Cool Donations: The Priester Collection

The Priester Construction Company has been a part of Davenport, Iowa since Walter and Oscar Priester, both native Davenporters, founded it in 1919—in fact, the company seems to have helped build most of it, from schools to companies to the Scott County Courthouse . . . to a certain public library on Main Street.

The above image shows over sixty of the local projects Priester Construction completed between its founding and 1967.  In the forty-odd years since this map was published, the company has completed many, many others.

And in 2009, Priester passed many of their archived project drawings, shop drawings, specs, and blueprints to our Special Collections Center.

We immediately started a project of our own: humidifying, unrolling, identifying, measuring, classifying, indexing, and shelving the project packets.*

It wasn’t a quick process, but it was fascinating.

The majority of plans we retained are for additions or renovations to existing buildings and in most cases, a complete set of blueprints, schematics, and/or shop drawings aren’t available—but what is available offers glimpses into the familiar buildings and landmarks of Davenport and the planning behind them.

So if you’re researching the history or construction of a commercial property or landmark in Davenport, don’t forget to check our Priester Collection.  We may be able to get you in on the ground floor!


*Most of the organization work for this project was done by our own Karen O., but everyone took turns feeding the humidification chambers!


Sources Used:

Advertisement, Priester Construction. Times-Democrat, December31, 1967, p. E7


(posted by Sarah)



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One Response to Cool Donations: The Priester Collection

  1. Doug Smith says:

    I was just wondering if Henry C. Priester (Davenport High School Class of Feb. 1907) had anything to do with Priester Construction? He apparently married a daughter of Patrick Walsh, the founder of Walsh Construction. There must be a connection there somewhere. I was surprised to read that he was not one of the founders. Thanks!

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