D I S C O V E R
The Village of East Davenport
~ Established in 1851 along the banks of the Mississippi River ~
Bits & Pieces of History
• In 1828, President John Quincy Adams formally declared that all lands east of the Mississippi were to be sold to settlers gradually moving their way westward. This resulted in Indian tribes being forced to the West. Chief Black Hawk and 2,000 of his followers refused to move and the "Black Hawk War" resulted. (Source: State of Iowa)
• The Treaty of 1836 was signed near what is now College Avenue in East Davenport. The treaty was an agreement between Chief Keokuk and the U.S. Government, in which the Indians relinquished a large part of what is now Iowa. Chief Black Hawk, who no longer had power after his capture during the Black Hawk War, camped with his remaining warriors high above the river at the present-day Lindsay Park. During the gathering for the treaty signing, famed Western artist, George Catlin not only painted and sketched the Indians–including Chief Black Hawk–before they left their native lands but also signed his name as a witness to the treaty. (Above: Catlin's painting of Chief Black Hawk). (Sources: Treaty, Chief Black Hawk, George Catlin)
Detail from 1888 lithographic bird's eye view
of Davenport and the Village of East Davenport*
Bits & Pieces of History Continues...
• The Village area was known to rivermen in 1840s as "Stubb's Eddy" for the hermit cave dweller, James R. Stubbs, who lived in a cave in a mound (thus Mound Street) near the river. East Davenport would eventually be founded at the foot of the 18-mile Upper Rapids of the Mississippi River. Now controlled by the lock and dam system, the rapids were claimed to be the longest in the world.
• Antoine LeClaire, part Indian and part white, served as a translator and eventually became an East Davenport entrepreneur. (Pictured at left.)
• The Village was founded in 1851 as a pre-Civil War logging town. The first industry here was a steam powered sawmill opened that year by Robert Christie. Logs from northern forests were rafted down the river to The Village. In 1856, the first railroad bridge to span the Mississippi River was built between Rock Island and a spot on the Iowa side directly south of The Village. It was of the utmost importance in getting lumber from sawmills to the frontier as far west as Denver. However, when the Effie Afton riverboat hit the bridge, it became the subject of a historic lawsuit between riverboat and railroad, in which a young Illinois lawyer named Abraham Lincoln successfully defended railroad interests. Today, the log trestle still stands as the last tangible remnant of the first railroad west.
• Location of the Civil War Camp McClellan in 1861. Also the site in 1862 of the Camp Kearney Indian Prison, which received 177 Sioux from Minnesota; hundreds of Sioux had been condemned to hanging, but President Lincoln warned Minnesota authorities that each was entitled to due process. Eventually these 177 prisoners were able to be released from Camp Kearney. (Source: Camp Kearney Indian Prison)
• The entire Village area is unique as it contains many original structures, including Colonel George L. Davenport's "Claim house," the first house built west of the Mississippi. (Col. Davenport's portrait is to the right.)
• In 1980, the area became listed as the Village of East Davenport Historic District on the National Registry of Historic Places.