Fall in the Quad Cities brings the return of many well-loved things. Beautiful fall leaves along the Mississippi River, pumpkin patches and apple orchards, and Friday night football games.
Many of our local high schools have mascots who attend games and events. We thought we would explore some of the earlier versions of these mascots. Before the 1960s, it was common for local high schools to be known by their school colors or nicknames in newspaper articles. It wasn’t until the 1960s that mascots began to appear at pep rallies and games to help create a more festive atmosphere among the student sections. Many of the early mascot costumes were made at home or in school.
High schools in Davenport, Iowa have existed since 1861. The high school building at 1120 Main Street opened in 1907 as Davenport High School and served Davenport and other students throughout Scott County. Originally, the school nicknames included Red and Blue (the school colors), the Blues, the Hill Toppers (as the school was at the top of a hill), and the Moon Men in reference to boys basketball coach, Paul Moon.
In 1935, the Davenport High School Blue Devils came into creation through the efforts of Coach Paul Moon and students Bill Rivikin and Lenvil Simmons. It wasn’t until 1940 that the students were nicknamed the Imps (for small mischievous devils). With the opening of Davenport West High School in 1960, Davenport High School was renamed Davenport Central High School. The Blue Devil mascot and the nickname the Imps continued until the late 1960s when the nickname the Imps disappeared and the Blue Devil became the only mascot.
Davenport West High School opened in 1960. The students chose the colors red and white with a falcon mascot to represent the new school. A naming contest was held with Freddy, Fenwick, and Ferdy the top names suggested by students. Freddie with an -ie on the end won out.
Bettendorf High School in Bettendorf, Iowa opened in August 1951. The students chose black and gold as their school colors along with a bulldog for the mascot. The first image of a mascot we found was from 1960, and it was more adorable than fierce, in our opinion.
Assumption High School in Davenport is a private Catholic school that opened in August 1958. Originally a co-institutional school before becoming co-educational in 1970. Scarlet red, black, and white were chosen as their school colors along with the knights as their mascot and nickname. The school’s first living person Knight appeared in 1970 during football games.
North Scott High School in Eldridge, Iowa, opened on September 8, 1958. The school chose a Lancer as their mascot and scarlet and silver as the school colors. Now known as the Lancers, the school’s first mascot was not a person in a costume, but a papier-mache six-foot replica of a lancer built in 1968 by student Debbie Reid.
Our final school for this blog shows how much mascot costumes have changed over the years. Davenport North High School opened in August 1985 with the school colors of blue and gold. The wildcat was the mascot and nickname chosen for the school. When the wildcat was introduced at the football games in 1985, it looked very different from the original Freddie the Falcon or the Bettendorf Bulldog from the 1960s.
We hope you enjoyed this look back at our local mascots. We sadly could not find a picture of an early version of the Pleasant Valley High School (which opened in 1961) Spartan mascot to add to this blog. We will be on the lookout though!
(posted by Amy D.)