Clausen & Kruse, Summer 1923

The Davenport Public Library is pleased to have architectural historian and guide Ellen Shapley back to offer her “The Heart of Downtown Davenport: Architectural Styles and Stories” walking tours. During the kick-off tour, she described some of the “building booms” (periods when many buildings are being built) experienced by the city. One of these was in full swing exactly a century ago. The design firm behind many of the new projects underway in the summer of 1923 was Clausen & Kruse Architects.

Davenport Democrat and Leader, November 19, 1923, page 27

By the end of May 1923, the structure of the new Democrat newspaper building at 409-413 Brady Street had begun rise from its freshly-poured concrete foundation; contractors John Soller & Sons predicted construction would be completed by November. The “substantial yet ornamental” building promised to be the “last word in architectural newspaper construction and the “acme of the builder’s art” because Clausen & Kruse had carefully researched the successful and unsuccessful features the of other area newspaper plants before drawing up their plans (Davenport Democrat and Leader, May 20, 1923, page 20).

This image from our J.B. Hostetler Collection shows the Democrat building when it opened in 1924:

The evening of Tuesday, June 5th brought the formal opening of the Lend-A-Hand Club on Front Street, another Clausen & Kruse-designed building. These two images are from Special Collections’ postcard collection:

Later in June, Clausen & Kruse’s addition to the Davenport Public Library opened to the public. This interior view was published on page 12 of the Davenport Democrat and Leader for June 20, 1923:

And this exterior view is available from our image collection (#VM89-000460):

In early July, Clausen & Kruse were awarded the contract to build the two new schools that would come to be named the Hayes and Garfield elementary schools. This photograph was published in the Daily Times on December 31, 1924:

According to the July 2, 1923 edition of the Daily Times (page 4), the Clausen & Kruse-designed Masonic Temple at 7th and Main Streets was nearly complete: just a few interior plaster decorations, some electrial work, and landscaping remained. Another image from our postcard collection:

Our Ephemera Collection includes this informational brochure distributed to the Masons when their building opened in November of 1923:

Said the caption for the above portraits in the Davenport Democrat and Leader, November 19, 1923, page 27, “It is a fact worthy of note that both Mr. Clausen and Mr. Kruse are prominent Masons and took a deep personal pride in making the new Temple the finest exclusively Masonic building in the west.”

Another fraternal society, Davenport Aerie No. 235 Fraternal Order of Eagles, entrusted Clausen & Kruse with its new building at 4th and Scott Streets. The architects were present at an August meeting (Daily Times, August 31, 1923, page 16) to update society members on the project’s progress. Today this building is better known as the home of the Danceland Ballroom. This c. 1980s sale brochure for the property is included in our Ephemera Collection:

The firm of Clausen & Kruse also completed drawings for the Credit Island Lodge in August 1923. See Special Collections’ May 2013 blog post on the Lodge for more information and a look at the blueprints from our Architectural Drawings collection.

The RSSC Center’s Architectural Drawings collection also includes plans for another Clausen & Kruse building under construction in the summer of 1923: a warehouse for the Builders’ Lime and Cement Company at the corner of Front St. (W. River Dr.) and Western Avenue, now home to the Davenport Printing Company.

Priester Construction Company Architectural Drawings, 2009-10, Project No. 70

Please join us for one of the next downtown Davenport walking tours on Monday, August 7th at 6PM, Monday September 11 at 6PM, ore Saturday, October 21st at 10AM to learn more about the work of Clausen & Kruse and other local architects.

(posted by Katie)

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