1895 - 1920 - Birth of a Modern City

  • September 14, 1896—At half-past noon, the bell on Davenport City Hall strikes for the first time.
  • March 31, 1897—Long distance telephone lines open in Davenport.
  • July 18, 1897—The cornerstone is laid for St. Vincent's Orphans' Home at Gaines and East Central Park, established by the Catholic Diocese of Davenport and to be run by the Sisters of the Humility of Mary
  • 1897—Grammar School Number 11 (later Taylor School) is built at West 15th and Warren Streets
  • 1897Grammar School Number 7 (later VanBuren School) is built at Redwood and Lincoln Avenues
  • September 13, 1898—The Tri-City Press Club is organized.
  • 1898—Construction is completed on the new Boston Store at 223-229 West Second Street. The business has been reorganized as a department store, a first for Davenport.
  • 1898—The First Presbyterian Church is built on Iowa Street and Kirkwood Boulevard
  • 1898—Unity Hall, a larger Unitarian Church, is built at 10th and Perry in Davenport
  • March 10, 1899—Congress passes a bill establishing a gun factory at the Rock Island Arsenal.
  • May 21, 1899—The cornerstone of the German Free School is laid on Western Avenue in Davenport.
  • October 23, 1899—The first delivery of rural free mail in Scott County is carried by Henry Ade by way of Utica Ridge Road.
  • 1899—Grammar School Number 12 (later Fillmore School) is built at West 4th and Warren Streets
  • 1899—A.W. Lee buys the Davenport Daily Times, eventually making it the cornerstone of the Lee Syndicate (later Lee Enterprises)
  • March 12, 1900—Davenport women vote for the first time, over the issue of buying the old Griswold College site to be used as a city high school. The people vote in agreement of the plan, and the property is purchased for $53,000.
  • April 1900—A referendum is passed in Davenport in support of a new, free public library. Andrew Carnegie gives $75,000 for the building.
  • 1900—Grammar School Number 13 (later Pierce School) is built at East 12th and Christie Streets
  • 1901—The Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad opens its new station on Main Street
  • 1901—The Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad track bed is elevated, solving many of the inconveniences that more than 16 daily passenger trains crossing through residential and commercial areas has had on regular traffic.
  • 1901—The first Hickey Brothers Cigar Store opens at 132 East 3rd Street in Davenport
  • 1901—Emanuel P. Adler becomes publisher of the Davenport Daily Times
  • July 25, 1901—East Davenport is decimated by a fire than began near River Street and East Fourth and spread to the Weyerhauser and Denkman sawmill before moving north. More than 8 blocks are destroyed, and fifty families are left homeless. Loss is estimated at one million dollars.
  • 1902—The Davenport Democrat merges with the Davenport Leader to become the Davenport Democrat and Leader
  • 1902—The Davenport Visiting Nurses Association is organized to provide health care to the poor.
  • March 10, 1903Bix Beiderbecke is born in Davenport, Iowa. A child prodigy on the piano, he will later play the jazz cornet and become Davenport's most famous musician.
  • 1903—Grammar School Number 6 (later Jackson School) is built at the Corner of West 16th Street and Fillmore Avenue.
  • 1903—Peter Jacobsen moves his father's old cigar business into the former U.N. Planing Mill at Fourth and Harrison Streets. A popular employer, in 1917, he institutes pensions plans, both old age and disability, at his factory.
  • 1903—the Iowa State Convention of Labor is held in Davenport
  • 1904—Grammar School Number 14 (later Buchanan School) is built at West Sixth and Oak Streets
  • 1904—The W. J. Quinlan is built at Kahlke Boatyards on Mill Street in Rock Island. The Paddlewheel Riverboat will ferry Tri-City passengers across the Mississippi for more than forty years.
  • 1904—The Iowa and Illinois Railway Company starts up the first line of electric streetcars (called 'interurbans') in Davenport.
  • 1906—A new synagogue at Brady and 11th Streets is built to house Temple Emmanuel
  • January 1907—Classes begin in Davenport's new high school at 1120 North Main Street, later renamed Central High School. The old high school at 318 East 7th Street is taken over as a Grammar School (Lincoln School)
  • April 15, 1907—The Gordon-Van Tine Company, which sells building materials and blueprints for houses and farm buildings, is incorporated.
  • 1907—The McClellan Heights United Presbyterian Church is built at 2306 Fulton Avenue
  • 1907—Emanuel P. Adler replaces A. W. Lee as head of the Lee Syndicate of newspapers (Lee Enterprises)
  • 1908—A new building for the YMCA is built at Fourth and Harrison Streets, financed by a $50,000 donation from Edward S. Crossett.
  • 1908—The Davenport School Board decrees that all elementary school buildings in the Davenport School System, which up until now had been identified by numbers, be named after United States Presidents.
  • 1909—The Mueller Lumber Company builds a new warehouse at 501 West 2nd Street
  • 1909—The Putnam Building is completed at 215 Main Street.
  • 1910—Johnson School is built at 1730 West Avenue.
  • 1910—Alexander F. Victor arrives in Davenport to invent, develop, and manufacture motion picture equipment. The Victor Animatograph Corporation is a success, and Mr. Victor ends up holding almost eighty patents for his inventions.
  • 1910—Bridewell, Davenport's women's prison, is established on the corner of Fifth and Main Streets.
  • 1911—The Davenport Daily Times newspaper moves into 124 East 2nd Street.
  • 1911—The Levee Improvement Commission spearheaded by William D. Petersen, one of its founding members, begins construction on the LeClaire Park seawall and a riverfront park
  • 1912—A Christian Science Church is built at 636 Kirkwood Boulevard
  • 1912—Grant School is built at 216 West Hayes Street
  • October 24, 1913—The Coliseum at Fourth and Myrtle Streets burns to the ground. A second Coliseum is built across Fourth Street from the original site.
  • 1913—The Davenport Visiting Nurses Association establishes a Baby Clinic
  • January 23, 1915—Fire breaks out at the Crescent Macaroni and Cracker Company. The factory reopens in the same location a year later, but has added a water tower on the new roof, in case of another fire.
  • 1915—The Blackhawk Hotel opens at 3rd and Perry
  • 1915—the Tri-City Symphony is formed of 60 musicians under the direction of Ludwig Becker.
  • May 1916—The first concert of the Tri-City Symphony is held at the Burtis Opera House
  • 1916—After the deaths of his father and brothers, William D. Petersen sells J.H.C. Petersen and Sons department store to Roland Harned and C.J. Von Maur, owners of the Boston Store.
  • 1916—Iowa's Prohibition Law is enacted, closing several Quad-City breweries, including the Zoeller Brother's Independent Brewing Company, which had manufactured the popular Blackhawk Beer.
  • 1916—The remaining two lines of an interurban 'franchise war' merge into the Clinton, Davenport, and Muscatine Railway.
  • 1916—The Davenport Teacher's Training School closes, though many of its graduates teach until retirement.
  • 1917Hickey Brothers Cigar Store No. 8, considered the flagship of the company, opens at 2nd and Brady Streets in Davenport.
  • 1917—Severe overcrowding of Davenport's grammar schools cause the school board to build three intermediate schools to serve students in grades 7 and 8, and to offer a 9th grade for those students not going on the high school. East Intermediate School (1414 East Locust Street), West Intermediate School (1934 West 5th Street) and J. B. Young Intermediate School (1709 North Harrison Street) take the pressure off the grammar schools, which now serve students in kindergarten through grade 6.
  • March 27, 1918—Marion Crandell, the first American woman to die in active service in World War I, is killed at St. Menehould, France, during a heavy bombing raid. A teacher of French at St. Katherine's School, Miss Crandall had resigned from teaching to join the Red Cross to assist war ravaged France a year earlier.
  • September 7, 1918—Der Demokrat, Davenport's German language newspaper, publishes its last issue due to anti-German sentiment during the years of World War I. The Iowa Reform, Davenport's smaller German language newspaper, is able to continue by translating every issue into English under the eye of the federal censorship office.
  • 1918—The Davenport Board of Park Commissioners buys Suburban Island and renames it Credit Island.
  • 1918—The riverfront park along the LeClaire seawall is named Antoine LeClaire Park.
  • 1918—The Dillon Memorial Fountain is completed by the Mississippi River at the foot of Main Street in Davenport. The $10,400 fountain was built as a memorial to John Forrest Dillon, a native of Davenport and a lawyer who served on the Iowa Supreme Court. He died on May 14, 1914.
  • 1918—An influenza epidemic hits the Tri-Cities. Over 7,500 people are infected, and approximately 2,000 die. In Davenport, makeshift hospitals are set up in Central Turner Hall and the Grand Opera House Theater. The city is quarantined to the point where attendance at funerals is restricted to family members only.
  • 1919—St. Luke's Hospital moves to 1224 East High Street
  • August 16, 1920—The first Mississippi Valley Fair and Exposition opens on the 90-acre site on West Locust Street. More than 115,000 people attend the first week.
  • 1920—Davenport hosts the Iowa Shrine Convention.
  • 1920—The Kahl Building, built by the Walsh Construction Company at the total cost of one million dollars, is completed at the northeast corner of Ripley and 3rd Streets.
  • 1920—The Walsh Construction Company completes the American Commercial and Savings Bank at 203 West Third Street. The bank cost two million dollars to build, and at this time is one of the largest banks in Iowa.
  • December 25, 1920—The Capitol Theatre opens in the Kahl Building at Ripley and Third Streets