Near Bettendorf in Scott County, Iowa — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Historic Davenport / Interstate 80 Bridge
In 1829, William C. Redfield declared that Davenport lay opposite the future terminus of a “geographical trunk-line route” between the Atlantic and the Mississippi. Nine years later, in 1838, the Iowa Sun and Davenport and Rock Island News declared Davenport was destined to be the “Queen City of the Far West.” A score of early travelers shared this enthusiasm for rich soil, healthy climate and strategic location of Davenport on the west bank of the Mississippi opposite Old Fort Armstrong.
Little wonder that in 1836, George Davenport and Antoine LeClaire, together with six associates should acquire and lay out a 36-block townsite along the Mississippi between Harrison and Warren streets. The purchase price for much of the heart of present-day Davenport was $2,000. The town was incorporated by the Legislative Assembly in 1839.
The forecast of William Redfield was fulfilled when the Iron Horse of the Rock Island railroad slaked its thirst in the cold waters of the Mississippi on February 22, 1854. It was the first railroad to link the Atlantic with the Father of Waters. The
Interstate 80 bridges the Mississippi at one of its most historic points. Here the prehistoric red man hunted, fished, fought and died. Through this region roamed such proud warriors as Black Hawk and Keokuk. Through this same area ranged Zebulon Pike, Jefferson Davis, Zachary Taylor, Winfield Scott and Robert E. Lee.
The arrival of Lieutenant Pike in 1805, the battles of Campbell Island and Credit Island during the War of 1812, and the erection of Fort Armstrong in 1816 set the stage for permanent white settlement in this area. The Black Hawk Purchase was negotiated on the site of Davenport and signed at Fort Armstrong on Rock Island in 1832.
William F. (Buffalo Bill) Cody was born on a farm not far from this overlook in 1846, the same year Iowa was admitted as a State.
The first bridge across the Mississippi was erected between Rock Island and Davenport in 1856. Five other bridges were built in this area prior to the completion of Interstate 80 Bridge in 1966 –– the first Mississippi River bridge constructed under the direction of the Iowa State Highway Commission.
Erected 1966 by State Historical Society of Iowa and the Iowa State Highway Commission.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed Bridges & Viaducts • Railroads & Streetcars • Roads & Vehicles • Settlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #12 Zachary Taylor, and the Iowa - State Historical Society of Iowa series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1858.
Location. 41° 35.842′ N, 90° 28.79′ W. Marker is near Bettendorf, Iowa, in Scott County. Marker can be reached from Interstate 80 at milepost 300, 1.1 miles west of Middle Road, on the right when traveling west. The marker is located at Rest Area 14 Westbound, .9 of a mile west of Exit 301 on Interstate 80. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bettendorf IA 52722, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Historic Davenport / Interstate 80 Bridge (approx. 0.6 miles away); Marion G. Crandell (approx. 5.1 miles away); USA T131, 280mm, Heavy Motorized Gun (approx. 6.3 miles away in Illinois); USA M102, 105mm, Howitzer 15-Inch Rodman Gun (approx. 6.4 miles away in Illinois); Hero Street, U.S.A. (approx. 6½ miles away in Illinois); Fort Armstrong (approx. 7 miles away in Illinois); Blackhawk Purchase Treaty Commemorative (approx. 7.4 miles away).
Regarding Historic Davenport / Interstate 80 Bridge. Rock Island, home of the present day U.S. Army Rock Island Arsenal, referenced on the marker has been renamed Arsenal Island since the marker was erected.
Also see . . .
1. Local History - Quad City Memory. The history of the Quad-Cities area is rich and varied. The native peoples who lived here for hundreds of years and the adventurers and homesteaders who moved here for new opportunities all created the land and communities we now know. (Submitted on July 27, 2010, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia.)
2. Internet Archive - Upper Mississippi Sketches: The Battle of Campbell's Island. (Submitted on July 27, 2010, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 31, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 26, 2010, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,608 times since then and 21 times this year. Last updated on July 27, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 26, 2010, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia. 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on July 27, 2010, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia. 7. submitted on May 24, 2007, by Christopher Light of Valparaiso, Indiana. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.