We’re Number One: Davenport Firsts

We felt like bragging this week, so we’ve brought out a brief list of some of the statewide or national things that happened first in Davenport.

 In rough chronological order:

 The first locomotive in Iowa was delivered in Davenport on July 20, 1855. 

 The first Railroad bridge over the Mississippi River was finished in April of 1856.  On May 6, two weeks later, the Effie Afton became the first steamboat to collide with a Mississippi River railroad bridge.

 In 1858, Abraham S. Kissell was appointed Superintendent of the newly formed Davenport and Scott County schools system, becoming the first school superintendent in Iowa.

 Phebe W. Sudlow was possibly the first woman principal of a public school in the United States (promoted in 1859) and was definitely the first female superintendent of schools in Iowa—and perhaps also the United States (appointed in 1874).* 

 The First National Bank of Davenport was the first US Bank to open under the National Banking Act of 1863.  The bank secured the very first certificate issued by the United States under the new Act.

 The first recorded appendectomy in the United States was performed at Mercy Hospital in 1883.

 The Crescent Macaroni Company, built in 1894, was the first macaroni manufacturer in the United States.

 D.D. Palmer made the first chiropractic adjustment in Davenport on September 18, 1895, and later established Palmer College of Chiropractic, the first of its kind in the United States.

 Alexander F. Victor owned nearly 80 patents for his motion picture inventions.  Among these inventions were the first 16mm projectors and cameras, which his Davenport-based company, Victor Animatograph began manufacturing in 1923.  The Eastman Kodak Company produced the 16mm film to be used with the machines, a combination that eventually led to the standardization of equipment for non-professional photographers and producers of home movies.

The Centennial Bridge, the first four-lane highway to span the Mississippi River, opened on July 12, 1940, connecting Davenport to Rock Island, Illinois.


* Miss Sudlow was also elected the first female president of the Iowa State Teachers Association (in 1876) and the first female professor at the University of Iowa (hired in 1878).  These aren’t exactly firsts for Davenport, per se, but she’s one of us, so we think they should count.





(Posted by Sarah)

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One Response to We’re Number One: Davenport Firsts

  1. Adrian says:

    Let’s hear it for Davenport!

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