J.H.C. Petersen's Sons' Store

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J. H. C. Petersen's Sons' Store
A large four-story red brick building with many windows. The building is on a street corner with the front and one of the sides visible.
J.H.C. Petersen's Sons' Store is located in Iowa
J.H.C. Petersen's Sons' Store
J.H.C. Petersen's Sons' Store is located in USA
J.H.C. Petersen's Sons' Store
Location 123-131 W. 2nd St.
Davenport, Iowa
Coordinates 41°31′16″N 90°34′31″W / 41.52111°N 90.57528°W / 41.52111; -90.57528Coordinates: 41°31′16″N 90°34′31″W / 41.52111°N 90.57528°W / 41.52111; -90.57528
Area less than one acre
Built 1892
Architect Frederick G. Clausen
Architectural style Commercial Romanesque
MPS Davenport MRA
NRHP Reference # 83002483[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP July 07, 1983
Designated DRHP November 7, 2001[2]

The J.H.C. Petersen's Sons' Store also known as the Redstone Building, is a historic structure in Davenport, Iowa, United States. It is listed on the Davenport Register of Historic Properties and on the National Register of Historic Places. The former department store building was modeled on the Rookery Building in Chicago.


Facade detail over the main entry.

J.H.C. Petersen was an immigrant from Schleswig in present-day Germany where he was educated until he was 16.[3] After settling in Scott County, Iowa he worked in farming and at a match-factory. He and his three sons Max, Henry and William opened a dry goods store in 1872. By 1875 they were handling both wholesale and retail lines of merchandise from Chicago.[4] Branch stores were opened in Clinton, Iowa and Geneseo, Illinois in the 1880s. The J.H.C. Petersen's Sons' Store was built in Downtown Davenport in 1892. The structure was designed by Frederick G. Clausen, a German immigrant who moved to Davenport. It followed the latest marketing principles of the day with specialized departments under one roof. The three sons took over the store's operations at this time. During this same time period several competitors established operations in the city. J.H.C. died in 1910 and Max and Henry died in 1915. The following year William sold the store to one of their competitors, Harned and Von Maur Co. In 1928 the J.H.C. Petersen's Sons' store was consolidated into the Petersen-Harned-Von Maur Store and it ceased independent operations.[5] The Redstone Building, however, would continue to house the flagship store well into the 20th century, keeping the Petersen name until 1989.[5] The name of the department store chain, which expanded in several Midwest states, was simplified to Von Maur.[6]


In June 2004, the River Music Experience opened in the Redstone Building. The River Music Experience is a non-profit museum focused on music, including jazz and blues, inspired by the river.[7] A couple of years after opening, the River Music Experience focused more on live performances on the second floor.[7] The River Music Experience sponsors an annual music festival, River Roots Live, in Downtown Davenport along with Ribfest, each summer.[8] Today the building also features Mojo's coffee shop, a restaurant, and office space.


The Petersen's Sons Store is a small-scale version of Burnham & Root's Rookery Building in Chicago.[4] It is a local example of the late 19th century development of the department store. The structure is four stories in height, and built of stone on a brick foundation. It features round arched arcades around groups of vertical windows and the name plate decorated in terracotta on a slightly projecting entrance frontispiece.[5] Diaperwork spandrels are located between the windows. The building culminates in elaborate parapets with oversized finials. At the roofline is a traditional brick cornice and the spandrels above the third floor arches are plain. The first floor storefronts were altered, but have since been restored.

See also[edit]

Other buildings that were a part of the Petersen, Harned, von Maur complex:


  1. ^ Staff (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ Historic Preservation Commission. "Davenport Register of Historic Properties" (PDF). City of Davenport. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  3. ^ Downer, Harry E. "Biographies". Scott County Iowa USGenWeb Project. Retrieved 2015-04-18. 
  4. ^ a b Martha Bowers, Marlys Svendsen-Roesler. "J.H.C. Petersen's Sons' Store" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2015-04-18. 
  5. ^ a b c Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs - State Historical Society of Iowa. "J.H.C. Petersen's Sons' Store" (PDF). Davenport Public Library. Retrieved 2010-07-06. 
  6. ^ "Centro to close Dec. 31; new restaurant will open in January". Quad-City Times. Davenport. November 8, 2007. Retrieved 2010-07-06. 
  7. ^ a b "The first 10 years of the 21st century brought many changes in the culture of the Quad-Cities". Quad-City Times. Davenport. December 27, 2009. Retrieved 2010-07-06. 
  8. ^ "Fabulous Thunderbirds, Blue Oyster Cult to headline River Roots Live". Quad-City Times. Davenport. 2009-06-19. Retrieved 2010-07-06. 

External links[edit]