1. It’s One-Fourth Of The Quad Cities (Or A Fifth Of The Quint Cities)
Davenport is the largest of the Quad Cities, but no one can quite agree on which four cities make up the Quad Cities. On the Iowa side, it’s Davenport and Bettendorf, which is considered a suburb of Davenport. But on the Illinois side things get a little confusing, with Rock Island and Moline completing the four; however, East Moline is left out. Ignoring a large portion of the grouping of cities doesn’t sit well with many, who call it the Quint Cities instead.
2. They Dig Heavy Machinery
Davenport is home to a manufacturer synonymous with farming and construction. Deere & Company’s Davenport Works location manufactures dump trucks, four-wheel-drive loaders, motor graders, felling heads, wheeled feller bunchers, log skidders and cabs. Try saying that three times fast.
3. Sandbagging Is A Yearly Activity
The Mississippi River’s water level rises and falls over the course of the year, and always floods to varying degrees during the summer. However, it’s not really considered to be a flood year if they don’t sandbag above River Drive.
4. They Toot Their Own Horns
Davenport is the hometown of jazz legend Leon Bismark “Bix” Beiderbecke, who, along with Louis Armstrong and Muggsy Spanier, was one of the most influential jazz soloists of the 1920s. Bix played the cornet and piano, and helped invent the jazz ballad style. His mysterious death at the young age of 28, thought to have been brought on by poor health and alcoholism, has enshrined him forever as one of the saints of jazz.
5. They Don’t Make Davenports Here
No, the name “Davenport” doesn’t come from a brand of sofa. The area was originally home to the Sauk, Meskwaki and Ho-Chunk native people, who were forced to leave their land following the Black Hawk War. The area was then bought for $640,000, or about 11 cents an acre. The Sauk Chief Keokuk gave a portion of the land to Marguerite LeClaire, the granddaughter of a Sauk chief. Her husband, Antoine LeClaire, who was half native, served as the translator for the deal. Antoine LeClaire officially established Davenport in 1836, and named the town after his friend Colonel George Davenport, a frontiersman, trader and U.S. Army officer.
6. Is This Heaven? No, It’s A Truck Stop.
It’s big, it’s kitschy, it’s the Iowa 80 Truckstop, and it’s amazing. Originally built in 1964, the truck stop was a small Standard Oil station next to an only partially finished Interstate 80, just west of Davenport. Today, it is the largest truck stop in the world, is owned by the original founder, has been expanded and remodeled 28 times, and is roughly the size of a couple of football fields. The truck stop has a 300-seat restaurant, a movie theater, a gift shop, a food court, a coffee shop, laundry facilities, a dentist, a barber shop, a chiropractor, a workout room, a trucker’s TV lounge, private showers, a Verizon store kiosk, a convenience store, and much more – even a Dogomat Pet Wash. It also hosts an annual Truckers Jamboree every July. Oh yeah, and you can buy gas and diesel there too. How could you not love a place where you can go out to eat, get a haircut, have your back adjusted, see a movie, give Fido a bath, shop for souvenirs and then fill up your semi with diesel before continuing on to Cheyenne?
7. Understanding Directions May Require A Map
The Quad Cities are situated next to the only bend in the Mississippi River where the river flows east to west. Although this is a fun little fact, it can also confuse visitors asking for directions, because locals often explain location based on whether things are toward the river or away from it. Figge Art Museum, for example, is located on West 2nd Street, a couple of blocks away from the water’s edge, just a block north of East River Drive, which is also north of the water, on the west side of the river. Huh?
8. They’re Warriors
The largest employer in the Quad Cities is Rock Island Arsenal, the largest government-owned weapons manufacturing arsenal in the country. It is a National Historic Landmark that has been actively making military equipment and ordnance since the 1880s. During the Civil War, it was also a Union Army prison camp for captured Confederate soldiers.
9. They Need Ice Cream, Pizza And Tacos To Survive
When people move away or are gone for awhile, the first things they must have when they return are Rudy’s Tacos, Whitey’s Ice Cream, and either Harris Pizza or Happy Joe’s Pizza (pizza fans are polarized and feel very strongly about their favorite pizza place).
10. It’s D-Port
Sooner or later (and probably sooner), you will notice a lot of people refer to Davenport as D-Port. And, if you’re here for any length of time, or even just around people from here for awhile, you will too. So don’t fight it, just give in. Welcome to D-Port.