|This article does not cite any references or sources. (August 2007)|
Historical red-light district
Bucktown was infamous at the turn of the 20th century for its speakeasies, dance halls and German music pavilions. It was home to a documented forty-two brothels in a two block area. The reputation of Bucktown traveled across the country and garnered national media headlines as the "wickedest city in America."
Bucktown was also known for its high culture. The strong German heritage of the community formed the identity of Bucktown and its infusion of the arts into the everyday. Art and music, for the common man, was central to the German way of life.
In 1856, the German Strasser Union Marching Band of Davenport was formed. When the Tri City Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1916, it was the twelfth in the nation but having drawn two-thirds of its membership from the Strasser Marching Band, it is debated by many as the oldest music organization in the country to have formed a symphonic orchestra. Truly, Davenport was built on the arts. Before there were paved streets and running water to homes in the city, there were opera houses with 40 foot domed ceilings where Chicago operatic troupes traveled on horseback to perform.
The most famous of these was the Burtis Opera House, which still stands on the north side of the Bucktown District. Davenport was home to the nation's first municipal art gallery formed in 1925 by German, Charles Ficke, the foundation of the Davenport Museum of Art, now known as the Figge Art Museum. In Bucktown, the music of the people was played by the era's finest musicians, including Louis Armstrong and the legendary Bix Beiderbecke.
This renovated structure, known as Bucktown Center for the Arts, was the heart of the music and life of Bucktown, known as 'Brick' Munro's Summer Garden and Dancing Pavilion, or by many as Brick's Dime-A-Dance Saloon.