1901 East Davenport Fire

No one knows how the fire started on the banks of the Mississippi near East Fourth Street on July 25, 1901, but it soon had the attention of the entire Tri-City area. The fire spread quickly to the Weyerhauser and Denkmann lumberyard, gathered strength, and traveled down River Drive, consuming buildings on both sides.

The combined forces of the Davenport, Rock Island, and Moline fire companies, plus the application of dynamite, couldn't stop the fire from spreading to the North. The wind caused some embers to land in the Mount Ida district, causing a series of small fires. Fifty homes were evacuated as the volunteers removed the telescope from the observatory of St. Katherine's School on Tremont Avenue, which was directly in the path of the fire. Luckily, the rest of the school was spared.

The fire eventually burned itself out that same day, after having destroyed more than eight city blocks. The damages were valued at one million dollars (over twenty-two million in 2005 dollars), and almost 50 families were left homeless.


  • Downer, Harry E.. History of Davenport and Scott County, Iowa. (Chicago, Ill.: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co), 1910.
  • Svendsen, Marlys. Davenport: A Pictorial History, 1836-1986. ([S.L.]: G. Bradley Publishing, Inc)., 1985.