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Davenport: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

The Davenport economic base is diversified, with a relatively equal distribution among the manufacturing, wholesale and retail, and services sectors. Manufacturing has traditionally been a principal industry in the city. Davenport is also a primary retail and wholesale trade center, drawing from a market area encompassing a radius of up to 100 miles. Business and industry in Davenport benefit from the Quad City financial community. More than 40 area banks and lending institutions, in conjunction with the state of Iowa, have established a fiscal atmosphere favorable to new business and the expansion of existing firms through progressive and conventional financing procedures. Thirteen industrial islands are located within the Davenport city limits.

Items and goods produced: agricultural implements, construction machinery, military equipment, airplane parts, chemicals, meat and food products, lumber and timber, sheet aluminum, metal products, cement and foundry products, electronic parts, clothing, printing and publishing products

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

City programs include loans and tax abatement programs for job creations and investment in real estate. The city of Davenport currently qualifies to offer the advantages of operating in an Enterprise Zone.

State programs

State of Iowa loans/forgivable loans and grants based on payroll and capital investment in plant and equipment. Projects involving larger capital investments and/or higher paying jobs may qualify for property tax exemptions, tax credits and additional training dollars under the New Jobs and Income Program. Additional state funding is also available for infrastructure improvements such as rail spurs, roadways, and others.

Job training programs

Job training programs are available that offset wages and training costs of employees. These programs are paid for through the diversion of payroll and property taxes that would normally accrue to the state/community. They also provide Iowa income tax credits.

Development Projects

A significant development in Davenport and environs was the introduction of riverboat casino gambling in the 1990s. Tens of millions of dollars have been poured into these ventures and tourists have been responding. Other key economic development efforts include the opening of an expanded convention center; a new 220-room hotel; and a 780-car parking garage, surmounted by a $20 million, 10-story building for MidAmerican Energy Company. Just west of these developments are a new Community Health Center, a new Sports Center, and a renovated state-of-the-art educational center for Eastern Iowa Community College District. Davenport's Downtown Partnership has focused on developing the city's central business district by retaining existing businesses, developing opportunities for new businesses, and providing housing for those employed in the urban area. Since 2001, the River Renaissance program has revitalized Davenport's historic downtown through more than $100 million worth of community investment.

Economic Development Information: Quad City Development Group, 1830 Second Avenue, Suite 200, Rock Island, IL 61201; telephone (563)326-1005; toll-free (800)747-7436

Commercial Shipping

Davenport's mid-continent location is favorable to freight distribution, with one-day delivery by highway and rail to points throughout the Midwest. As a U.S. Customs Port of Entry and a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ), Davenport is also a center for national and international commerce. Its Quad Cities Container Terminal works with the FTZ to permit materials to be shipped around the world without being unpacked or passing through customs until they reach their final destination. The Quad City area comprises the largest market of any major metropolitan region. A regional headquarters of United Parcel Service is located in Davenport; in all, six air freight carriers process cargo through the Quad City Airport. More than 100 motor freight companies maintain warehouses in the Quad Cities. Four rail carriers provide local switching services. Of the regions nearly 50 private and public barge terminals, more than half offer access by rail and/or highway. More than 60 truck terminals and more than 70 motor freight carriers serve the Quad Cities. Bulk commodity shippers find the Quad Cities barge service to be a highly cost-efficient shipping option.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Davenport claims a productive, skilled labor force that can be employed at a lower cost than the national average. Because of the area's long history as a manufacturing center, the work force possesses many of the traditional skills associated with equipment manufacturing and metal fabricating. The service sector is the fastest-growing, led by the proliferation of gambling casinos and attendant industries catering to tourists.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Davenport-Rock Island-Moline metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of non-agricultural labor force: 182,600

Number of workers employed in . . .

mining and construction: 8,000

manufacturing: 24,300

trade, transportation and utilities: 39,800

information: 3,200

financial activities: 8,900

professional and business services: 22,300

educational and health services: 22,200

leisure and hospitality: 18,800

other services: 7,900

government: 27,300

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $16.17

Unemployment rate: 5.6% (March 2005)

Largest Quad City employers Number of employees
Deere & Co. 7,750
Aluminum Co. of America (ALCOA) 2,500
IBP Inc. Slaughterhouse 2,200
Rock Island Arsenal 1,814
Oscar Mayer Food Corp. 1,800
Eagle Food Center 1,622

Cost of Living

Davenport offers tax-exempt housing mortgage revenue bonds to prospective homeowners. Health care costs are relatively low.

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors in the Davenport area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $241,035 (Quad Cities)

2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported

State income tax rate: Ranges from 0.36% to 8.98%

State sales tax rate: 5.0%

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: 2.0%

Property tax rate: $32.49 per $1,000 assessed valuation

Economic Information: Davenport Chamber of Commerce, 102 S. Harrison Street, Davenport, IA 52801; telephone (563)322-1706

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Davenport: Recreation


The Village of East Davenport was founded in 1851 and prospered from the logging industry along the Mississippi River, playing a significant role in western migration. Today, the village is 60 square blocks of more than 500 preserved and redeveloped homes and businesses; small shops, new businesses, and one-family residential homes are combined in a variety of historical styles. An elaborate recreation of nineteenth-century America at Christmas time takes place in the village each year on the first Friday and Saturday of December.

Among other historic sites are the Buffalo Bill Cody homestead in nearby McCausland, the Buffalo Bill Museum in LeClaire, and the Rock Island Arsenal, where Colonel George Davenport's home is located. The Davenport House is open for sightseeing from May to October on Thursday through Saturday. Attractions on Arsenal Island include the National Cemetery and the Confederate Cemetery, both dating back to the Civil War. The Vander Veer Botanical Garden, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a 33-acre park with annual and perennial beds, a formal rose garden, and a conservatory. The Conservatory is renowned for its floral shows and tropical plants. Another sightseeing attraction near Davenport is located on a 1,000-acre site that overlooks the Rock River Valley in Moline, Illinois, where the Deere & Company Administrative Centerthe company's world headquarterswas designed by Eero Saarinen, the celebrated Finnish architect.

Arts and Culture

The Quad City Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1914, is housed in the Adler Theatre, a restored Art Deco movie palace; the orchestra performs a six-concert season with international guest artists. The Adler is also the home of the Broadway Theatre League, which hosts touring shows. Other organizations that sponsor musical events are the Friends of Chamber Music, the Handel Oratorio Society, and the American Guild of Organists. New to Davenport's performing arts scene are the Cassandra Manning Ballet Theatre and Ballet Iowa. Additional restorations to the Adler will be carried out under funding from the River Renaissance initiative.

The Putnam Museum of History and Natural Science, situated on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, houses exhibits on natural science, tribal cultures, ancient civilizations, and the Mississippi River valley. The permanent exhibit, "River, Prairie and People," illustrates the history of the Quad Cities from prehistoric times to the present. The museum also houses an IMAX theater and the Heritage Theatre. The Figge Museum, formerly the Davenport Museum of Art, is Iowa's first municipal art museum. It is located next door to the Putnam at the entrance to Fejervary Park and contains more than 13,000 square feet of gallery space, as well as five fully equipped art-making studios and an auditorium. The Winter Garden, a glass-walled structure on the top level of the museum, provides a beautiful view of the Mississippi River. The museum's s Regionalist Collection includes the Grant Wood Display, a permanent collection of the works of Iowas most famous artist. Other collections include European Old Masters, Mexican Colonial Art, and Haitian Art.

The Hauberg Indian Museum, part of Blackhawk State Historic Site in Rock Island, Illinois, preserves the heritage of the Sac and Fox tribes. Local history can be explored at the Family Museum of Arts & Science in Bettendorf. River Music Experience, a museum dedicated to American roots music, opened its doors in 2004. More than a museum, River Music Experience is also an entertainment center, as interactive exhibits expose visitors to the sounds of traditional American music.

Festivals and Holidays

The Mississippi River in the summertime is the focal point for many of Davenport's annual events. The Fourth of July holiday features the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival. The week-long Great Mississippi Valley Fair, featuring a carnival and entertainment, begins in late July. Top Dixieland bands from around the world flock to the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival in July. During the festival, a nationally known seven-mile race called the Bix Seven is run. On Mother's Day weekend and the weekend after Labor Day, Midwestern artists and craftspeople display their works on the streets of downtown Davenport. Annually in late July or early August the Quad Cities host the Great River Tug Fest, where 10-member teams from Iowa and Illinois play tug-of-war across the Mississippi River.

Sports for the Spectator

The Quad-City Swing, a Midwest League Class A professional baseball affiliate of the Minnesota Twins of the American League, play a home schedule of 70 baseball games at the newly-renovated John O'Donnell Stadium in Davenport. The Quad-City Downs in East Moline sponsors televised harness racing year-round. The Quad-City Times Bix 7 Run is held in late July; more than 17,000 runnersincluding nationally known competitorschallenge the hills of Davenport. The John Deere Classic, a Professional Golfers Association event, is also held locally. Basketball action is provided by the Quad City Thunder, members of the Continental Basketball Association, who play 28 home games from November through March at the Mark of the Quad Cites in Moline. The Quad City Mallards United Hockey League team also plays at the Mark. Cordova Dragway Park offers drag-racing events throughout the summer, and stock car racing is available at several area tracks.

Sports for the Participant

The Davenport Parks and Recreation Department manages 70 sites, on 2,200 acres of parks and public facilities, for golf, tennis, swimming, jogging, and softball. Scott County Park, 6 miles north of Davenport on more than 1,000 acres of land, features picnic grounds, an Olympic-size pool, and an 18-hole golf course. Davenport's proximity to the Mississippi River provides easy access for boating and various other water sports; riverboat casino gambling out of Daven-port and Bettendorf is offered November through March. Wacky Waters is a 30-acre amusement park with water rides and a 5-acre swimming lake. Skiing is possible from December to March in Taylor Ridge.

Shopping and Dining

Davenport's Northpark Mall is Iowa's largest mall; anchored by five major stores, it houses more than 165 specialty shops. A variety of specialty and gift shops, clothing stores, restaurants, and taverns are located in the historic Village of East Davenport. American and family dining is the focus of the majority of local restaurants, with a sampling of Chinese cuisine, pubs, and delis also offered.

Visitor Information: Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau, 102 S. Harrison St., Davenport, IA 52801; telephone (563)322-3911; toll-free (800)747-7800; email [email protected]

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Davenport: History

Westward Expansion Targets Davenport Townsite

In the early 1800s the land now occupied by the city of Davenport was the site of bloody fighting between Native Americans and settlers from the eastern United States. This location was valuable in the westward expansion beyond the Mississippi River, serving as a trading center of the American Fur Company. Early treaties specified that the Sac tribe could remain in their villages until the land was surveyed and sold to settlers; warfare resulted, however, after Chief Black Hawk and his followers refused to leave the land on the order of the United States Government agent at Fort Armstrong. In the fall of 1832, Black Hawk was captured and returned to Fort Armstrong, where he signed a treaty, known as the Black Hawk Purchase, that conveyed to the United States six million acres of land west of the Mississippi River.

Two figures stand out in the period that predates the formation of Davenport. The city was named for Colonel George Davenport, an Englishman who had served in the United States Army and then established a fur trading post in the vicinity. Antoine LeClaire, an interpreter who was fluent in three languages and several Native American dialects, served as interpreter for the Black Hawk Purchase. For his efforts the federal government, at the request of Chief Keokuk, awarded him a section of land opposite Rock Island and another section at the head of the rapids above Rock Island where the treaty was negotiated. In 1833, in a claim dispute over land he owned, LeClaire settled for a quarter-section bounded by Davenport's present-day Harrison Street, Warren Street, and Seventh Street. In 1835 Colonel Davenport and six other men formed a company to survey a townsite; they purchased this section from LeClaire, who succeeded in having the new town named after his good friend Davenport. The town was incorporated in 1836.

The initial sale of lots attracted few buyers and in the first year only a half dozen families relocated to the new town. LeClaire and Davenport erected a hotel on the corner of Ripley and First Streets, naming it the Hotel Davenport. By the spring of 1837, the population was growing; a town retailer, for instance, served customers who traveled hundreds of miles to buy goods from his inventory, valued at $5,000. In December of that year, the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature authorized the creation of Scott County, named after General Winfield Scott. A dispute subsequently broke out between Davenport and neighboring Rockingham for the right to be the county seat. The matter was decided, after three elections, in favor of Davenport; in time, Rockingham was absorbed by the larger city. Davenport received its first city charter in 1839.

Industry and Culture Establish Traditions

During the decade before the Civil War, Davenport increased its population more than fivefold, with an influx of immigrants from Germany that continued unabated into the 1890s. These new residents imported music and other cultural interests to Davenport, creating institutions such as the Davenport Public Museum and the Municipal Art Gallery. The first railroad bridge to span the Mississippi River was completed in 1856 between Davenport and Rock Island, contributing to the development of the western frontier. The Rock Island Arsenal opened in 1861 to help Union war efforts; the arsenal eventually grew to become one of the largest in the world. In the post-Civil War era Davenport prospered as a riverboat town and as a burgeoning industrial center for the manufacture of cement, steel and iron products, and leather goods.

By the turn of the twentieth century, Davenport was considered the "Washing Machine Capital of the World"the revolutionary home appliance was invented in the cityand the "Cigar Making Capital of the Midwest." The cigar industry flourished in Davenport until World War II. Davenport counts among its former citizens a number of prominent Americans. B. J. Palmer, the inventor of chiropractics, and his son, D. D. Palmer, were lifelong residents; the younger Palmer used his radio station to introduce Americans to his new medical practice and to Davenport. Buffalo Bill Cody grew up in the rural Davenport area; Dixieland jazz great Bix Beiderbecke was born in the city; and two Pulitzer Prize winners, Charles Edward Russell and Susan Glaspell, once lived there.

Davenport and the Quad Cities region, having invested tens of millions of dollars in the 1990s on lavish riverboat casinos, provide "Midwest Magic on the Mississippi River." In 2001, Scott County voters approved the River Renaissance development program, which commenced a period of downtown revitalization and inspired more than $160 million of investment throughout the region.

Historical Information: Putnam Museum of History and Natural Science Library, 1717 W. 12th Street, Davenport, IA 52804; telephone (319)324-1933

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Davenport: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Public elementary and secondary schools in Davenport are part of the Davenport Community School District, which also serves the communities of Buffalo, Blue Grass, and Walcott. Iowa consistently ranks among the top states in the country for average ACT composite scores.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Davenport public schools as of the 20022003 school year.

Total enrollment: 16,544

Number of facilities preschool center: 1

elementary schools: 19 (some with preschool)

middle schools: 6

high schools: 3

other: 1 alternative school

Student/teacher ratio: 20:1 K-1st; 21:1 2nd-3rd; 26:1 4th-5th

Teacher salaries average: $45,493

Funding per pupil: $8,904 in 2002-2003

Several private and parochial schools offer education alternatives in the Davenport metropolitan region.

Public Schools Information: Davenport Community School District, 1606 Brady Street, Davenport, IA 52803; telephone (563)336-5000

Colleges and Universities

The Quad Cities is home to three private, four-year liberal arts colleges; a state university regional center; two community colleges; a world-famous chiropractic college; and a graduate-level consortium. Among the institutions of higher learning located in Davenport are Marycrest International University and St. Ambrose University, coeducational liberal arts colleges affiliated with the Catholic Church; both grant a masters degree in addition to baccalaureate degrees. The Palmer College of Chiropractic, the country's oldest chiropractic institute, provides a five-year course of study toward the doctor of chiropractic degree, as well as bachelor and master of science degrees. Eastern Iowa Community College, which awards associate degrees, offers continuing education and vocational and technical training. The Quad Cities Graduate Study Center represents a consortium of eight Iowa and Illinois institutions; the center coordinates course offerings and applies credit toward advanced degrees, including more than 80 master's degree programs.

Among colleges and universities within commuting distance of Davenport are Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois; the University of Iowa in Iowa City; and Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Davenport Public Library operates one branch and a bookmobile in addition to its main facility, which holds more than 294,000 volumes, including periodical subscriptions, CD-ROMs, and audio- and videotapes. Construction began on a second branch in 2005, and planning has begun for a third. Library patrons can also search for materials through the Quad-LINC library catalog, which provides access to more than 30 area libraries. The library, a depository for state and federal documents, maintains special collections on chess and Iowa authors. Also based in Davenport is Southeastern Library Services, which provides libraries in the region with reference back-up, continuing education classes, and library development and support services.

Specialized libraries and research centers in Davenport are affiliated with colleges, museums, corporations, the Scott County Genealogical Society, and the Scott County Bar Association.

Public Library Information: Davenport Public Library, 321 Main Street, Davenport, IA 52801-1490; telephone (563)326-7832; fax (319)326-7809

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Davenport: Transportation

Approaching the City

The Quad City International Airport, 15 minutes from downtown Davenport in Moline, Illinois, is served by 5 airlines offering 40 daily direct flights to and from Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Orlando, Memphis and Minneapolis-Saint Paul. Davenport Municipal Airport handles corporate aircraft and acts as a reliever airport for Quad City International Airport.

Four interstate, four U.S. highways, and five state highways connect Davenport with points throughout the Midwest and across the United States. I-280 is an outerbelt around the Quad City region. I-80 passes through the city from New York to San Francisco; I-74 links Davenport with Indianapolis and Cincinnati to the east. U.S. 61 runs north-south, from Minneapolis-St. Paul; U.S. 67 extends south to St. Louis; and U.S. 6 connects Davenport with the East and West Coasts.

Traveling in the City

Corresponding to a grid pattern, Davenport's north-south streets are named and east-west streets are numbered. River Drive follows the waterfront of the Mississippi River.

Citibus operates regularly scheduled bus routes in Daven-port on weekdays and Saturday. Special bus service is available for the elderly and handicapped.

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Davenport: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents

1980: 384,000

1990: 350,855

2000: 359,062

Percent change, 19902000: 2.3%

U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported

U.S. rank in 2000: 114th

City Residents

1980: 103,264

1990: 95,333

2000: 98,359

2003 estimate: 97,512

Percent change, 19902000: 2.8%

U.S. rank in 1990: 212th

U.S. rank in 2000: 267th

Density: 1,566 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 82,311

Black or African American: 9,093

American Indian and Alaska Native: 368

Asian: 1,967

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 24

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 5,268

Other: 2,279

Percent of residents born in state: 61.9% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 7,268

Population 5 to 9 years old: 7,131

Population 10 to 14 years old: 7,100

Population 15 to 19 years old: 7,103

Population 20 to 24 years old: 7,698

Population 25 to 34 years old: 14,894

Population 35 to 44 years old: 14,695

Population 45 to 54 years old: 12,749

Population 55 to 59 years old: 4,282

Population 60 to 64 years old: 3,497

Population 65 to 74 years old: 5,873

Population 75 to 84 years old: 4,406

Population 85 years and over: 1,663

Median age: 33.6 years

Births (2002, Scott County)

Total number: 2,275

Deaths (2002, Scott County)

Total number: 1,318 (of which, 6 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $18,828

Median household income: $37,242

Total households: 39,238

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 4,056

$10,000 to $14,999: 2,697

$15,000 to $24,999: 5,998

$25,000 to $34,999: 5,756

$35,000 to $49,999: 6,742

$50,000 to $74,999: 7,911

$75,000 to $99,999: 3,565

$100,000 to $149,999: 1,799

$150,000 to $199,999: 350

$200,000 or more: 364

Percent of families below poverty level: 10.5% (61.5% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: Not reported

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Davenport: Introduction
Davenport: Geography and Climate
Davenport: History
Davenport: Population Profile
Davenport: Municipal Government
Davenport: Economy
Davenport: Education and Research
Davenport: Health Care
Davenport: Recreation
Davenport: Convention Facilities
Davenport: Transportation
Davenport: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1808 (incorporated, 1836)

Head Official: Mayor Charles W. Brooke (since 2004)

City Population

1980: 103,264

1990: 95,333

2000: 98,359

2003 estimate: 97,512

Percent change, 19902000: 2.8%

U.S. rank in 1990: 212th

U.S. rank in 2000: 267th

Metropolitan Area Population

1980: 384,000

1990: 350,855

2000: 359,062

Percent change, 19902000: 2.3%

U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported

U.S. rank in 2000: 114th

Area: 63 square miles (2000)

Elevation: Ranges from 579 to 700 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 48.1° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 33.7 inches

Major Economic Sectors: Trade, services, manufacturing, government

Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (March 2005)

Per Capita Income: $18,828 (1999)

2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: Not reported

Major Colleges and Universities: St. Ambrose University; Marycrest International University

Daily Newspaper: Quad-City Times

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Davenport: Geography and Climate

Davenport is set on a plain on the north bank of the Mississippi River, where the river forms the boundary between Iowa and Illinois. Davenport's section of the generally north-to-south-flowing river flows from east to west. Unlike every other major city bordering the Mississippi, Davenport has no permanent floodwall or levee, as the city prefers to retain open access to the water. Occasionally, flooding occurs and millions of dollars of property damage results. Located in the heart of an agricultural region, the city is within 300 miles of most other major Midwestern cities. Davenport's position near the geographic center of the country produces a temperate, continental climate that is characterized by a wide range in temperatures. Summers are short and hot; winters are usually severe, with an average annual snowfall of just over 30 inches. Although Davenport is located in a tornado zone, no funnel cloud has ever touched down within the city's boundaries.

Area: 63 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 579 feet to 700 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 21.7° F; July, 76.2° F; annual average, 48.1° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 33.7 inches

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Davenport: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

The Davenport daily newspaper is the morning Quad-City Times. Weekly newspapers are The Catholic Messenger and The Davenport Leader. Operations Research/Management Science and a journal about quality control and applied statistics are also published in Davenport.

Television and Radio

Nine commercial television stations are based in Davenport; viewers receive broadcasts from several other stations in Rock Island and Moline, Illinois; cable television service is available. Radio listeners can tune to 11 AM and FM stations broadcasting from Davenport that offer sports plus country, light, oldies, classic hits, and rock music.

Media Information: Quad-City Times, 500 E. Third St., Davenport IA 52801 telephone (563)383-2200

Davenport Online

City and area information. Available www.fyiowa.com

Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau. Available quadcities.com/cvb

Quad Cities online. Available www.quadcities.com

Quad City Development Group. Available www.quadcities.org

Selected Bibliography

McKusick, Marshall Bassford. The Davenport Conspiracy Revisted. Iowa State University Press, 1991.

Renkes, Jim. The Quad Cities and Their People. American World Geographic, 1994.

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