiere photograph collection, then initiated the Upper Mississippi Valley Digital Image Project making images accessible through that new medium, the internet!

Amy was a major force in building both Fairmount and Eastern branch facilities, handling many of the construction issues and details,  putting out numerous “small fires” along the way, all while running SC at the same time. She has tackled remodeling, refurnishing, re-carpeting, and rearranging multiple times in her tenure.

Never afraid to pitch in, Amy schlepped thousands of glass negatives out of a coal dust-covered basement, dug out archival treasures from the basement of a crematorium, and loaded thousands of blueprints from a construction company when called upon with very little time to prepare. Amy has shelved books, processed collections, ordered equipment, managed conservation projects, built branches, trained staff, faced floods, consulted, contributed time and energy to archival organizations, held positions of leadership on boards and commissions, and ultimately led the library through arguably one of the nation’s biggest challenges – the Covid Pandemic. When faced with difficulty she put on her “mountain” earrings to meet it head-on! After all, if you can climb a mountain you can face anything, right?!

Amy’s unflappable professionalism, her ability to think outside the box, and her integrity have brought the Davenport Library system to our Community in new and exciting ways, making us “The Library”. We celebrate her contributions to DPL.  

“The mountains are calling and I must go!.”-John Muir. Go, Amy, with our best wishes. Thank you for everything.

(posted by Karen)

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Happy 175th Birthday, Iowa!

Today, December 28, 2021, marks the 175th anniversary of Iowa’s admission into the Union as a state in 1846. During the 28th Congress in the Second Session, the elected House of Representatives passed “An Act for the admission of the States of Iowa and Florida into the Union” on February 13, 1845. The second document shown was recorded on December 21, 1846, enforcing previous bills pertaining to the admission of the Territory of Iowa as a state. Below are copies of those acts from Congress.gov.

Through documents like this, the Federal government granted permission to establish a constitution and a state government in Iowa. The document describes the boundaries of the state as well as discusses the number of electors and representatives. More Congressional Records may be found at Congress.gov as well as in the Davenport Public Library’s Government Documents collections.

Since it’s Iowa’s birthday, we would like to share collections that highlight Iowa’s history from the city to the state level.

Iowa and Iowan Fiction Collection

In our Archives Alcove, we shelve our fiction collection including books written by Iowans and about Iowa. The collection features well-known authors such as Floyd Dell, Marilynne Robinson, Julie McDonald, Bill Wundram, and more. Today we would like to highlight the works of Octave Thanet and Max Allan Collins. Above are images of two titles: An Adventure in Photography and Road to Perdition. Octave Thanet (also known by her given name, Alice French) was born in Andover, Massachusetts in 1850. Her family moved to Davenport in 1856. She attended schools on the East coast but returned to Davenport to live until her death in 1934. Max Allan Collins was born in Muscatine, Iowa. He is known for his fictional portrayal of the infamous, Rock Island gangster, John Looney in Road to Perdition.

Amy’s Selection

One of my favorite spots to visit in relation to Iowa may be surprising. Going through the 133.1 Non-Fiction section one finds books on Iowa hauntings. Some authors cover the state like Kathleen Vyn, author of Haunted Iowa. While Bruce Carlson wrote about Ghosts of Scott County, Iowa. Ghosts stories may not always be true, but they usually contain historical facts about people, places, and events in the history of Iowa. These rich stories provide a jumping-off point if you are interested in history. I strongly recommend visiting your 133.1 Non-Fiction section at your local library.

General Iowa History Selection

In our collection, we have a number of books about the general history of Iowa and its people. The Story of Iowa: the Progress of an American State by William J. Petersen from the 1950s features the state’s history from before the state was settled by European immigrants to descriptions of family and personal histories of Iowans. This four-volume set would be a great place for those interested in Iowa history to begin.

Katie’s Selection

Iowa Map

One of my favorite Iowa history resources in the RSSC Center’s collection is Huebinger’s Automobile and Good Road Atlas of Iowa, published by the Iowa Publishing Company in 1912 (SC ATLAS CASE 917.77 HUE).  German native Melchoir Huebinger began his U.S. career surveying the upper Mississippi River valley near Davenport, Iowa in the 1880s, but a new type of transportation route captured his professional attention in the first two decades of the twentieth century: the growing network of automobile roads.  The Atlas documents the tremendous change to Iowa’s landscape as roads were constructed, as well as the development of commercial enterprises supporting the automobile and the travel industry across the state. It offers a visual connection between Iowa communities and perhaps even represents a shift in perspective from the local to the national.

Davenport was the starting point for several routes as shown in the map of Scott County, including the “River to River Road,” with the Missouri River and Council Bluffs/Omaha as the terminus. Iowa highways (marked on the map of Iowa in red) were organized and maintained by private automobile associations. The last image in the slideshow shows the road markers or “blazings” for the various routes.

A Selection of Iowa Maps

Our map collection contains an assortment of maps depicting the territory and state of Iowa. In the map above, Barrows documents Iowa from 1845 a year before Iowa was admitted into the Union. It shows the eastern border with an outline of the western and southern.

Below is a curious map of eastern Iowa and western Illinois in Russian. We believe this map was created in 1980 by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

Iowa Amusements Selection

With this book, Iowa Trivia, we can test our knowledge of Iowa facts! We hope this inspires our community to learn more about the history of Iowa and its people.

(posted by Kathryn)


Barrows, W. A New Map of Iowa: Accompanied with Notes. Cincinatti, Ohio: Doolittle & Munson, 1845.

Carlson, Bruce. Ghosts of Scott County, Iowa. Fort Madison, Iowa: Quixote Press, 1987.

Collins, Max Allan. Road to Perdition. New York: Pocket Books, 1998.

Congress.gov. “Text – H.R.497 – 28th Congress (1843-1845): A Bill For the admission of the States of Iowa and Florida into the Union. Whereas the people of the Territory of Iowa did, on the seventh day of October, eighteen hundred and forty-four, by a convention of delegates called and assembled for that purpose, form for themselves a constitution and State government: and whereas the people of the Territory of Florida did, in like manner, by their delegates, on the eleventh day of January, eighteen hundred and thirty-nine, form for themselves a constitution and State government, both of which said constitutions are republican; and said conventions having asked the admission of their respective Territories into the Union as States, on equal footing with the original States:.” February 14, 1845. https://www.congress.gov/bill/28th-congress/house-bill/497/text.

Congress.gov. “Text – H.R.557 – 29th Congress (1845-1847): A Bill For the admission of the State of Iowa into the Union. Whereas the people of the Territory of Iowa did, on the eighteenth day of May, anno Domini eighteen hundred and forty-six, by a convention of delegates called and assembled for that purpose, form for themselves a constitution and State government–which constitution is republican in its character and features–and said convention has asked admission of the said Territory into the Union as a State, on an equal footing with the original States, in obedience to ”An act for the admission of the States of Iowa and Florida into the Union,” approved March third, eighteen hundred and fortyfive, and ”An act to define the boundaries of the State of Iowa, and to repeal so much of the act of the third of March, one thousand eight hundred and forty-five, as relates to the boundaries of Iowa,” which said last act was approved August fourth, anno Domini eighteen hundred and forty-six: Therefore–.” December 22, 1846. https://www.congress.gov/bill/29th-congress/house-bill/557/text.

General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. [Soviet Era Map of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois]. Soviet Union: [Unidentified], 1980.

Huebinger’s Automobile and Good Road Atlas of Iowa. Des Moines, Iowa: The Company, 1912.

Petersen, William J. The Story of Iowa: The Progress of An American State. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., INC., [1952].

Stock, Janice Beck, Alan Beck, and Ken Beck. Iowa Trivia. Nashville, Tennessee: Rutledge Hill Press, 2001.

Thanet, Octave. An Adventure in Photography. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1893.

Vyn, Kathleen. Haunted Iowa. Madison, Wisconsin: Trails Books, 2008.

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Happy Holidays from Special Collections: The Santa Version

We are officially in the winter season meaning the holidays are fast approaching! This holiday season, we thought we would share some of our favorite images of Santa for those visitors celebrating Christmas.

It is fun to see how our jolly friend has changed over the years (and stayed the same too).

We hope everyone is enjoying this season. The Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center is closed on December 24 & 25 as well as December 31 & January 1.

The Daily Times, December 1, 1915. Pg. 10. One of the earliest Santa ads we found in the local newspapers.
DPL Vol 194 dplvm89-000325. Workers putting up a Santa decoration.
DPL Vol 194 dplvm89-000347.
Christmas Parade circa 1940s with Jaycees Santa following the float.
The Davenport Democrat and Leader, December 21, 1930. Pg. 11.
Santa has a very full beard and mustache in this image.
DPL Vol 195 dplvm89-000342.
Circa 1940s, Santa on a sleigh with a pack of toys in the Christmas parade.
DPL Vol 195 dplvm89-000344.
In 1948, Santa had changed from a sleigh to an airplane during the Christmas parade. Much to the delight of the children watching.
DPL Vol 194 dplvm89-000335.
November 27, 1947 Christmas parade. Santa had helpers on his float this year to spread the holiday cheer.
The Daily Times, December 20, 1949. Pg. 33.
By the late 1940s, images of Santa were no longer illustrations, but photographs.
DPL Vol 194 dplvm89-000872.
During the 1954 Christmas parade, Santa floated down the street past the Mississippi Hotel with a reindeer leading his sleigh.

We wish you all a very merry and joyous holiday season!

(posted by Amy D.)

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Happy Birthday, Bill of Rights!

The original 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, were ratified on December 15, 1791.

For its 200th birthday, the original copy of the Bill of Rights went on a tour of the United States, stopping at Davenport’s RiverCenter August 19-23, 1991. The multimedia traveling exhibit was seen 46,920 during its 5-day visit to Davenport, the only stop in the state of Iowa.

Because of that record-breaking turnout, Davenport was one of 10 cities selected to host “Celebrate Freedom” birthday parties on December 14, 1991. The other cities were Denver, CO; Oklahoma City, OK; Indianapolis, IN; Seattle, WA; Marietta, GA; Juneau, AK; Barre, VT; Knoxville, TN; and Kansas City, MO.

Davenport Public Library Main Entries newsletter, Sept/Oct 1991

The Davenport Public Library was honored to be chosen as the site for the Bill of Rights‘ birthday party. Along with the big birthday cake, the FRIENDS of the Davenport Public Library brought a patriotic tree decorated with the Bill of Rights from the Festival of Trees.

Davenport Public Library scrapbooks

The featured speaker was Iowa Supreme Court Justice Linda K. Neuman. She was the first woman and youngest person appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court, serving from 1986-2003. Before that, she was only the second woman ever appointed district court judge in Iowa when she became Scott County District Court judge in 1982.

“It’s easy for all of us o take these freedoms for granted. The key is we don’t think about them until suddenly they are taken away from us.”

Iowa Supreme Court Justice Linda K. Neuman
Patrick Deluhery, Angela James, Harold Daniels, Bob Duax, Linda K. Neuman, Kay Runge, Ted Frahm

Other guests at the party included Iowa Senator Patrick Deluhery, Iowa Representative Matt Wissing, Davenport Mayor Bob Duax, alderman-at-large Larry d’Autremont, Library Board of Trustee president/FRIENDS board vice-president E. Harold Daniels, Library Board of Trustees/FRIENDS board member George Otte, FRIENDS board member Bob Hansen, Karen Perkins of the Semper Fidelis Club, and the James family who were winners of the Volunteer Center of the Greater Quad-Cities Individual and Youth Volunteer of the Year awards.

The Gold Book, February 1992

(posted by Cristina)


  • Scneeberger, Gary. “River Center will host a special Bill of Rights display.” Quad-City Times, August 11, 1991
  • “The Bill of Rights.” Quad-City Times, August 15, 1991
  • “So few words, so much meaning.” Quad-City Times, August 22, 1991
  • Arland-Fye, Barb. “Q-C hosts Bill of Rights celebration.” Quad-City Times, December 5, 1991
  • “Bill of Rights.” Quad-City Times, December 14, 1991
  • “Q-C throws party for Bill of Rights.” Quad-City Times, December 15, 1991
  • “Q-C pays tribute to Bill of Rights.” Quad-City Times, December 16, 1991
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“Printed In Germany” Holiday Postcards

In our collection, we have a number of postcards documenting local areas of interest, people, and business. The postcards have been postmarked, unused, and sometimes unsent. As we approach the upcoming holidays, we perused our collection for Christmas postcards made and printed in Germany. We found a few we wanted to share.

This unsent postcard (HOLIDAY PC008) is featuring Mary, Jesus, and Joseph backed by a brilliant gold star. The colors are muted, but bold. We have dated it around 1900-1920.

Postmarked December 22, 1914 from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This avian-inspired postcard (HOLIDAY PC011) featured bells ringing with a message of “A Merry Christmas. A sweet note from Lu to a Mrs. Howard Robinson is handwritten on the back of the postcard.

This postcard (HOLIDAY PC014) depicts a wintery scene with a deer in the foreground. It is a simple image featuring shade of white, brown, blue, and black. It is postmarked Davenport, Iowa on December 25, 1919. The postcard is from “Joe” to his “Dear Friend Scotty” or rather a Mr. W.D. Scott of Amboy, Illinois.

This festive musical postcard (HOLIDAY PC013) does not state that it was printed in Germany. But from our translation of “Herzliche Neujahrs Gluckwunsche”, this greeting is “Happy New Years Congratulations” in German. The stamp and postmark are from Germany. It is addressed to August Roth at 1203 West 16th Street in Davenport from Grandmother. This 1930 greeting card is decorated with a group of four musicians playing in an outdoors snowy scene.

We hope these postcards spread the joy of the season to you and yours. To learn more about these postcards and more, check out our Archive & Manuscript Catalog.

(posted by Kathryn)

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In Memoriam: Liz Finkenhoefer

The Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center has lost another selfless volunteer and dear friend upon the death of Elizabeth Finkenhoefer. Liz was a steadfast volunteer from the Scott County Genealogical Society. She brought her sparkling eyes to SC every week to spend time indexing the Davenport Gazette newspaper from the 1870s; painstakingly recording snippets of personal and business information, gleaning what she could in order to assist fellow researchers in their quest for family history.

Liz was an excellent sleuth, having researched her family as well as her husband’s. Her enthusiastic approach and contagious laughter lifted everyone she was around. Clever, witty, upbeat, and dedicated this woman had an eye for detail. Liz hadn’t been able to come to Special Collections for a number of years, but it was always a joy when she would call requesting just one more little look-up.

Elizabeth “Liz” Carmela Moravek was born at Mercy Hospital in Davenport on November 29, 1923 to Aloysius Moravek and Thelma Byers who resided at 129 West Mississippi Boulevard, Bettendorf, Iowa. She married Chester Francis Finkenhoefer on February 8, 1943. More information about her life can be found in her obituary: https://www.hmdfuneralhome.com/obituary/Elizabeth-Finkenhoefer

Image of Liz Finkenhoefer.

At nearly 98 years of age, we know she led a meaningful life and enjoyed many adventures along her genealogical journey. Cheers to the Czechs and Liz (Moravek) Finkenhoefer. She will be sorely missed.

(posted by Karen and Cristina)

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Thanksgiving Recipes from Local Cookbooks

In need of some last-minute inspiration for your Thanksgiving dishes? Try these recipes from the Richardson-Sloane Special Collection Center’s Local Cookbooks Collection (SC 641.5)!

Kick off the festivities with The Farmer’s Bishop, an apple-orange punch sure to warm your guests as they come in from the cold:

Some celebratory seasonal salads:

Davenport Central High School, 2012
Sacred Heart Cathedral, 1972

Dress the turkey with this oyster stuffing:


Tired of turkey? How about pheasant instead?


Or perhaps fried squirrel, rabbit, or other game?


Send in the sides!


Eat your veggies!


Rolls from the bowlers:


And for dessert? Pies, of course!

Capri College, 1997

Hopefully, you won’t need this “receipt” afterwards:

Collected in the early 20th century

Happy Thanksgiving from the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center! Visit us at the Main Street location for more holiday recipes from the Local Cookbooks Collection!

(posted by Katie)

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Prost! Brewing History in Davenport: Thiedemann’s Brewery Tap

Breweries in Davenport and across the Quad Cities are experiencing a renaissance. As these businesses add themselves to the impressive list of local businesses, we are inspired to research some of the history of the breweries and other establishments where one would partake in refreshing beverages. Some of the new breweries and drinkeries are found in the locations of former breweries, saloons, and liquor establishments from the past while others are forging their own marks on our cities’ built environments.

From our cities’ beginnings, the citizens have imbibed at local breweries. The profession and activities surrounding brewing has played an important role in the development of Davenport and the Quad Cities. As stated in The Breweries of Iowa by Randy Carlson, the start of brewing in Davenport began with Mathias Frahm’s The City Brewery in May 1850. He established his brewery on the corner of 6th and Harrison Streets. According to Carlson, brewing reached its zenith “in 1870 when the tenth annual convention of the United States Brewers Association was held in Davenport” (Carlson 18). Unfortunately, the brewers streak ended in 1956, a 106 years after it began. In Franc B. Wilkie’s well-known history of Davenport entitled Davenport: Past and Present, he notes in a “Census of the City of Davenport, Taken March 1858” that 14 individuals claimed brewer as their occupation and in comparison 65 individuals claimed saloon keeper (Wilkie 319). These two brief histories only scratch the surface on Davenport’s annals of brewing history.

With this history in mind, we delve into the history of one location acquainted with saloon keeping and brewing.

1910 Sanborn Insurance Map of Davenport.

1848 West 3rd Street secured its place in brewing history in 1890 with the opening of John Schnack’s grocery and saloon. Mr. Schnack was the proprietor of the “First Ward Hall.” His establishment spanned the address of 1848-1850 with the saloon residing at 1848. He was ran the business at two different time period from 1890-1899 and 1912-1915 (Burggraaf 690). He advertised in the local city directory in 1890 as a proprietor of a grocery store and saloon. According to his obituary published in The Davenport Democrat and Leader on March 11, 1919, Mr. Schnack was born in Germany on May 22, 1848. He married Miss Elizabeth Stark on September 17, 1872. He held the office of alderman and was a well-known figure in the community. He unexpectedly died March 10, 1919 of heart failure.

Advertisement from the 1890 Stone’s City Directory.
“John Schnack.” The Daily Times. Published on March 11, 1919 on page 7.

In The Saloon & Liquor Trade of Davenport, Iowa & Scott County 1836-1933, Burggraaf notes that from 1916 to 1932 Fred Thiedemann operated a soft drink parlor at 1848 West 3rd. He also makes the point of stating that, “The Thiedemann family maintained the business at this location throughout Prohibition, without any known raids.” (Burggraaf 690)

According to the city directories, the Thiedemann family operated a soft drink parlor and brewery tap at this location until around 1954. The establishment was known by many names such as the Thiedemann Tavern, Brewery Top Tavern, Brewery Tap, and Thiedemann’s Hall. Fredrick William Thiedemann, who took over the business from Mr. Schnack, was born September 27, 1875 to Peter Thiedemann and Adel Bahms. On November 3, 1897, he married Theresa J. Heidt, the daughter of Jacob Heidt and Kate Porth. Their children were Herbert Frederick and Frances A.

“F.W. Thiedemann, Soft Drink Bar Proprietor, Dies.” The Daily Times. Published on April 15, 1930 on page 6.

Herbert was born on December 9, 1900. On May 18, 1926, he married Marion Wolters at St. Joseph Catholic Church. He passed away from on heart attack on March 3, 1960 according to an obituary published in The Daily Times on March 4. His sister Frances married Guy A. Bean on June 30, 1920. Unfortunately, due to unknown circumstances, Frances was free to marry again. In 1927, her second marriage is to Arthur Ehlers. They had two children Arthur N. and Herbert A.

Over the course of their ownership and management, the Thiedemanns’ either lived above or near their establishment. The Thiedemanns’ where involved in a “Tavern Owners’ League,” a baseball team made up of tavern, saloon, and brewery owners. Their establishment was host to political events, dances, and other social events.

“Thiedemann’s Athletic Club.” Image was taken on Wednesday April 12, 1933. http://www.umvphotoarchive.org/digital/collection/scdpl/id/288/rec/1

In 2008, we wrote a blog about this interesting photograph because of its date and the end of prohibition. Read what we learned here in “History’s Mysteries: An Image of Prohibition?”.

“Thiedemann’s Stop Redmen 4-0.” Times-Democrat. Published on June 29, 1963 on page 2.
“Bartender and patrons at Thiedemann’s Brewery Tap.” Image was taken circa 1933. http://www.umvphotoarchive.org/digital/collection/scdpl/id/4821/rec/2

At the end of the Thiedemann’s tenure, they passed on the ownership to Arthur N. Ehlers, their nephew, who ran the business until 1963 when Richard L. Walters took it over until 1966. In 1967, Nilus Koupal took over for a brief period of a year until in 1968 when the Brewery Tap changed its name to Gridiron Tap under the management of Gerald J. Hillebrand. He passed on the ownership to Ralph C. Carr in 1970. Mr. Carr was the owner until 1973 when Ace Reynolds and Joe Carr took over as 1848 West 3rd Street’s last proprietors until 1977. According to the city directories, the address is not listed after this year. In the location today is a medical facility called the Sunderbruch Building.

Throughout its history, it was also Ernie’s Barber Shop and the Carpenter’s Local Union No. 726. We hope to explore more interesting breweries in future blog posts.


Burggraaf, Mike R. The Saloon & Liquor Trade of Davenport, Iowa & Scott County 1836-1933. [Iowa?]: Unidentified, 2016.

Carlson, Randy. The Breweries of Iowa. Bemidji, MN: Arrow Printing, 1985.

Sanborn Map Company. Insurance Maps of Davenport, Iowa, Volume One. New York, NY: Sanborn Map Company, 1910.

Wilkie, Franc B., Davenport: Past and Present; including the Early History, and Personal and Anecdotal Reminiscences. Davenport: Luse, Lane & Co., 1858.

(posted by Kathryn)

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WWI Veterans: Captain Comegys & Doctor Desmond

In honor of Veterans Day this year we are featuring 2 medical officers photographed by J.B. Hostetler in 1918.

Joseph Parsons Comegys was born November 21, 1866, in Covington, Kentucky to Cornelius Parsons and Sarah Jane (Good) Comegys. His maternal grandfather, Captain John Good, was one of the founders of the Moline Plow Company. He attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.; graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Chicago, Illinois in 1885; and graduated from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1891.

He moved with his parents to Rock Island in 1892 when his father transferred for his job with the Army Corps of Engineers. Joseph married Miss Elise Thompson of St. Louis, Missouri on May 29, 1894. The couple had 4 daughters.

Dr. Comegys served as Rock Island Health Commissioner from 1897-1899. During this time he made radical changes to improve garbage collection in the City. He was appointed assistant surgeon for the Tri-City Railway Company in 1899 and was the surgeon for the Burlington Railroad in 1905. He was elected president of the medical staff at St. Anthony’s Hospital in 1910. From 1909-1918 he had offices with Dr. Ralph Dart in Rock Island.

Dr. Comegys served as post surgeon at Rock Island Arsenal from 1913-1918, when he enlisted in the Medical Corps of the United States Army. During his time at the Arsenal, he was in charge of administering the Typhoid Fever vaccine to all U.S. engineers. He attained the rank of Captain in the medical corps in June 1918. Captain Comegys was assigned to the base hospital at Hoboken, New Jersey on August 17, 1918. He served as transport surgeon aboard the steamship Aquitania and at the debarkation hospitals in New York City.

Captain Comegys moved to New York City after his discharge in 1919. He served as stevedore surgeon for the Cunard steamship line in New York and as head of all medical work of the White Star steamship line, retiring from medical practice in 1929. Dr. Comegys died January 20, 1935, at his home 325 57th Street in New York City. His obituary was published in the Rock Island Argus on January 21, 1935.

Leonard M. Desmond was born November 30, 1890, in Moscow, Muscatine County, Iowa to Christopher and Anna (Miller) Desmond. Leonard was a newspaper carrier for The Daily Times in 1905. He served as an assistant forecaster in the Weather Bureau Davenport Office in 1907; transferred to Evansville in 1909; and to Washington D.C. in 1911. He studied dentistry at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and graduated in 1914. He came back to Davenport and opened a dental practice in the Davenport Savings Bank Building in July 1915.

Dr. Desmond was appointed dentist of Davenport Draft Board no. 1, providing dental care to the men selected for service. He entered the Dental Corps and was commissioned 1st Lieutenant, U.S. Army Reserves on August 23, 1917. He served with A.E.F. in France, stationed at Base Hospital No. 119. Lt. Desmond was honorably discharged from the Army Reserves on September 6, 1919. He then joined the American Red Cross and was a member of Paris Post No. 1 American Legion from November 1919 to July 1920.

Following his service in the American Red Cross, Dr. Desmond was commissioned Lieutenant in U.S. Navy in September 1921. He served aboard submarines and on hospital ships U.S.S. Relief and U.S. Destroyer Base in San Diego, retiring on December 27, 1927.

Dr. Desmond returned to the Navy for WWII, reenlisting on December 23, 1941. He served on the U.S. Naval Hospitals in San Diego and Long Beach, and at the U.S. Base Terminal Island. He retired with the rank of Commander on February 6, 1947.

Commander Leonard M. Desmond died March 19, 1971, in Los Angeles, California. His obituary was published in the Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram on March 20, 1971.

(posted by Cristina)


  • “Health affairs in the hands of Dr. J.P. Comegys.” The Rock Island Argus, July 31, 1897
  • “U.S. field force being vaccinated.” The Moline Dispatch, March 1, 1915
  • “Dr. Comegys is made a captain.” The Rock Island Arsenal, June 14, 1918
  • “Physician may go to New York City.” The Rock Island Argus, October 6, 1919
  • “Dr. Comegys, 69, succumbs to pneumonia.” The Rock Island Argus, January 21, 1935
  • “Appointed to Washington office.” Davenport Democrat and Leader, June 7, 1911
  • “Personals.” Davenport Democrat and Leader, June 23, 1914
  • “Desmond opens dental office.” Davenport Democrat and Leader, July 11, 1915
  • “Dr. L.M. Desmond to enter Navy Dental Corps.” Davenport Democrat and Leader, July 9, 1917
  • “Soldiers help local boards.” The Daily Times, September 20, 1918
  • “Desmond now in U.S. Navy.” The Daily Times, March 9, 1921
  • “Desmond – Leonard M.” Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram, March 20, 1971
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