CITY OF DAVENPORT
ALWAYS NOTED FOR STRIKING BEAUTY OF SITUATION - THE MAYORS OF THE CITY FROM THE BEGINNING TO THE 1910 ELECTION - THE POLICE AND FIRE DEPARTMENTS - A SPLENDID STREET CAR SERVICE - WATER SERVICE OF EQUAL MERIT - THE PARKS OF THE CITY - WHAT THE CITY OWES AND OWNS - A FEW DOLLARS EACH WAY FOR EACH MAN WOMAN AND CHILD
(Pictures included with this chapter are: Davenport Mayors - All the following are on one page - Rodolphus Bennett, 1839; John H. Thorington, 1840; Jonathan W. Parker, 1841; Harvey Leonard, 1842; James Thorington, 1843, 44, 45, 46; James M. Bowling, 1847,48; Johanthan Parker, 1849; James Hall, 1850 -
Davenport Mayors - All the following are on one page - Charles Weston, 1851; John Jordan, 1852; John A. Boyd, 1853; James Grant, 1854; Enos Tichenor, 1855; G. C. R. Mitchell, 1856; Geo. B. Sargent, 1857; Ebenezer Cook, 1858, 59 -
Davenport Mayors - The following are all on one page - Hiram Price, 1859; James B. Cladwell, 1860; Geo. H. Fench, 1861, 62; John E. Henry, 1863 and 1881; Robt. Lowry, 1864; John L. Davies, 1865, 66; Michael Donahue, 1867, 68; James Renwick, 1869 -
Davenport Mayors - The following are all on one page - John M. Lyter, 1870; John C. Bills, 1871, 1882, 1892; A. H. Bennett, 1872; J. H. Murphy, 1873, 1879; John W. Stewart, 1874; Roderick Rose, 1876, 77; T. T. Dun, 1878; John W. Thompson, 1879, 1883 and
The early history of Davenport has been already gone over in these pages, and a repetition here would only tend to tire the reader and consume unnecessary space. Since the beginning of things in Davenport great changes have taken place, however, and in order to keep in mind the treand of events since 1863, when Mr. Barrows ended his recital of the salient features pertaining to the infancy of the seat of government of Scott county, it may be well to recapitulate here and there. It will be remembered that at the close of the Black Hawk war General Winfield Scott conferred with representatives of the Sacs and Foxes upon the site of the present city of Davenport, for the purpose of making a treaty with them. By that treaty a section of land was reserved and by the Indians given to their friend and interpreter, Antoine LeClaire. Part of the city of Davenport now stands upon that reserve. Long before this section was settled the beauty of its scenery, the fertility of the soil, its pure, sparkling water, salubriousness of climate and natural advantages for habitation and the building of a city gave rise to enthusiastic comment on the part of the traveler. Note the following:
"At the foot of the Upper rapids is one of the most picturesque scenes that we recollect to have beheld. On the western side a series of slopes are seen rising one above another for a considerable distance, until the background is terminated by a chain of beautifully rounded hills, over the whole of which trees are thinly scattered. On the other side of the river is a broad, flat plain of rich alluvion, several miles in length, and more than a mile in breadth, and terminated by a range of wooded hills. On this prairie is a small village of the Sac and Fox Indians, composed of rude lodges, scattered carelessly about. In the front of the landscape, and presenting its most prominent feature, is Rock island, the western shore is washed by the main current of the Mississippi, while the eastern side is separated from the main land by a narrow channel, which is fordable at low water. The southern point of the island is elevated about forty feet above the ordinary level of the river, and is supported by a perpendicular parapet of rock. Here stands Fort Armstrong, a strong and very neat work, garrisoned by two companies of United States troops; and here will be one of the most desirable sites for a town on the upper Mississippi. Rock river, which enters the Mississippi a few miles below the island, is a rapid stream, which may be easily rendered navigable, and which affords abundant waterpower for the propulsion of any kind of machinery. The whole of this region is fruitful, healthful and aggreable to the eye."
CIVILIZATION'S ADDED BEAUTY
George B. Sargent, at one time mayor of Davenport, in a little work entitled "Notes on Iowa," published in 1848, in copying the foregoing adds: "It is interesting to mark the changes that have taken place since the above description was written. On the western side, with the beautifully rounded hills in the background, now stands Davenport. On the other side, which was then occupied by the Sac and Fox village, is now the flourishing town of Rock Island, in Illinois. Fort Armstrong is abandoned and in ruins. All along the banks of the river are seen the marks of civilization and improvement. But though the scenery has lost some of its wildness, it retains its original characteristic, and has gained many pleasant features. The towns of Rock Island and Davenport, the old fort with its deserted blockhouses, the Mississippi, winding gracefully above and below, Rock river branching off through the woods, the forest-covered island, the high, wooded bluffs, and the rich, green prairies of Illinois, form a picture which, for beauty, variety and extent, can hardley be surpassed.
"The healthfulness and beauty of the situation, together with the facilities for hunting and fishing in its neighborhood, have made the place the fashionable resort during the summer months of large numbers of people from St. Louis and other southern cities. It has hitherto been more noted on this account than as a place of trade; but the business of the town is now rapidly on the increase. There are several flourishing stores and two large flouring mills have been erected during the past year, one of which is already in operation. Most of the houses are substantially built of brick. The hotel and courthouse are large and handsome buildings."
Newhall, in 1841, thus writes in regard to Davenport:
"This town was laid out in 1835-6, on a reserve belonging to Antoine LeClaire, Esq. It is the seat of justice for Scott county, and is situated nearly opposite to the lower end of Rock island, on a handsome elevation, with a beautiful range of sloping hills in its rear. It is about 350 miles above St. Louis, by water, eighty miles above Burlington, and ninety-five below Dubuque. The town of Stephenson, on the opposite shore, with the glittering dome of its courthouse, the mouth of Rock river a few miles below, the picturesque and antiquated fortifications on Rock island, with its beautiful villa, the charming residence of LeClaire, the magnificent hotel overlooking the white cottages of Davenport, and the adjacent village of Rockingham-all form a combination of picturesque beauty seldom if ever surpassed. I have approached this point from all its bearings, and whether viewed from river or bluff, it is like a beauteous picture varied in all its lights and shades. I well remember the first and lasting impression it produced upon my feelings; it was on a bright, sunny morning in August, in the year 1836; the sun was fast dispelling the glittering dews, and every drooping flower was lifting its smiling crest; on the Iowa shore might be seen occasionally a faily painted warrior of the Sacs and Foxes riding along the heights, his painted form partially exposed to view as his scarlet blanket waved to the breeze, his light feathers and gaudy trappings being in admirable contrast with the verdure-clad hills; then did I feel the utter incompetency to describe so beautiful a scene; then could I have invoked the pencil of the painter, or the pen of the poet.
"The distant reader may be skeptical concerning this high-wrought description. At this I marvel not. The author is aware of the difficulty of conveying entirely correct ideas of a region to those who have never traveled beyond the threshold of home; especially, in delineating this (in common parlance) land of the 'squatters;' as if, forsooth, the land of song, of Arcadian groves and shady bowers, must needs be in sunny Italy, or classic Greece. I will, however, add the corroborating testimony of one or two graphic writers, to convince the reader that nature here has been lavish of her beauties as well as her bounties.
THE MOST CHARMING
" 'The country around Davenport is, in our opinion, the most charming that the eye ever beheld. Davenport is, of itself, one of the greatest natural beauties on the Mississippi. The "old fort," not to speak of its military association, is, in turth, an object on which the eye delights to dwell. The flourishing town of Stephenson upon the Illinois shore, adds greatly to the attractions of the scene; and Davenport, with its extended plains, its sloping lawns, and wooded bluffs, completes one of the most perfect pictures that ever delighted the eyes of man. The interior of the territory is rich, beautiful and productive from end to end. Enterprising and industrious farmers my flock in from all quarters, and find a rich reward for moderate toil. The interior is healthy and every section of land admits of easy cultivation.' "
The claim upon which the city of Davenport was first laid out was made in 1833, and was contended for by a Dr. Spencer and Mr. McCloud. The matter was finally settled by Antoine LeClaire buying them both out, giving them for the quarter section $150. In 1835 Mr. LeClaire sold his holding to a company which was formed for the purpose of purchasing and laying out a town site. The company thus formed was composed of Major William Gordon, Antoine LeClaire, George Davenport, Major Thomas Smith, Alexander McGregor, Levi S. Colton, Philip Hambaugh, and Captain James May. In the spring of 1836 the site was surveyed and laid out by Major Gordon, United States surveyor, and one of the stockholders. The spot selected included the area bounded on the east by Harrison street, on the north by Seventh, west by Warren, and south by the river. It included thirty-six blocks and six half-blocks, the latter being the portions lying adjacent to Warren, on the west.
The cost of the entire site was $2,000, or $250 per share, - a price which now would purchase by a very indifferent building lot in the least valued part of it. In May the lots were offered at auction. A steamboat came up from St. Louis laden with passengers to attend the sale, and remained at the levee during its continuance, in order to afford the conveniences of lodging, edibles, and the not less essential item of drinkables. The sale continued two days, but owing to the fact that the titles were simply such as were included in a squatter's claim, and purchasers fearful that such were not particularly good, only some fifty or sixty lots were sold, and these mostly to St. Louis speculators. The lots brought from $300 to $600 each, a smaller sum than the proprietors calculated upon. The remaining portion of the site was then divided among the proprietors.
IN THE BEGINNING
The immigration this year was but small, only some half-dozen families coming in. The first hotel or tavern was put up this year, and opened by Edward Powers. It was located on the corner of Front street and Ripley. It was put up by Messrs. Davenport and LeClaire, and was called "Davenport Hotel" - in honor of the "city". The first saloon was also started this year by an old sea captain, John Litch. It was a log house, and stood on Front street. It was long a favorite resort for the politician and those who felt the necessity of using a "little wine for the stomach's sake and their often infimities." The captain did not always live up to the letter of the law and the matter of license was probably contrary to his convictions of right, as he was on more than one occasion taken in hand by the board of county commissioners.
In October, 1836, James McIntosh opened a small stock of goods in a log house, built by A. LeClaire, on the corner of Ripley and Third streets. In December following D. C. Eldridge also opened a large stock of goods, and claims to be the first to keep a general assortment, with the intention of making it a business.
In the fall of 1836 a son was born unto Levi S. Colton, the first birth in the new village. The first female child born was a daughter of D. C. Eldridge, in the spring of 1837.
The town of Davenport was incorporated by the legislature in the winter of 1838-9, and the first election for township officers was held April 1, 1839. Rodolphus Bennett was elected mayor; Frazer Wilson, recorder; and Dr. A. C. Donaldson, D. C. Eldridge, John Forrest, Thomas Dillon and John Litch, trustees. The town council held its first meeting April 20. James M. Bowling was appointed treasurer; William Nichols, street commissioner; and W. H. Patton, marshal.
MAYORS OF THE CITY
In 1843 a new charter was granted the town, which was used without amendment until 1850, when it was amended and in 1851 repealed by the passage and adoption of a new city charter. This charter has been amended from time to time to suit the convenience of the inhabitants or to grant or take from it some privilege. From 1839 to 1910 the following named have served as mayors of Davenport:
1839, Rodolphus Bennett; 1840, John H. Thorington; 1841, Jonathan W. Parker; 1842, Harvey Leonard; 1843, James Thorington; 1844, James Thorington; 1845, James Thorington; 1846, James Thorington; 1847, James M. Bowling; 1848, James M. Bowling; 1849, Jonathan Parker; 1850, James Hall; 1851, Charles Weston; 1852, John Jordan; 1853, John A. Boyd; 1854, James Grant; 1855, Enos Tichenor; 1856, G. C. R. Mitchell; 1857, George B. Sargent; 1858, Ebenezer Cook; 1859, Ebenezer Cook; 1860, James B. Caldwell; 1861, George H. French; 1862, George H. French; 1863, John E. Henry; 1864, Robert Lowry; 1865, John L. Davies; 1866, John L. Davies; 1867, M. Donahue; 1868, M. Donahue; 1869, James Renwick; 1870, J. M. Lyter; 1871, John C. Bills; 1872, A. H. Bennett; 1873, J. H. Murphy; 1874, J. W. Stewart; 1875, Roderick Rose; 1876, Roderick Rose; 1877, T. T. Dun; 1878, John W. Thompson; 1879, J. H. Murphy; 1880, Roderick Rose; 1881, John E. Henry; 1882, John C. Bills; 1883, John W. Thompson (died in office); 1883-9, Ernst Claussen; 1890-1, C. A. Ficke; 1892, John C. Bills; 1893-6, Hnery Vollmer; 1897, S. F. Smith; 1898-9, George T. Baker; 1900-1, Fred Heinz; 1902-3, Waldo Becker; 1904-5, Harry W. Phillips; 1906-7, Waldo Becker; 1908-10, George W. Scott. In the April election of 1910 Alfred C. Mueller was elected to succeed Mayor Scott.
THE CITY HALL
The city hall, which is located on the northeast corner of Fourth and Harrison streets, was built in 1895 and cost $100,000. It is a beautiful building architecturally, is built of Bedford stone and is absolutely fireproof. On the gound floor is the police department, including the general offices and that of the chief; also assembly room, the desk sergeant's office, cell rooms and the office of the police judge. The offices of the city clerk, treasurer, board of public works and health department are on the second floor. A magnificent council chamber, the office of the city attorney and the engineering department occupy the third floor. There is probably no other city in the state of Iowa that has a city building that will surpass this one.
THE POLICE DEPARTMENT
Davenport, like all cities of push and progress and good order, has its modern, systematized, metropolitan police force. At this time the number of uniformed policemen number forty-five, including the chief. Of this body of men twenty-seven are patrolmen. The police are chosen not only for their physical make-up, but they are also required to meet a certain standard-which is a high one-of morality and intelligence. Davenport was one of the first western cities of its size to employ a police matron who has charge of the house of detention for females and juvenile offenders.
Davenport traces its first fire department to the year 1838, when, on July 27th, the proper official ordered each citizen to keep constantly in his home two buckets for fire protection, and to use them when needed. On July 26th, 1856, the fire department of Davenport was actually organized at a meeting held in the office of R. G. Congdon, Colonel Robert M. Littler being chairman of the meeting. At that time a volunteer fire company was formed and two days later the constitution was adopted. The name given to the company was The Independent Fire Engine & Hose Company. Two hand engines and 1,500 feet of hose were purchased and about 10 members enrolled. In 1857 a lot was bought by the city on Brady street, just above Fifth, and thereon a building was erected and used for the fire apparatus, and also for meetings of the city fathers. It was called the city hall. The same year, 1857, the Fire King Engine Company and the Pioneer Hook & Ladder Company were organized. In April, 1858, the Rescue Engine Company, No. 3, was organized. When the Davenport Water Company began to furnish water, the city took over the fire department, reorganized it and installed a paid department and enlarged the equipment to meet the needs of a growing city. At this time the fire department of Davenport has assumed quite large proportions. With its fire chief it has a force of forty-five men that is distributed among seven hose companies and two hook and ladder companies. There are twenty-four horses, the best for the purpose that money can buy, a splendid electric fire alarm system, 14,000 feet of hose, eighty-one miles of water mains, with 669 hydrants, and the expense for the past fiscal year, ending March, 1909, of maintaining this department was $56,318.55. The following is the valuation of the property:
DAVENPORT'S PARK SYSTEM
Davenport has a system of parks and drives that are very gratifying to the senses. In 1890 a board of park commissioners was established. The members of this board are elected by the people and ever since its existence have been men adapted to the work of beautifying the city and have given it their unstinted services.
The main feature of this system, Central park, has been beautifully laid out with lakes and drives, and makes for the children a playground and a place of enjoyment for everyone. The park is ornamented with rustic bridges, fountains, a large and spacious greenhouse and floral gardens. It also has a small space set aside for animals and birds. A very pretty pavilion for musicians sits upon a prominence near the southern extremity where concerts are given at frequent intervals during the summer months. A refectory has also been established there. Under the plan adopted by the city a boulevard system has been laid out, and is given the same care and attention as the parks. The portion completed is known as Kirkwood boulevard. It will eventually connect McClellan Heights on the east with Fejervary park on the west, with drives reaching to the other breathing spots. These boulevards are laid out with flower beds and shrubbery, and please the eye of the beholder exceedingly.
The grounds for Fejervary park were presented by Miss Celestine Fejervary, a daughter of Nicholas Fejervary, a Hungarian refugee, who came to Davenport in the '40s, following the collapse of the insurrection in his native country. This park site was formerly the homestead of Mr. Fejervary. The house is still retained upon the grounds and the main features of the interior have been preserved. To the exterior have been added porticos and here those who desire may be served with lunches and other refreshments. The landscape gardener has done his very best here. The hills have been preserved and the ravines have been spanned with rustic bridges. At the northern part of the park is a zoo wherein is a herd of buffaloes, which add greatly to the attractions of this resort. There are also elk, deer, bears, leopards and other animals confined within concrete dens fenced around with steel.
PROSPECT AND RIVERVIEW TERRACES
In the eastern portion of the city is Prospect Terrace and in the western Riverview Terrace, both of which occupy commanding sites which overlook large portions of the city and great expanses of the Mississippi river.
LAFAYETTE AND WASHINGTON SQUARES
Are located in the business heart of the city. They are maintained by the park commissioners for the benefit of the public and are filled with beautiful shade trees. There are also benches and fountains.
In addition to these beauty spots may be mentioned McClellan Heights, where Camp McClellan was established during the Civil war; also Walling court, Arlington court, Dover court, Grand court and Riverview place. There are also a number of private parks, such as Schuetzen park and Surburban island park, situated on Credit island, the scene of the battle between General Taylor and his American troops and the British and Indians under command of Lieutenant Graham, of the British army.
In their last annual report the park commissioners reported the following expenditures, which give the reader a pretty clear idea as to the amounts of money and care expended upon these breathing spots in the city: For the fiscal year ending April 1, 1909, there was expended on Central park $9,111.24; on Fejervary park, $8,086.87; on Washington and Lafayette squares, $2,290.01; on Prospect Terrace, $294.44; Riverview Terrace, $291.98; Kirkwood boulevard, $309.95; on gardener's grounds, $6,523.33; other expenses, including superintendent's salary, commissioners' salary, etc., brought the total of expenses for the year to $28,798.88.
CITY'S ASSETS AND LIABILITIES IN 1909
Assets April 1, 1909
Valuation of Property
STREET COMMISSIONER DEPARTMENTS
BOARD OF HEALTH
CITY ENGINEER'S REPORT
From 1889 to 1909
INCOME FROM USE OF LEVEE
The first street railway to be operated in Davenport was the Third street line, which was built by the Davenport Central Railway Company. The larger part of the utility was built in 1868 and the first car started March 2, 1869. A. C. Fulton was the first president. Next came the Brady street line, from Second street to Central park, and Judge James Grant was its president. This road had two branches, one running east to Oakdale cemetery, and the westward branch from Brady to Washington Garden. These branches were subsequently abandoned and then a line was built by way of Second, Fourth and Sixteenth to Northwest Davenport. In 1888 the Brady street was equipped with electric motive power. A Chicago syndicate bought the other lines and operated them after making general improvements to their betterment and additions to the services by building the Harrison and Locust street belt line and another on Sixth, Tremont avenue, Kirkwood boulevard, Perry and Main, which were afterward taken up. Subsequently all the lines were merged into one system.
In its system of street railways Davenport is very fortunate indeed and there is no other city in the country that surpasses her in that regard. The service and equipment is excellent and fully meets the present wants of the community. The lighting system is equally good, both in the business and residential sections. In the fall of 1909 boulevard lamps were placed on the lower portion of Brady street, making the illumination of that locality a beautiful feature, and gave rise to flattering encomiums by strangers on first beholding the novel sight. Of these things, Sherman W. Searle, at one time editor of the Davenport Leader, has written interestingly and with the data at hand that makes the following authentic:
THE MERGING OF UTILITIES
"The merging of the street railways, electric power, electric light and gas companies of the cities of Davenport, Rock Island and Moline, in 1906, has resulted in great benefit to this community. It has given to the manufacturing interests cheap gas and power and has brought the power generated by the rapids of the Mississippi river to the door of every factory. In addition to this it has made Davenport one of the best lighted cities in the country and has given to her sister cities a system of street railways unequaled in any community of their population.
"In the spring of 1906 three New York banking firms, N. W. Halsey & Company; Mackay & Company; and J. G. White & Company, purchased all the lines in the three cities. They included the lines of the Tri-City Railway Company, the Davenport & Surburban Railway Company, the Davenport Gas & Electric Company and the Peoples Light Company of the city of Davenport, the Moline & Watertown Railway Company and the Peoples Power Company of Rock Island and Moline. The reorganization of these companies was effected with the Tri-City Railway & Light Company as the holding company of the different properties. These properties were consolidated into four companies, each with its own officers and executive board. J. F. Porter is president and H. E. Weeks is secretary of each of the four companies, while the Tri-City Railway and the Moline, East Moline and Watertown Railway have J. G. Huntoon, the Peoples Light Company has H. G. Blackwell and the Peoples Power Company has F. W. Reimers as their superintendents.
"The purpose of this amalgamation was the introduction of economies in the production of power and gas and in the operation of its plants. It was believed by the purchasers that the economies introduced would warrant in savings sufficient to justify the expenditure of large sums of money to put the properties in first class condition, and their judgment has proven to be correct. Already this company has expended $1,800,000 in cash in the improvement of its different plants, and it will require another million to place the properties in the high state of efficiency that is contemplated. All of its improvements are in charge of J. G. White & Company which, in addition to being a banking firm, is one of the leading engineering companies in the United States. All the work of reconstruction is of the highest class. Wherever new track is laid or old track replaced eighty-pound rail, laid upon concrete sub-structure, is used. The equipment of the street railway system is being constantly improved and the rolling stock is kept in the best possible state of efficiency.
ELECTRICITY FROM WATER POWER
"The Electricity used in the operation of the cars of the street railway companies, and used also for lighting and commercial power purposes, is generated by water power secured by utilizing the rapids of the Mississippi river. This water power furnishes electricity not only sufficient for all of these purposes, but for an overload capacity of 12,000 kilowatts, or 15,000 horse power. The system is provided with sub-stations and storage stations from which extra power is drawn in case of emergency. It has, in addition to this, an auxiliary steam power plant sufficient to carry the entire load of the different properties in the event of accident, high water or other casualty to the water power plant.
"The people of Davenport received immediate and direct benefit by this amalgamation in the reduction of prices of both gas and electricity. The company, upon assuming control of the properties, authorized a reduction of thirty per cent in the price of electricity and twenty per cent in that of gas, the consumers being the beneficiaries.
"Another feature of the economies in this consolidation was the reduction of electricity to large consumers. So great was the reduction that many large manufacturing plants have abandoned the generation of power by steam and are buying their power from this company. Indeed, this fact is becoming generally known throughout the west and is attracting manufacturers to the locality. The same may be said of such concerns as use gas in their manufacturing enterprises. Gas is delivered at as low a rate as can be found anywhere in the west. The reliability of the power furnished by the amalgamated companies, and the excellence of the gas, are matters of favorable comment among all its consumers.
"When the merging of the different properties took place, the Tri-City Railway & Light Company became the possessors of the City Steam & Heating plant of the Davenport Gas & Electric Company. This plant had been run down so that the service was not considered of the best. The new owners, however, installed a new heating plant at the corner of Third and Rock Island streets. Immense water tube boilers are being placed which will furnish an abundance of steam for the heating of the entire business section of the city. The steam mains have been relaid and re-inforced, and with the extensions made, the business houses find it more economical and more satisfactory to heat their office buildings, stores and shops in this manner."
DAVENPORT WATER COMPANY
One of the public utilities of which the citizens of Davenport are justly proud is their waterworks system and filter plant, operated by the Davenport Water Company. In the early '70s, the citizens of Davenport began to plan a waterworks system, but the city being in debt to the constitutional limit, it was impossible to undertake the work. Hon. Michael Donahue, a former mayor of the city, stepped to the front and offered to install a water system provided the city would give him a resonable franchise under which to work. The conditions of the franchise were agreed upon, passed and approved on December 4, 1872, and accepted by Mr. Donahue December 5, 1872.
In the early spring of 1873 ground was broken for the erection of a suitable pump house and system of pipes. The system laid at that time consisted of twenty miles of main pipes and 245 fire hydrants, and provided fire protection not only for the business section but for the bluffs and residence portions. While this plan was successful in providing fire protection, to do this work endangered both the pumps and the main pipe system. For that reason a reservoir, with a capacity of 5,000,000 gallons, was built, and a pumping station erected on Ripley street between Fourteenth and Fifteenth streets. The system of mains was then divided into high and low pressure service, the reservoir supplying the bluff district and the river station supplying the downtown district of the city. By this system fire service is given under lower pressure with better results and the danger of the pumps and mains is minimized.
For the first few years after the installation of this system the company did not receive the patronage expected on account of the trubidity of the water and it was to provide pure, clean water that eighteen years ago, investigations were made by Colonel James P. Donahue, son of the late Michael Donahue, with the view of filtering the water for the entire city. Careful search was made for a source of supply other than the river, but quality and quantity were not to be found. Colonel Donahue then visited a number of cities where mechanical filtration had been installed but not successfully operated. Notwithstanding the defects in other companies, the Davenport Water Company had the courage to invest a large amount of money in installing the filtering plant which has proven so very satisfactory.
In February, 1908, they again started to enlarge their plant, adding more filters and remodeling the old ones. They also put in a new independent system for washing the filters and erected a large air compressor for aerating the sand beds. This is done every night, to keep the sand beds in sanitary condition. In fact, the filters are the most spectacular pressure filters in the United States, and are daily delivering millions of gallons of pure, sparkling water to the citizens of Davenport.
No description can give an adequate account of the magnitude of the plant at Station No. 1, and only by a visit to this institution can a full idea be obtained. The company is always willing and pleased to show visitors about its plant.