The City of Bettendorf, Iowa is located on the eastern border of Iowa where the Mississippi River meets Interstate 80. The area was actually named Lillienthal until 1903, when the city changed its name to Bettendorf. Why the name change? The townspeople were hugely impressed by a recently attracted business, an iron wagon (railroad) manufacturer run by the Bettendorf brothers, known as the Bettendorf Company. Brother William’s invention, the revolutionary single-piece truck frame for railroad cars, catapulted the company into a national manufacturer of railroad cars. The firm’s huge riverfront plant made it possible to construct a railroad car in a continuous fabrication process under one roof.
The Bettendorf Company no longer exists, but the beautiful mansions built by the Bettendorf brothers, William and Joseph are still in use.
- Joseph’s English manor-style home, which overlooks the River at 1821 Sunset Drive, was designed by noted architect Arthur H. Ebeling. Joseph envisioned this mansion both as a dream home for his family and as a place magnificent enough for him to use in entertaining railroad magnates from the east. It is currently occupied by Rivermont Collegiate – the area’s only private, nonsectarian, independent, multicultural, college preparatory school. These days, students ranging in age from preschool through twelfth grade enjoy the home, which is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- William’s Spanish-style home, located at the intersection of 26th and State Streets, currently serves an older audience, as it is now part of the Iowa Masonic Lodge Nursing Home.
These days, Bettendorf is less about industry, more about youth and family. On average, the residents of Bettendorf have higher educational attainment and household income than state and national averages. In fact, the proportion of residents with college degrees (38.8%) 50% higher than the national average.
With a population of 31.275, Bettendorf is one of the fastest growing communities in Iowa, and residents are proud of the fact that CNNMoney.com recently rated it as the #10 Best City in the nation for affordable homes.
- Bettendorf offers a number of parks for your enjoyment. Check the link for up-to-the-minute details.
- Looking for some golf? Palmer Hills Golf Course is an award winning public 18-Hole course designed by William J. Spear and built on land purchased from the Palmer Family in 1971. Built in 1974, Palmer Hills is home to 100 year old oak trees and features rolling hills, with creeks and a pond coming into play on 11 holes. The hills and water can provide a challenge, but a wide variety of teeing options make Palmer Hills playable for golfers of any caliber.
- In warm weather, you won’t want to miss Splash Landing, Aquatic Center, where you’ll find two zero depth pools complete with water geysers, a kiddy slide, two flume slides , a drop slide and a diving board. Thre’s also a toddler area offering a slide, numerous spray features, a sand play area and ample deck and shaded area for lounging.
Looking for another way to get a bit of exercise while cooling off on a recreational trail? Bettendorf has lots to offer:
- Don’t miss the Duck Creek Recreation Trail, where you can enjoy a self-guided Tree Walk. Pick up a booklet at City Hall which includes information on the most commonly found tree species in Bettendorf and where to find them. If you’ve brought your bicycle, you’ll also be able to enjoy the 120 miles of bike paths contained within the Quad City Region.
- And if you’re really adventurous, you can actually connect to the nationally acclaimed American Discovery Trail which stretches more than 6,800 miles across 15 states.
- Or try hooking up with the Mississippi River Trail, a 10-state cycling route that’s still under development. When complete you’ll be able to travel from the Mississippi’s headwaters to the Gulf along roughly 3,000 miles of on-road and bike/pedestrian pathways.
- Finally, the Great River Road travels through Bettendorf and Davenport, Iowa. There’s always tons of fun to be had on the Mississippi River.
Bettendorf Indoor Fun
For indoor fun, be sure to make time for the following opportunities:
- The Family Museum bills itself as “Kidtastic,” and offers a perfect way to have fun and learn at the same time! Here you’ll find interactive children’s music concerts, storytellers, and science demonstrations. There are four permanent hands-on exhibit galleries, plus an iutdoor playground and year-round special traveling exhibits. Not to mention the Family Museum’s Corner Store which offers unique toys, games and gifts, just right for kids of all ages.
- Right next to the Family Museum you’ll find the Bettendorf Public Library which strives to be and extraordinary place. Oh sure, there’s the ususal books and non-traditional media available on loan, but the library also features a lively schedule of events, speakers and programs, as well as activities designed to encourage youth participation. Come on in and learn what it’s all about. While you are there, enjoy Dewey’s Café at the Library. It’s a gathering place for writers, readers, artists, and poets.
- Looking for gaming excitement? Look no further than the Isle of Capri Casino. After all, Bettendorf is where Bernie Goldstein, often referred to as the Father of Riverboat Gaming, opened the nation’s first riverboat casino on April 1, 1991.