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History in Davenport

Prior to European settlers taking up residence, the area now known as the Quad Cities was the home of the Sauk and Fox Indians. Black Hawk, the famed Sauk warrior, is the namesake behind the historic six million-acre Black Hawk Purchase, a deal that included all of Illinois and the Quad-City area.


Named in honor of Colonel George Davenport, one of the earliest settlers of the area, Davenport was designated a special charter city in the Territory of Iowa in 1839, and two years later the city became the seat of Scott County.

In 1848, John Deere opened a factory in Moline to produce the first steel plow, signaling the start of a robust manufacturing industry that continues today. Many German and Irish immigrants subsequently moved to the area, and Davenport began to thrive. Aiding in this growth was the construction of the first railroad bridge across the Mississippi River in 1856. By 1876, three major railroads served the area, supporting the expansion of the lumber, meat-packing and furniture-making industries.


Over the next several decades, the Quad-City industrial base grew swiftly. Davenport developed rapidly, with a host of new businesses establishing themselves in the downtown area, while palatial estates were constructed on the hilltops along the river. Now, the Quad-City metropolitan region has expanded to more than 350,000 residents, with great tourist attractions, award-winning educational institutions, strong businesses and a stable housing market. The area cherishes its rich tradition and history while moving ahead with bold new plans, like RiverVision that build the image of a modern top-tier community.

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