Colonel Davenport House
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Colonel George Davenport’s House

Timeline


Based on a Federal Style, the Colonel Davenport House was built using technology known by a local carpenter.  His method was to build the skeleton of the house as if it were a log structure.  The logs were squared using axes and adzes and then notched to fit tightly against each other. Furring strips were then secured to the exterior, and pine clapboards were attached. 

Later, more conventional building techniques of frame construction were used.  East and west wings were added to the house.  A kitchen wing on the south was added.  A small porch ran the length of the house.  Davenport used the west wing as an office. The house was the center of a number of buildings, as many as thirteen. These additional buildings acted as warehouses and storehouses for the trading network.

After the Civil War, the house deteriorated and eventually fell to the ravages of local souvenir hunters and vandals.  In 1907, restoration began. In 1988 the Colonel Davenport Historical Foundation raised funds and restored the roof, siding, windows, front porch and west wing.  The Federal Government and the U.S. Army have contributed no money to this project.

The Colonel Davenport Historical Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the Davenport House.  It relies on private donations to support its activities and restoration efforts.  The Foundation relies on volunteers to maintain and operate the house.

Colonel George Davenport

The Davenport House is historically important for several reasons.  First, it reflects the growth in the prosperity of one man, George Davenport.  Davenport was a settler, provider, homesteader, businessman and counselor.  His history equals the Quad City's history shaping its growth and development.  On a much larger scale, it reflects the settling of the West.
When George Davenport arrived with the U.S. Army in 1816, their mission was to establish fortification in the wilderness for the U.S. Government. The protection afforded by this fort attracted settlers to this wild, rich land. As a settler, Davenport was in a position to realize the possibilities of further trade with the Indians.  He also prospered as an Agent of the American Fur Company.   He quickly branched into other businesses, sending the first keelboat-load of lead down the river to St. Louis. 
During the Black Hawk Wars, Davenport was a fur trader and respected citizen.  This put him in a natural position to act as a mediator between the Indians and the U.S. Government.  The coming of the steamboat in 1823 into the upper Mississippi Valley region brought more settlers and possibilities for further business dealings.  With his increased prosperity, Davenport wanted a home, which he built between 1833-1834. The house became the center of local commerce, a crossroads for trade in the region.  Later, this home laid the foundation for the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois.

George Davenport and Fur Trading

Come hear about the fur trading and its importance in the life of George Davenport.
Learn about the types of furs traded in the Quad City area. Listen to how George Davenport bartered with the local Indians in building the local economy.

 

 

Timeline

1833-1834 George Davenport built Federal-style house. It’s one of the farthest west examples of this type of architecture in the country.
1845 George Davenport is murdered.
1857 Davenport family moves out of the house.
1863 Captain Reynolds, in charge of the Arsenal prison barracks, rented the
house. Then in December, Col. Johnson rented the house as the prison headquarters.
1864 Lloyd family took residence.
1867 Property was sold to the U.S. Government. It was abandoned and fell into severe disrepair with the east, west, and south winds collapsing.
1907 Davenport’s granddaughters and a group called the Old Settlers and Pioneers were able to save and restore the main structure, but had to raze the three deteriorating wings.
1959-1966 Quad City Homebuilders and volunteers further restored the Davenport house with a new roof, siding, interior plaster, and exterior and interior paint. The house was opened for tours.
1976 Local chapters of Questers antique group chose the house as their Bicentennial renovation project.
1978 Colonel Davenport Historical Foundation is created with the goals of preserving the house and sharing its rich history with the public.
1986 The roof was replaced on the house.
1989 CDHF replaced the window sashes with ones that were like the original ones thanks to a grant from the Adler Foundation. The 1906 siding was also replaced with stylistically-accurate pine wood siding.
1990-1991 The federal-style portico on the front of the house was reconstructed thanks to a grant from Adler Foundation.
1995 The chimneys were restored and the stucco was removed revealing the Mississippi riverbend stone thanks to a grant from the Riverboat Development Authority.
1998 The west wing of the house was reconstructed and houses the gift shop thanks to grants from the State of Illinois, Riverboat Development Authority, and Scott County Regional Authority.
2003 Archeological dig of east wing area and yard is completed in preparation for reconstruction. Fur trade exhibit was completed on the second floor.
2005 Windows and siding were replaced on the front of the house thanks to a grant from the Riverboat Development Authority.
2007 The south side of the house is resided, the windows redone, and the porch and accessible ramp rebuilt thanks to the Quad City Homebuilders, McCartney Construction, Ehrecke Construction, and a grant from the Scott County Regional Authority.
2010 Downstairs interior painted and wood trim was recoated with a wood grain supported by a matching grant from the Runge Family Foundation.
2011 Groundbreaking of reconstruction of the east wing project
2012 Grants received from the Scott County Regional Authority and the Hubbell-Waterman Foundation to continue work on the east wing.

 

Colonel Davenport Historical Foundation
P. O. Box 4603
Rock Island, IL 61204-4603
Tel. (309) 786-7336
coloneldavenport1833@hotmail.com