Davenporters of Note: Herman J. Zeuch and the Indian River Farms Company


We made it through February 2019! Does the current weather have you dreaming of warmer climes?  Perhaps Davenport businessman Herman J. Zeuch felt the same in 1912 when he purchased 55,000 acres of land on the east coast of Florida. He and his partners in the Indian River Farms Company hoped “Tri-Cities” and other folks wanted to escape harsh winters–as well as make money as citrus-growers–a in a new agricultural community.  Advertisements in the Davenport newspapers invited prospective tract buyers on “Sunshine and Opportunity” excursions “….to spend a little time among the orange blossoms.” [2]

Ralph W. Cram visited the Indian River Farms settlement that by 1916 had developed into the town of Vero, Florida.  He reported on the drainage project that transformed “…section after section of marsh and saw grass land into the truck farms and citrus groves that were in Zeuch’s vision as he shooed away the ‘gators and tramped and waded the tract…” [3]

The promotional Indian River Farmermagazine, published at the company’s headquarters in the Putnam Building (W. 2nd Street, Davenport), was essential to the success of Zeuch’s efforts in Florida.

Masthead of the Indian River Farmer, Vol. 2, No. 5, April 1914

We have searched in vain for copies of this publication and other materials that might help us tell more of Herman J. Zeuch’s story. Please contact the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center if you have any further information!

(posted by Katie)


[1] A portfolio of cartoons as published by the Davenport Times 1912-13. Davenport, Iowa: Davenport Times, 1913.

[2] Davenport Daily Times, Dec. 21, 1912.

[3] Cram, Ralph W. “What Davenporters Are Doing in Florida.” Davenport Democrat and Leader, Feb. 27, 1916.

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