The city of Davenport traces its beginnings to an 1832 treaty signed by Chief Keokuk of the Sauk Indians, which transferred a fifty-mile strip of land along the Mississippi River from the Yellow River in the north to the Des Moines River in the south. Over the past 168 years, the resultant city has evolved from a frontier outpost to a premier gateway to the West, a commercial powerhouse on a prime river location to a Midwestern banking and financial center. This pictorial history documents the transformation of the city through more than 200 vintage photographs. Davenport was a major entrance to the West, as well as a destination itself during the 19th century. Pioneer families and immigrants alike found a haven in the rapidly growing city, and they founded department stores, construction companies, breweries, banks, and churches. Germans, Irish, Swedes, Hungarians, and African Americans all brought cultural traditions and ideas that contributed to the flavor of the city. The Great Depression, two world wars, and the economy’s conversion from agriculture to commerce also delineated the boundaries of Davenport as we know it today.
Author Bio: Davenport, Iowa: Jewel of the Mississippi is the fourth and final volume documenting the history of the Quad-Cities by David Collins and Rich Johnson, and the second by Mary Louise Speer. John Willard now joins them as they combine their diverse talents to produce this fascinating study of Davenport’s rich history and evolving identity. Residents and visitors alike will be delighted by this engaging look at an ever-changing city.
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