#ColorOurCollections Coloring Book & The Work of Patrick J. Costello

This week marks the always anticipated #ColorOurCollections Week started by The New York Academy of Medicine Library in 2016. #ColorOurCollections is a week-long coloring fest event at the beginning of February that supports the exploration and connections between libraries, their collections, and their communities.  Institutions from around the world share free coloring content created from materials in their collections. The Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center has had the immense delight to participate in this campaign since 2018.

Our 2019 coloring book features the enchantingly historical sketches by the talented artist, Patrick J. Costello. Many of his works were featured in the publications of Focus on Family magazine, Landmark Sketchbook, and Legends of Our Land, originally found in the Times-Democrat and the Quad City Times newspapers.  He also taught art workshops to  community members as well as owned his own art gallery and frame shop, Costello’s Old Mill in Maquoketa, Iowa. 

 As we were picking out what to select for this year’s coloring book, we researched the man behind the sketches. 

Patrick Costello’s senior photograph. Davenport High School (Iowa), Blackhawk, 41 (1958): 51

Patrick James Costello was born February 13, 1940 in Omaha, NE to Martin J. and Margaret (Birkel) Costello. He graduated from Davenport High School in 1958, where he became interested in painting. He earned accolades for a conservation poster for a contest supported by the Davenport Garden Center as well as a second place award for a Halloween display. He uses his surrounding environment including his community and nature to inspire his artistic endeavors. 

“His Next Canvas-A Canvasback.” Times-Democrat (Davenport, IA) March 23, 1958.

After returning from San Fernando, California, where he and his wife, Joan resided for their first years of marriage, Patrick worked as designer for the Davenport Times-Democrat’s FOCUS on Family magazine section from the mid 1960s through the mid 1970s. The community discovered he was more than just an excellent illustrator. In the article below, Tracy, one of Patrick and Joan’s twin daughter, celebrates his hobby of collecting antiques. 

Times_Democrat-Landmark Sketchbook_Sun__Mar_8__1970_82

Times_Democrat-Focus on the Family_Sun__Jul_7__1968_Cover

His delightful illustrations were featured in the publications Landmark Sketchbook, Legends of Our Land, and the Davenport City Government annual reports for 1969 and 1970.

Times_Democrat-Landmark Sketchbook_Sun__Mar_8__1970_79

In 1978, he purchased and restored a 1867 stone grist mill in Maquoketa, Iowa, which became Costello’s Old Mill Gallery. The mill was renovated with authentic details of an original water wheel and interior woodwork all in oak. His gallery was recognized as an institution for wildlife art and framing. 

“A Collection of Art.” Quad City Times (Davenport, IA), Aug. 11, 2002.

Patrick’s passion for painting is still going strong. Patrick is a member the Sonoma Arts League in Arizona. Some of his paintings have been turned into jigsaw puzzles.

Check out this year’s coloring book on the New York Academy of Medicine’s #ColorOurCollections site for Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center, Davenport Public Library Coloring Book 2019

We also have it available on our blog: #ColorOurCollections-The Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center.

If you want to check out more coloring pages, follow this link: #ColorOurCollections


“Costello’s Old Mill Gallery.” Quad City Times (Davenport, IA), Nov. 23, 1979, 5.

(posted by Kathryn & Cristina) 

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Cholera Scare of 1873

Cholera was not a new visitor to Davenport in 1873. A few short years before in 1866, Davenport suffered from an outbreak of cholera. The spread of cholera, as mysterious as it was at the time, has a simple explanation: the water. Before water was identified as the tool that transmitted cholera, there were several theories of how cholera spread. The predominant belief was that cholera spread through unpleasant, unhealthy smells or miasmas. Odoriferous air or vapors were believed to have noxious effects on those who breathed it. This theory dates back to the Middle Ages and persisted until the middle of the 19th century.

In an attempt to reduce the effects of miasmas, many towns and cities enforce Nuisance Acts or advisement to rid their homes, streets, and rivers of materials that caused foul smells, and Davenport was no different. In many of the articles, there were statements about cleaning up dwellings, streets, and alleys. In addition to cholera’s mysterious spread, it also was confusing because of its various names. There were three names or types of cholera: Asiatic Cholera, Cholera Morbus, and Cholera. To make the situation even more confusing, some of the reported cases were not diagnosed as “real cholera” because they were cases of illnesses with similar symptoms to cholera. 

“The Cholera Scare.” Daily Davenport (Davenport, IA), June 7, 1873.

By the 1850s, there were more scientific answers to the cause and spread of cholera. In the article, “Cholera: The Subject Discussed in the British Medical Association,” the author relates contemporary thoughts on the mitigation and transmission of cholera. Dr. John Snow, a scientist from England, was attempting to prove how cholera was being spread through its victims because he noticed cases of cholera springing up in neighborhoods formerly untouched by cholera. Through his studies, he realized the connection was the consumption of water contaminated by feces of infected persons. 

Daily Democrat, September 17, 1873, page 2.

An article further link water to the spread of disease. “Water and Disease.” Daily Democrat (Davenport, IA), Sept. 4, 1873.

Although the cases of cholera did not reach epidemic numbers, Davenport citizens felt its effects. Articles in the Daily Democrat express the deep sorrow at the loss of citizens young and old. Some of the stories were more elaborately described than others, such as, “Taken Away in His Youth,” an article about a twenty-year-old man named, Christopher Brown. 

Death of Christoper Brown. “Taken Away in His Youth.” Daily Democrat (Davenport, IA), Aug. 29, 1873.

The bodies of the deceased were treated in various ways. Some were buried per the family’s wish and other were cremated to prevent the spread of the disease. 

“Death’s Doings.” Daily Democrat (Davenport, IA), Oct. 7, 1873.

Even though many articles about the cases of cholera in Davenport stated no need to become alarmed, they did warn to be vigilant about cleanliness. Another way people of Davenport could protect themselves were the various tonics and supplements advertised in the Daily Democrat. Many used suggestive descriptions of cholera and its effects.

Dr. McCabe’s Renowned Medicated Blackberry Brandy. “Cholera.” Daily Democrat (Davenport, IA), Aug. 29, 1873.

“The Great Disinfectant.” Daily Democrat (Davenport, IA), Jun. 1, 1873.

“Starch. Kingsford’s Oswego Corn Starch.” Daily Democrat (Davenport, IA), Nov. 29, 1873.

“The King of Cough Remedies, Case’s Compound Syrup of Tar.” Daily Democrat (Democrat, IA), Jul. 24, 1873.


This cholera remedy uses ingredients like camphor, red pepper, peppermint, and a commonly prescribed medicine of opium. The success rates of these remedies are unknown. During the 18th century, modern medicine’s treatment of infectious diseases improved through scientific advances. 

Cholera did appear in Davenport again, however, through means of better sewer systems and waste disposal the spread was mitigated. In the late 1800s, concerned citizens appealed to the City Council to allow them to install sewers and drainage systems. Below are letters from our Davenport City Council Papers collection.  


 (posted by Kathryn)

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The Old/Original Antoine LeClaire Homestead/Residence/Treaty House/Railroad Depot

Researching the home built by Antoine LeClaire on the site of the Black Hawk Treaty is quite a challenge.  There have been at least 3 different buildings in Davenport called “The LeClaire House.” There’s LeClaire’s 2nd home, the mansion built in 1855 and still standing at 630 E 7th Street, and The LeClaire House Hotel, the first hotel in Davenport, built in 1839 on 2nd Street, now site of The Current ~ Iowa.

To be clear, we’re talking about “Antoine LeClaire’s old residence,” “Antoine LeClaire’s Treaty Site Home,” “The Old LeClaire Homestead,” “The Antoine LeClaire Home,” “The Old Antoine LeClaire House,” or “Antoine LeClaire’s Original House,” as it has been variously called in the history books and newspapers.

The house was restored, rebuilt, and moved several times.  By the time the Rock Island Railroad had it restored and presented to the D.A.R. to use a historic site in 1925, there was nothing left of the original home built by LeClaire in 1833. 

From it’s original location at the site of the Black Hawk Treaty to it’s final location on the grounds of the Davenport Public Museum, here’s a timeline of events with pictures and maps: 

1832 Sep 21 – Treaty with the Sac & Fox tribes signed. Chief Keokuk set aside a section of land on which the treaty was signed and gave it to Marguerite & Antoine LeClaire on condition that they build their permanent home on the site.

1833 Spring – Original home erected at 5th & Farnam, on the spot where Gen. Scott stood during the treaty. Antoine’s nephew Joe said the house was built of hewn logs, then boarded over, was 1 ½ stories, with 3 gables, and 3 rooms upstairs (for Joe LeClaire, servants, and a guest room).  LeClaire’s own writings describe it as having 3 rooms on the 1st floor that were 20 square feet each, so the house was 60 feet long: “It looked like a bungalow with great caves and quaint little dormer windows and portico in the front and rear.”

1853 Sep 01 – LeClaire gave the home to the Mississippi & Missouri Railroad to use as the first depot west of the Mississippi. The home was occupied by Benjamin F. Carmichael, the railroad contractor.

1855 Dec 07 – The house was converted into a passenger depot by the Mississippi & Missouri Railroad.  A platform was built between the house and the track.  The depot had a room for ladies, another for gentlemen, and a third for the use of the freight agent.

1856 Jul 26 – The New Freight Depot was built in the garden of the LeClaire House/Passenger Depot.

1866 Jun 12 – The Chicago, Rock Island,and Pacific Railroad Company in Iowa (Pacific No. 1) was incorporated “for the purpose of purchasing, acquiring, and owning the railroad now built by the Mississippi and Missouri Rail Road Company, together with all and singular the railway lands used and occupied for right-of-way.”

1871 Dec – The new Government Bridge changed the line of the road through the city and necessitated the removal of the passenger depot. A newspaper article from October 26, 1872 states that the LeClaire’s old residence was only used as a passenger depot for “…a year or so, when the present passenger depot took its place.”

1872 Dec 09 – A newspaper article on this date states “…before many days tracks will occupy the space once occupied by the old passenger depot.”  Contractor Louis Arnould moved it to the rear of 418-420 W. 5th Street, on an alley near 5th & Scott Streets. The roof was replaced; a new foundation, basement, and second story attic were added, leaving only the upper portion intact.  There were several efforts at restoring and rebuilding in later years.

1923 Oct 03 – A resolution of intention to condemn the house was passed by the Davenport City Council.  Mrs. Dorothea Vollmer, the owner of the house, asked that the action be delayed.

1925 May – Restored by the Rock Island railroad and moved to 5th & Pershing Streets. Col. Edgar R. Harlan, curator of the Historical, Memorial, and Art Department of the State of Iowa (which merged with the State Historical Society in 1974), supervised the move. The Central Engineering Company of Davenport rebuilt it “…as nearly as possible to its original condition…” and presented it to the Hannah Caldwell Chapter of the DAR.

1944 Oct – Moved to the lawn of the Davenport Public Museum at 7th and Brady Streets.  This building was only 38 feet long and the timbers were cut with a circular saw (per Des Moines architect in 1857).

1965 Jan – Razed at the same time as the Davenport Public Museum building.  What was left was an upstairs addition to the original LeClaire “Treaty House” at the turn of the [20th] Century.


(posted by Cristina)


Daily Iowa State Democrat 26 July 1856: 3.

“Burtis House Memorial to Congress.” Daily Davenport Democrat 23 December 1871: 1.

Downer, Harry E. History of Davenport and Scott County Iowa: Illustrated. Vol. 1. Chicago: S. J. Clarke, 1910. 2 vols.

“First Home Built In Davenport by Antoine LeClaire Still Stands.” The Daily Times 5 February 1916: 12.

“First Railroad Station West of Mississippi and Home of Antoine LeClaire Saved by City Council.” The Daily Times 3 October 1923: 11.

Hayes, William Edward. Iron road to empire: the history of 100 years of the progress and achievements of the Rock Island lines. New York: Simmons-Boardman, 1953.

“LeClaire House Being Moved.” The Democrat and Leader 4 October 1944: 2.

“Railroad Items.” The Daily Davenport Gazette 7 December 1855: 3.

“Re-Enact City’s Founding in LeClaire Memorial Dedication.” The Davenport Democrat and Leader 24 May 1925: 22.

“Restored LeClaire Home Stands as Memorial to First Davenport Citizen.” The Daily Times 25 May 1925: 4.

“Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Davenport, Scott County, Iowa.” 1910-1950. Library of Congress. Map. <https://www.loc.gov/resource/g4154dm.g02624195002>.

“Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Davenport, Scott County, Iowa.” 1892. Library of Congress. Map. <http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g4154dm.g026241892>.

“The City In Brief.” Daily Davenport Democrat 9 December 1872: 1.

“The First Railroad Station in Davenport Was the Original Antoine LeClaire Homestead.” The Davenport Democrat and Leader 20 July 1924: New Home Edition.

“The Oldest House In The City Of Davenport.” The Davenport Democrat 20 September 1903: 5.

“Uncover Lost Secret Of Old LeClaire House.” Sunday Times-Democrat 24 January 1965: 3D.

Wilkie, Franc B. Davenport, past and present. Davenport: Luse, Lane & Co., 1858.


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40th Anniversary of the Blizzard of January 1979

This blog could easily have been titled “40th Anniversary of the Winter of 1978 – 1979: The winter that would not end“. We are sure if felt that way to many people in the Quad Cities.

In 2009, we wrote a blog on this event. It includes in-depth details with snow amounts and timeline of events. Please click here for that article.

We thought to revisit the anniversary of the blizzard of January 1979 this week as blogging has changed in the past ten years. We are now able to easily add photographs and images to our blog which was not the case in 2009.

We hope you enjoy this more visual look back at January 1979. We wonder if it will bring back memories for any of our readers.

The blizzard of January 1979 began on January 11th and lasted through January 19th. The area had already been hit with large amounts of snow and was overwhelmed by the additional inches and freezing cold temperatures that arrived starting on January 11th.

The Quad City Times, January 14, 1979. Pg. 1.

This photograph shows Davenport City Hall. The back of the photo is only marked January 1979.

2008-20. City Hall in January 1979. Taken from corner of Harrison and 4th Streets. A fun observation is the phone both on the corner near City Hall!

Cars had to be abandoned on the road during the worst of the storm. Snowmobiles were used to rescue drivers trapped in the snowy conditions.

The Quad City Times, January 15, 1979. Pg. 1.

Our next photo provides a look west down 4th Street in downtown Davenport. The tall brick building on the right side is now gone and the current Davenport Police Department stands in that location. The buildings on the left side still stand, though the used car lot is now a parking lot.

2008-20. Corner of 4th and Harrison Streets looking west. Plows had no way to keep up with the snow so mounds were pushed into the middle of the road to keep cars moving. The snow was then piled into dump trucks that dumped the snow into the Mississippi River. There was no where else to go with it. January 1979.

The hits kept coming between January 11 and January 19, 1979.

The Quad City Times, January 16, 1979. Pg. 1.

A city buried deep by January 16, 1979 and more snow was on the way. 

The Quad City Times, January 16, 1979. Pg. 2.

By the end of the blizzard, snow covered cars, reached the gutters of one-story houses, and caused roofs to collapse under the weight of the snow. 

2008-20. Unidentified woman shoveling out her driveway and car. January 1979.

2008-20. Some progress made as the car is more visible. After all the digging out, more snow would fall in January, February, and March. Photo taken January 1979.

After looking at the headlines and photos from 1979, we are thankful we haven’t faced another winter of 1978 – 1979.

We also hope the unidentified woman in the last two photographs managed to dig her car out before February!

(posted by Amy D.)

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Davenport Inventors

Many of us don’t often think about how everyday objects came to be: washing machines, zippers, fire escapes, even the board games we play. But behind them all is a person with an idea.

Davenport citizens have been responsible for a startling number of those ideas over the years. The Iowa Inventions Database lists 5,412 patents in Scott County between 1843 and 2009, 4,103 of them in Davenport alone. And it’s useful to keep in mind that these are only inventions that have been patented. Obtaining a patent is usually a long and expensive process involving attorney fees, so our information is limited to those with the financial means to file for one.

Some of the following inventions created by Davenport residents are imperative to safety, some are strange, and all are useful.

Photograph of the Peterson Paper Co. from the Richardson-Sloane Special Collection Center Collections.

Fires were common in the 19th century, so much that the Peterson Paper Company was constructed to be “fire-proof.” The following Davenport inventors were attempting to improve the safety of fire escapes for their fellow citizens.

Heuermann, John. “Fire Escape.” US 96,698, United States Patent and Trademark Office, 9 Nov. 1869. Google Patents.

John Heuermann’s 1869 patent for a fire escape that could be wheeled to the aid of those needing rescue. Wheeled fire escapes existed at the time, but Heuermann claimed his to be more stable so that the escape would “stand plumb.”

Wahle, Lorenz. “Fire Escape.” US 105.280, United States Patent and Trademark Office, 12 July 1870. Google Patents.

Lorenz Wahle’s similar design (1870), this time employing a “screw power for operating the…jointed frame and ladder.”

Schroeder, Nicolaus. “Fire-Escape.” US 200,878, United States Patent and Trademark Office, 5 Mar. 1878. Google Patents.

In 1878, a patent was granted to Nicholaus Schroeder for improvements on this type fire escape, which allowed people to attach to an object in the room by way of a rope and lower themselves to safety on this seat. In the patents, Schroeder claims that the novelty of his invention lies in the stability of its construction.


Werner, Minnie. “Adjustable Cooking Pan.” US 1,202,629, United States Patent and Trademark Office, 24 Oct. 1916. Google Patents.

Other inventions improved the design of everyday objects. Minnie Werner, a housewife, patented this adjustable cooking pan in 1916. It was made to prevent the dressing from getting soggy and could be placed in the oven directly in the juices from the meat. You could also adjust it to create a cake of many sizes. For cleaning, it could be easily disassembled and flattened for convenient storage.

Rohwedder, Otto F. “Machine for Slicing an Entire Loaf of Bread at a Single Operation.” US 1,867,377, United States Patent and Trademark Office. 12 Jul. 1932. Google Patents.

The Quad Cities is famous for the invention of sliced bread. You may know that Davenport’s Otto Rohwedder invented the bread slicer, but his idea sparked a succession of improvements and alternate versions by local inventors, including Harry J. Criner (1933), Arthur A. Kottman (1934), William E. Bettendorf (1934), Taylor Creech (1936), and Charles H. Petskeyes (1947).

Criner, Harry J. “Bread Slicing Machine.” US 1,925,481, United States Patent and Trademark Office. 5 Jan. 1933. Google Patents.

While Rohwedder’s invention featured slicing bands, Criner’s introduced blades to improve the uniformness of the slices.

Kottman, Arthur A. “Control for Bread Slicing Machines.” US 1,964,824, United States Patent And Trademark Office. 3 Jul. 1934. Google Patents.

Getting the conveyor belt and the blades to act in concert with each other was a challenge for inventors. Kottman’s control for these machines only allowed the conveyor to run if the blades were working at their intended speed.

Bettendorf, William E. “Blade Frame Assembly for Slicing Machines.” US 1,968,020, United States Patent and Trademark Office. Google Patents.

William Bettendorf’s blade frame assembly fixed the problem of differing blade tension, which often resulted in a wavy slice,by incorporating nuts and bolts that allowed operators to adjust the tension by small degrees.

Petskeyes, Charles H. “Bread Transferring Means for Bread Slicing Machine.” US 2,417,782, United States Patent and Trademark Office. 18 Mar. 1947. Google Patents.

Petskeyes’ bread transferring means employed “follower bars” on a chute to hold loaves of bread steady as they traveled through the conveyor.

Creech, Taylor. “Bread Slicing Machine.” US 2,056,134, United States Patent and Trademark Office. 29 Sept. 1936. Google Patents.

Since timing and position was everything when it came to bread slicers, Creech invented a machine that improved these in some of these ways: by arranging the conveyor and feed table to “cushion” the bread while it travels through the blades, ensuring uniform slices; by feeding the bread to the blades at an angle to  “prevent crushing”; and by the use of a mechanism that held the slices together before they were wrapped to ensure that the loaf would not be crushed or fall apart.


The Davenport Democrat and Leader, 25 Jul. 1933, p. 6.

You may recognize the Clapp surname from this blog about Lottie Clapp, the first female funeral director in the tri-state area. Her son, Alan, only owned the funeral home for a short while after his mother’s death; however, he did contribute to inventions in the funeral industry.

Clapp, Alan. “Embalming Implement.” US 1,825,993, United States Patent and Trademark Office. 6 Oct. 1931. Google Patents.

His patent for a multi-directional embalming tool would “do away with the necessity of removing the instrument from an artery and then turning it end for end.”

The Daily Times, 17 Mar. 1951, p. 5

Much later, in the 1950s, Edward J. Lager invented a burial vault that claimed to prevent decay. This is just one of the examples of funeral industry scams that were brought to light with the 1963 publication of Jessica Mitford’s The American Way of Death.


Evins, Dossa D. “Diagnostic Instrument.” US 1,648, 939, United States Patent and Trademark Office. 15 Nov. 1927. Google Patents.

Some inventions, however, were extremely useful to their industries. Although his most famous invention was the neurocalometer, a device for detecting changes in temperature along the spine, Dossa Dixon Evins invented several chiropractic implements during his life, including an adjusting table and a method of creating x-rays.

There are many, many more local inventions where these came from. If you’re interested, visit the Iowa Inventor’s Database.

(posted by Nikki)

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Timelines for Genealogy

This year’s Quad Cities Genealogical Conference will be on Saturday, April 27th from 8am-4pm at the Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center in Moline. One of the topics that will be covered by speaker Beth Foulk of Genealogy Decoded is “Solving Genealogy Problems with Timelines”.

Timelines help you get a better understanding of what life was like for your ancestors. You can see all of the important events in their life in order. If you add major world history events to your ancestors’ timelines, you get a sense of historical context. 

Timelines also help organize your research. When you lay out your ancestor’s life using a timeline, you can easily identify where you have gaps in your records and if you have conflicting information from different sources.

To prepare for the conference, we looked up the many newer Apps and websites that take your family tree data and display it as a Timeline. 

We chose Twile because it is free, easy to use, and you can collaborate with other family members or researchers. You can import your tree data from FamilySearch, a gedcom file, or start from scratch. 

You start by adding your information, then it takes you step-by-step. You can upload photos from your computer or import photo albums from Facebook. In this example, we uploaded images from vital records, census records, and family photographs.


Not only does it display your data in a timeline form it also displays a traditional Ancestor Chart. This is where you add more relatives and invite living family members to view and collaborate on your timeline.

Each person in your tree gets a profile where you add “milestones” in your ancestor’s life. In this example, I added my grandparents’ marriage with an image of their marriage license. 

 When you specify the place an event took place, Twile adds information from Google Maps. There is also a place to add other relatives who were present at that event.

Use “Streams” to add historical events to your ancestors’ timeline. See who was president when your ancestors were born, or what important invention was made during their lifetime!


You can also view your family tree data in an infographic:


Have you been using timelines for your research? Which programs have you tried? Or do you prefer writing it everything out on paper? Let us know in the comments!

(posted by Cristina)



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Happy National Chocolate Candy Day!

We came across information that today, December 28th, is National Chocolate Candy Day. We aren’t sure how it started or who started this event, but we thought why not celebrate with advertisements from the past.

This store seemed to have all holiday treats, including chocolate, in stock for Christmas and New Year’s Eve 1857.

The Morning Democrat, December 29, 1857. Pg. 2.

We are not sure how iced chocolate jelly balls were made in 1890. They would probably be refreshing on a warm summer day. Roddewig-Schmidt Cracker Company was formed in Davenport in July 1887. Soon after it began a confectionery branch that evolved into Roddewig-Schmidt Candy Company. The candy company was a leader in locally made chocolates until it closed in 1928.

The Davenport Democrat, May 8, 1890. Pg. 1.

We thought this advertisement captured the feeling of the holidays.

The Davenport Democrat, December 23, 1898. Pg. 3.

Krell Confectionery was one of the oldest confectionery businesses in Davenport when a fire destroyed the store on Brady Street in May 1921. In September of that year, owner J.W. Krell decided not to reopen the Davenport store; keeping only his Rock Island store in business.

The Davenport Democrat, December 28, 1900. Pg. 5.

In the early 1900s, the Roddewig-Schmidt Candy Company introduced the Davenport made Velma and Minerva chocolates. The Minerva chocolates were only produced in the sweet chocolate form while Velma Chocolates were produced in sweet, bitter-sweet, and milk chocolate varieties. 

The Half-Century Democrat Special Edition, October 22, 1905. Pg. 62.

Of course, baker’s cocoa and chocolate were sold for those who desired to make their own candies at home.

The Daily Times, December 30, 1905. Pg. 3.

Advertisements may change in design, but the message seems to stay the same. 

The Davenport Democrat and Leader, December 16, 1913. Pg. 9.

Don’t worry if you indulge a little to much after reading these advertisements. We found out that December 30th is National Bicarbonate of Soda Day!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year.

(posted by Amy D.)


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QC Christmas Trees, 1950’s Style

While looking through photographs from 1959, we came across one with a Christmas tree. Our curiosity piqued, we began looking for more local images from the 1950’s that showed different styles of trees and decorations. As our gift to you this holiday season, we present the following photographs of mid-century (20th!) Christmas trees from our collection:

2001-08 Quad City Times Photograph Negatives. December 15, 1959.

2001-08 Quad City Times Photograph Negatives. December 17, 1959.

2001-08 Quad City Times Photograph Negatives. December 18, 1959.


2001-08 Quad City Times Photograph Negatives. December 4, 1959.

And one last image. A color slide from 1954.

Vol. 211 – dpl1992-011198. December 25, 1954. 1992-01 Grover C. von der Heyde Photographs Collection.

Happy Holidays from the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center!

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Holiday Gift Ideas

We are offering a new gift idea for the holiday season. It is a gift certificate redeemable for a two hour research session with a Special Collections Librarian. It is free and is a great way to kick off any research search project or dive back into an old one.

The session may include:

  • Beginning or advanced genealogy assistance
  • Exploring photograph and map collections
  • Researching local neighborhoods, homes, buildings, and businesses
  • and more!

The recipient of the gift certificate calls or emails the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center to schedule their session.

Pick up a gift certificate at any Davenport Public Library location.

Need more inspiration or another gift idea? Check out our “2018 Special Collections Gift Guide” on Trello. We have listed gift ideas for genealogists, local historians, preservationists, archives & librarians, and for all!



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The World War II Homefront: A December test

While researching an upcoming blog, we came upon a reminder of life during World War II in Scott County we wanted to share with you.

The evening of December 14, 1942 was important for people living in the State of Iowa along with North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri, Wyoming, Colorado, and Kansas (nine states encompassing the Office of Civilian Defense’s Seventh Service Command Area). All persons living in these states were to participate in a 20 minute mandatory test blackout of all lights starting at 10:00 p.m.

Blackout and Air Raid protection fell under the Office of Civilian Defense, an emergency war agency, which was created by Executive Order on May 21, 1941. Locally, the City of Davenport passed Ordinance 7832 on September 2, 1942:

An Ordinance authorizing blackout and air raid protection orders, rules and regulations: prescribing penalties for violation thereof: and declaring an emergency.

The Daily Times, December 14, 1942. Pg. 22

This first blackout was promoted as an official practice. All further test blackouts held would be a surprise to the community.

Newspapers outline what individuals were to do if they were driving or at a place of business instead of home. The War Production board had already asked citizens to not use outdoor Christmas lights to conserve materials and energy so there was no worry about turning off outdoor decorations.

The Davenport Democrat and Leader, November 8, 1942.

Boy Scouts and civilian volunteers practiced and participated in the blackout when the air raid sirens began at 10:00 p.m. Police, fire, and hospital personnel were in place and any non-emergency vehicle pulled to the side of the road and turned off all lights as only emergency vehicles were allowed to drive. Even coasting on designated streets was cancelled by the city that night as it was too dangerous for children to be sledding as cars were driving with no lights.

The next day, newspapers reported the blackout test was a great success. In downtown Davenport the only mishap was an electric sign that had not been turned off when the business closed earlier in the evening.

The Daily Times, December 15, 1942. Pg. 15

There was one sign of normalcy we noted from the newspapers on December 14th. The Capitol Theater informed local citizens that business for them would go on as usual, but to make sure they prepared their homes for the blackout before coming to the movies. 

The Daily Times, December 14, 1942. Pg. 5

(posted by Amy D.)

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