German immigrants created leafy 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 the forty-two documented 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 Petersen's. Later, the neighborhood struggled and declined as a farming crisis hit the region hard. With 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.
About the Author
Jonathan Turner is an arts and entertainment reporter for the the Dispatch and the Rock Island Argus in Moline, Illinois, for which he has written since 1995. During his twenty-eight-year professional journalism career, his work has been recognized by the Illinois Associated Press Editors Association, Northern Illinois Newspaper Association and the Moline Preservation Society. You can see more of his writing at Facebook.com/JTreporter.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Jonathan Turner’s “A Brief History of Bucktown” is a fascinating journey into the past of the “earthly paradise” of Davenport, Iowa’s colorful, carnal red-light district of Bucktown. Turner paints with words a vivid picture of the spirited downtown that not only touted a “gambler’s paradise,” saloons, brothels, dance halls, gin joints and opium dens, but a cultural “mecca” for Opera House entertainment, symphonies, jazz, theater, movie palaces, and art. The book is thoroughly researched and jam-packed with stories and tidbits about the famous (such as jazz great Bix Beiderbecke, singer Al Jolson, animator/film producer Walt Disney, actor/politician and former president Ronald Reagan, to name a few), whose lives intersected with the notorious river town once declared to be “the wickedest of them all!” Long after you have read the last page, the book serves as a ‘treasure map’ that guides the reader through the revitalized downtown where many of the landmarks still stand and hold the storied ‘gems’ Turner documented. “A Brief History of Bucktown” is a brilliant read and a treasured addition to our library!