100-130 W. 2nd St.|
Putnam Building 1909-1910|
M.L. Parker Building 1922
|Architect||D.H. Burnham & Co.|
|Architectural style||Chicago School|
|NRHP reference #||11000662|
|Added to NRHP||September 15, 2011|
The Putnam-Parker Block, also known as City Square, are historic structures located in downtown Davenport, Iowa, United States. The property is three buildings that take up the south half of block 43 in what is known as LeClaire’s First Addition. The main façade of the structures face south along the north side of West Second Street. They were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. The former Putnam Building now houses a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel named The Current Iowa.
Antoine LeClaire, who was primarily responsible for establishing the city of Davenport, built a hotel named the LeClaire House on the northeast corner of Main and West Second Streets in 1839. It contained retail space on the ground level. At the other end of the block on the northwest corner of Brady and West Second Streets, he built a three-story brick building in 1850. It also provided retail space on the main level and LeClaire Hall on the upper floors. It was later renamed LeClaire Row. Charles Viele bought the half-block sometime before 1886. The LeClaire House was renamed the Newcomb House after Viele’s sister Mrs. V. Newcomb and the LeClaire Row was renamed the Viele Building. The Fair, a department store that would eventually become the M.L. Parker Department Store occupied the retail space of the Newcomb house at this time.
William C. Putnam bought Viele’s interest in the block in 1895. He renovated the buildings and lowered the stores to street level. Putnam and his mother, Mary Louisa Duncan Putnam, established the Putnam Trust. The Trust owned the entire half block of West Second Street. It benefited the Putnam Memorial Fund, which was the non-profit charitable support organization for the Davenport Academy of Sciences, now known as the Putnam Museum. They paid for the construction of the present museum building and the neighboring building, which housed the former Davenport Museum of Art until it moved downtown as the Figge Art Museum. The trust was dissolved in 2015 when the estate sold its last property, a parking lot on Main Street.
Putnam planned to replace the old hotel with a modern office building, but he died in 1906. The plans were eventually carried out and the Putnam Building was completed in 1910. The other structures on the block were renamed the North Putnam Buildings. A variety of retail and professional offices have been housed in the building over the years. Among them was the historical library of the Davenport Public Museum, now the Putnam Museum. H.E. Schraff Store occupied space from around 1928-1956, and Simon & Landauer from 1933-1964. More recently the local chamber of commerce was headquartered here. In July 2017 a boutique hotel named The Current Iowa opened in the building.
M.L. Parker Building
The M.L. Parker building was constructed on the northwest corner of Brady and West Second Street in 1922. The Fair Store opened before World War I and changed its name to the M.L. Parker Department Store in 1922. They occupied the entire building until 1972. Parker's was a major non-franchise company that operated a classic department store offering clothing, furniture, rugs, housewares and a toyland in the basement at Christmas. In 1970 another Davenport department store, Peteresen Harned Von Maur, bought Parker's. They operated a budget outlet for their store here until 1974 after they closed Parker's. The upper floors of the building were converted into office space after that. Among the tenants in the office space were the accounting firm of McGladrey & Pullen, later RSM McGladrey, and Verizon operated a call center. The main floor retail space remained empty.
Between the Putnam and Parker buildings is a two-story infill section. It was designed by Burnham to complement the two towers. However, it was never built. The exact date of the structure that originally stood between the Putnum and Parker buildings is unknown, however, the current structure dates from 1955. The façade was covered by 1964 and it has been modernized since. Rather than having a unified appearance as envisioned by Burnham, the Putnam-Parker Block now appears to be three separate structures. For many years the central building housed the downtown J.C. Penney store. It continues to house retail establishments.
In 2012 the city of Davenport was discerning what to do about the riverboat casino anchored on the Mississippi River. Three companies proposed development ideas concerning a new land-based casino. Amrit and Amy Gill of Restoration St. Louis, who renovated the Hotel Blackhawk in 2010, planned a $155 million project to transform the Putnam and Parker buildings and adjoining properties. The city chose one of the other projects, and the Gills announced a new development in November 2013. Called City Square, the $60 million project would transform the Putnam-Parker block into a suite hotel and market-rate housing in the Putnam Building and Class A office space in the Parker Building.
The Parker Building now houses four floors of office space. Wells Fargo Bank was signed as the anchor tenant on the main floor. The top two floors house 20 luxury apartments. There is a connection to the Center Building on the second floor. The Putnam Building houses the hotel. The lobby, restaurant, and bar are located on the main floor. Most of the 78 suites are located on the second through the sixth floors, and the top two floors house 14 luxury apartments. A restaurant and bar is located on the roof of the building. The hotel is also decorated with over 500 pieces of original artwork created by Midwest artists. The Center Building houses 12 extended stay rooms and houses amenities such as the swimming pool, fitness center, and executive conference space for the hotel. It also continues to house retail on the main floor. There will also be a connection with the college campus project that is being planned by Eastern Iowa Community College District on the north half of the block.
The two office buildings were designed by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham. It was the last building he completed, and The Current Iowa is the only hotel in a building he designed. The Parker Building is a modified design by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, a successor to D. H. Burnham & Company. Burnham designed the whole half block to have the same appearance and the Putman and Parker buildings are nearly identical. They show clear references to the Chicago School. The Putnam Building is an eight-story structure that is 120 feet (37 m) tall. The Parker Building is seven stories tall and rises 100.29 feet (31 m) above the ground. Both structures are built on a brick foundation and feature a steel skeleton covered in red brick. Decorative materials include stone facing and decorative panels of terra cotta. The two towers each show a clearly defined tripartite façade. Classical Revival elements are found in the decorative cornice at the top. However, the simplified design and use of terra cotta show the Chicago School’s influence.
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