Bucktown’s History Gets Its Turn In The Spotlight With Turner Book
Join Bucktown Center for the Arts (225 E. 2nd St., Davenport) as it launches “A Brief History of Bucktown: Davenport’s Infamous District Transformed,” a new book (published by The History Press) written by Jonathan Turner, arts and entertainment reporter for The Dispatch and Rock Island Argus.
Copies of “A Brief History of Bucktown” will be available for purchase in the Boho Chic Gallery on Final Friday, Sept. 30, from 6 to 9 p.m. when Jonathan will host a book signing during Bucktown’s wine walk. An exhibit featuring Bucktown-themed artifacts (on loan from the German American Heritage Center, Putnam Museum and Stage1 Studios), plus historic photos, will be part of a first-floor display along with 3D Stereograph interactive demonstrations by Norm & Jonette Appleton of Bettendorf.
German immigrants created beer gardens here nearly two centuries ago, establishing Bucktown as the heart of entertainment in downtown Davenport for generations. In 1916, the founding of the Tri-City Symphony Orchestra at the Burtis Opera House embodied the neighborhood’s reputation for high culture. The numerous saloons and theaters, as well as many brothels that flourished within two blocks, lent a bawdy side to the good times.
Varied industries thrived through World War II, and downtown bustled with shoppers visiting department stores like Petersens. Later, the district struggled and declined as a farming crisis hit the region hard. With several revitalized landmarks like the magnificent Hotel Blackhawk and the historic Redstone Building, the community is growing more vibrant as a place to live, work and play. Author Jonathan Turner explores this dynamic history and transformation.
“Bucktown has such a rich and fascinating history, including several well-known figures — from Lincoln to Disney to Reagan to Cary Grant — who had key brushes with the area in their lives,” Jonathan says. “As a writer and musician, I welcomed the opportunity to showcase the district’s colorful, passionate stories and emphasis on the arts, which have made the area thrive then and now.”