July 30, 2009

Quad Cities Fun Facts

  1. Legend has it, the Great Indian Spirit of Waters was so taken by the beauty of the Quad Cities that she stopped briefly to admire the area, allowing the river to run east-west instead of north-south.
  2. The 1910 Velie automobile, made in Moline, cost $1,800.
  3. Davenport B. Sears came to the area in 1836 and built a mill made of stone and brush. It was the first of many mills that gave Moline its French name meaning “city of mills”.
  4. Buffalo Bill Cody was born in a farmhouse in LeClaire, Iowa.
  5. Major General John Buford, of Rock Island, directed the opening artillery fire at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.
  6. The Quad City Symphony, founded in 1916, is among the oldest symphonies in the United States.
  7. During the Civil War, more than 12,000 Confederate soldiers were housed at a prison camp on Arsenal Island. Two thousand are now buried at the Confederate Cemetery on the island.
  8. During the Civil War, several soldiers’ training camps were established in Davenport, including Camp McClellan in the Village of East Davenport.
  9. The Quad Cities was the site of the western-most battle of the Revolutionary War, fought in 1780.
  10. Mercer County, just south of Rock Island County, was named after General Hugh Mercer, a Revolutionary War hero.
  11. Colonel George Davenport built his home on Arsenal Island in 1833 after establishing a log cabin trading post on the island in 1816. The house is now restored and open to the public for narrated tours.
  12. Abraham Lincoln served in the Quad Cities as a captain participating in the Black Hawk War. He also returned to the Quad Cities as a lawyer to defend the railroad against the steamboat companies. A hearing was held when the Effie Afton steamboat rammed the railroad bridge in protest of the incoming railroad companies and the competition they were bringing to the area. The Effie Afton burned and was destroyed upon collision with the bridge.
  13. Over 100 festivals are held in the Quad Cities each year. Over a one year period, that averages out to more than 8 events per month.
  14. The Quad Cities was ranked No. 1 nationally by Golf Digest for affordability and easy access among cities with populations between 250,000 and 1 million.
  15. The Quad Cities was the site of the first railroad bridge to cross the Mississippi River. It opened in 1856.
  16. Quarters 1, the commanding general’s home at the Rock Island Arsenal, is the second largest single family dwelling owned by the federal government. Only the White House is larger.
  17. Vermont born blacksmith, John Deere, began making his self- scouringsteel plows in Moline in 1847. He was soon producing 1,000 plows annually.
  18. In 1934, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the Lock and Dam between Davenport and Rock Island. The Roller Dam in this area is the largest of its kind in the entire world.
  19. Antoine LeClaire founded Davenport in 1836, naming it after his good friend, Colonel George Davenport. LeClaire’s 1850’s mansion is located on Davenport’s East 7th Street and is being restored.
  20. In the parlor of the Palmer mansion sits what may be the world’s largest ivory chess set. The playboard is approximately six feet across, the chess pieces nearly a foot tall. On top of the case that houses the chess set is a gold leaf hen with inlaid jewels.
  21. Annie Whittenmeyer tended wounded soldiers during the Civil War and convinced Army officials to turn over the old Camp Kingsman in Davenport for use as a home for soldiers’ orphans. The former camp survives as the Annie Whittenmeyer Center.
  22. In 1910, the U.S. Census declared that Davenport was the second richest city in America based on per capita wealth.
  23. One of the largest pipe organs in the Quad Cities sits in the Palmer Mansion on the campus of Palmer College of Chiropractics. B.J. Palmer purchased the organ for $75,000 in 1922.
  24. The worldwide headquarters of Deere & Co. was completed in 1964 and designed by world renowned architect Eero Saarinen, the designer of the St. Louis Arch.
  25. By 1888, as many as 3 dozen passenger trains came in and out of Rock Island per day.
  26. Bandits murdered Colonel George Davenport in his home on Rock Island on July 4, 1845, while his family celebrated Independence Day. They were later caught and hanged.
  27. Lock and Dam 15, between Davenport and Rock Island, was the first Lock and Dam built on the Mississippi River.
  28. With 10 different makes of automobiles being manufactured in the early 1900’s, the Quad Cities was known as “Little Detroit”.
  29. Augustana College was founded in 1860 as a school for Lutheran ministers.
  30. The city of Bettendorf was originally named Gilbert. Residents changed the name in honor of brothers William and Joseph Bettendorf who moved their manufacturing business there in 1902.
  31. Credit Island Park in Davenport originally served as a fur trading post for the American Fur Company. The company let the Indians trade on credit.
  32. Campbell’s Island, off of East Moline’s riverbank, was the site of a battle during the War of 1812. Lieutenant John Campbell and his force of 120 Americans were defeated by 500 Sauk and Fox Indians who supported
    the British.
  33. A Little Bit O’ Heaven, a popular tourist attraction in the Quad Cities from 1924 to 1981, was located on the campus of Palmer College of Chiropractics and included pools filled with live alligators. During the winter months, the alligators were housed in the basement of the Palmer mansion.
  34. B.J. Palmer, founder of Chiropractics, performed the first spinal adjustment on September 10, 1895.

Leave a reply

* means field is required.