Village of East Davenport
One of Davenport's oldest neighborhoods, the Village of East Davenport is full of small specialty shops and was used as parade grounds for Civil War soldiers from Camp McClellan
|Location:||Roughly bounded by the Mississippi River, Spring, Judson, and 13th Sts., Kirkwood Boulevard, and Jersey Ridge Rd., Davenport, Iowa|
|Added to NRHP:||March 17, 1980|
The Village of East Davenport, also known simply as The Village is located along the Mississippi River on the southeast side of Davenport, Iowa, United States. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 as the Davenport Village. It is roughly defined as the area between the Mississippi River, Spring, Judson, and 13th Streets, Kirkwood Boulevard and Jersey Ridge Road. The historic district was started as an independent community and became a part of the city of Davenport within five years. Today it is a shopping and entertainment area.
In 1851 William H. Hildreth and Dr. G.W. Witherwax laid out a town they called Upper Davenport, which would later be called East Davenport.  The area was a broad ravine along a bend of the Mississippi at the foot of the Rock Island Rapids. The area was known to rivermen as “Stubb’s Eddy” for a hermit who lived in a cave in the area whose name was James R. Stubbs. The small town was ten blocks in size. By 1856 it had been incorporated into the city of Davenport.
The first industry in the town was a steam powered saw mill which was established by Robert Christie in 1851. In the 1860s it became Lindsay & Phelps. In 1854 the Renwick & Sons mill opened. Logs were rafted down the river from the forests in the north and were processed at the mills.
In 1856 the first railroad bridge across the Mississippi River was built just south of The Village. The railroad was important in moving the lumber from the mills to the frontier out west. In 1874 the Davenport and Northwestern Railroad, which became part of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad, built a railroad trestle on the west side of The Village that remains today.
Davenport became the home to five army camps during the Civil War. Camp McClellan, the largest of the camps, was established in 1861. As the war escalated the camp served as a hospital. It was also the location of a prison for 300 members of a Sioux tribe who were involved in raids in Minnesota. They were released when President Abraham Lincoln commuted their sentences and sent them to reservations in the West.
On July 24, 1901, one of the worst fires in Davenport history occurred in The Village. A shanty town had grown up around the Weyerhaeuser Mill, Lindsay & Phelps Mill, the Roberts wood yard and the Standard Oil storage tanks. The area was a square mile of shingles, kindling, sawdust and 60-foot (18 m) high piles of lumber. The fire began at the Rock Island Fuel Company and spread quickly. The fire was so hot it warped the rails of the railroad bed and buckled the pavement, and the smoke was so thick it made the area as dark as midnight. Flames lept 300 feet (91 m) into the air and the intense heat created an updraft that sucked lumber into it and sent them into the air and helped spread the fire. The fire moved toward the downtown area, but stopped at the Tremont Avenue hill where St. Katherine’s Hall, an Episcopal girl’s school, was located. In the end, 20 acres of land were burned, 250 people were left homeless and businesses suffered $1.25 million in losses.
The Village was also the scene for a raid at the East Davenport Turner’s Hall during Prohibition in 1928. A Federal Prohibition officer and Davenport Police Officers seized 4,185 bottles of homebrew, 90 gallons of mash, 15 crocks, 50 cans of malt, beer cases, capers and other materials for making beer.
Today the Village of East Davenport contains many of its original Civil War era buildings that house speciality shops, restaurants, taverns and other businesses. The former Turner’s Hall now serves as a theater. The former Hose Station No. 4 on 11th Street has been converted into the International Fire Museum. It was listed on the Davenport Register of Historic Properties in 1993. The Village was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 17, 1980. The former Pierce School is individually listed on the NRHP. Lindsay Park was listed on the Davenport Register of Historic Places in 1998 and Indian Springs Park in 2005.
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