Small Towns of Scott County: Read Beyond the Beaten Path

We’re over halfway done with our Summer Reading Program for 2022! If you are looking for other activities to check off your reading log, we have a couple options for you! The two activities are “Read a book with a location in its title” and “Read a book about the Quad City area”. It doesn’t mean you can’t use these books for other activities on the list either!

We selected a lineup of books with Scott County small town names in their titles. We encourage you to explore and learn about the communities that make up Scott County. They are rich in history and full of interesting characters.

Map of Scott County, Iowa, Dickerson Map Service, 1941.
2021-28: Scott County, Iowa Map by Dickerson Map Service.

This is a map produced by Dickerson Map Service 208 Nineteenth Street, Rock Island, Illinois, and sponsored by Joe Wagner Realty Co. Davenport, Iowa – H.F. Roggenkamp Farm Broker.

Blue Grass

This souvenir booklet celebrates the centennial of Blue Grass’s platting in 1853. First settlers arrived in 1836! It provides a history of the town, a list of early settlers, and photocopied images of the town, its buildings, and its people.

America’s Bicentennial in 1976 was a wellspring for reflecting and writing about one’s community history! In our collections, we have a number of similar titles like this one that covers the 140-year history of Blue Grass. This book contains histories of the town, township, and its people. It also includes expanded sections on transportation methods, lists of past leadership roles such as a list of mayors, notable firsts for the town, and information about social life and businesses. Another unique characteristic of this book is that it features advertisements from Blue Grass and the surrounding cities’ businesses and organizations.

Catherine Guy wrote this fascinating repository of facts, images, and stories for the sesquicentennial of Blue Grass. She spans the history of Blue Grass from prehistory to 2003! There is something to interest everyone in the book!

Buffalo

Buffalo, one of the river towns in Scott County, started as a land claim by Captain Benjamin W. Clark born in Virginia in 1797. In 1833, he and his family crossed the Mississippi River from Andalusia, Illinois to begin developing this inviting land. In May 1836, the town of Buffalo was platted and named after Buffalo, New York where Dr. Pillsbury a recent landowner was a former resident. This history of Buffalo by the resident, Reverend Ronald D. Larson, shows that every town no matter how small has a history worth telling.

Dixon

A Written and Pictorial History of Dixon, Iowa, by Amy Flynn, 2004.
Call Number: SC 977.769 FLY

This history of Dixon was first written by Roger Dahms for the town’s centennial celebrations in 1954 and was continued and expanded by Amy Flynn for its sesquicentennial in 2004. Amy’s research included adding more historical photos of Dixon’s history. Roger’s history of Dixon gathers together family histories of early settlers, information about the early industry, education, and religious organizations as well as about their sports teams and boom years.

Durant

Durant Centennial, July 31 – August 1, 1954, by The Durant Centennial Committee, 1954. Call Number: SC 977.766 Dur

The town of Durant lies in three counties: Scott, Cedar, and Muscatine. At the time this history was published the authors state that it was a Cedar County community. This history covers the history of Durant from its platting in 1854 by Benjamin B. Brayton to 1954, a hundred years latter. It features a historical overview of the town and its peoples.

Eldridge

Eldridge, Iowa, 100 Years, 1871-1971 Centennial, 1971. Call Number: SC 917.7697 Eld

Jacob M. Eldridge arrived in Davenport in 1845. He worked as one of the first land agents and had dealing with railroad companies. Eldridge was surveyed in 1870 by Tom Murry and laid out by Jacob Eldridge. In 1871, Eldridge was established and was first know as Eldridge Junction. It was developed because the railroad passed through that area.

This history shares information about who the first settlers were, what they did for their livings, and how they socialized and created the community which is still thriving.

Le Claire

Dorothy Lage’s history of Le Claire is a valuable resource for anyone interested in this river town’s past. It shares Le Claire’s beginnings starting in 1833 with a planned townsite by Antoine Le Claire with the assistance of George Davenport, Enoch March, and John Reynolds. The town was not laid out officially until 1836. Nearby the village of Parkhurst was already being developed. It would later be incorporated into the city of Le Claire.

Dorothy writes about Le Claire’s charming and pastoral history including its river pilots, Buffalo Bill, and the Green Tree! She provides access to those topics and much more in this book!

Long Grove

This fourteen-page history is not short of information about the small town of Long Grove. Each page is overflowing with information about Long Grove. A particularly interesting story is about the James Brownlie house. It was constructed in 1830s from blocks of mud mixed with prairie grass also known as sod! It was a rare construction for this area. The building is still standing and can be visited by the public.

Eleanor shares the community’s involvement in Scott County’s growth in the late 1800s and early 1900s as well as national events such as the Civil War and the world wars.

Maysville/Amity

The town of Maysville began as a communal established by six Schleswig-Holstein army officers who dreams of starting a cooperative farming venture. This was called Amity. After a few years, the communal was disbanded, and in 1851, Captain James May purchased land in Section 15 of Hickory Grove township. W. P. Campbell, a surveyor, platted the town of Maysville in August 1856.

Maysville grew and flourished similarly to other towns in Scott County. This area was full of valuable farmland which sustained and nourished a rich agrarian culture of 4H clubs and nature activities.

This history captures the town’s past and current history! It provides a number of intriguing images and stories about the area.

Pleasant Valley

A Study of the Onion Industry in Pleasant Valley, Iowa, by A. T. Erwin and W. L. Harter, 1925. Call Number: SC 635.25 Erw

This study of the onion industry which dominated the farming industry in Pleasant Valley was published in 1925. It surveyed its early history, the reasons why this land was chosen to grow onions, the effects of insects and diseases on onion crops, and a general overview of production associated with this crop.

This history is unlike the others in the list, because although it discusses the people who settled this area, it is focus on the industry that made the area well-known.

Princeton

Dorothy Lage wrote this history of Princeton after her history of Le Claire, its neighboring river town. Princeton was first settled in 1836. The town grew as the area around it was settled and developed. Dorothy writes about the many stories and people associated with Princeton. She devotes most of the book to the late 1800s and early 1900s. She shares images of the town and its people as well as maps of the land.

Riverdale

Riverdale is a small community nestled between Bettendorf and Pleasant Valley. It was incorporated on December 27, 1950. Its incorporation was spurred by the City of Bettendorf’s plans to annex the land that make up Riverdale. With a blend of agriculture and industry, this community developed and grew.

This history covers the early days of this area and its development into the town of Riverdale.

Walcott

Published in 1954 in celebration of Walcott’s Centennial anniversary, this book provides readers with a general overview of Walcott’s first 100 years. It features images of residents, building, and much more. Similar to other histories, it documents the town’s industrial growth and changes in transportation, communication and everyday life. The book offers lists of various business and important people in the community.

This history of Walcott spans only a few more than the one above, but it was commission to commemorate the United States’ Bicentennial in 1976. It contains similar information to the book above. It does differ by including poem submissions from residents as well as spotlights of prominent social organizations of the time.

Walcott: The Early Years, 1854-1954 is a pictorial history emphasizing images of its residents and their activities, its buildings, and its businesses.

We hope this inspires you to visit the towns that make up Scott County and learn about our area’s vibrant and interesting history.

(posted by Kathryn)

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