Sunday, February 18, 2018

Bucktown Revisited

Jonathan Turner’s A Brief History of Bucktown was the star attraction at the last READ LOCAL event held at the Bettendorf Public Library.

I couldn’t attend. So, to atone I found last year’s Goodreads book review to post.

“This is a small but mighty volume that highlights the history and heritage of an important river town. Davenport was part of the Tri-Cities first and then the Quad Cities most recently as they all shared the banks of the Mississippi River. The river brought life, prosperity, and growing pains to an early frontier Davenport that rivaled the likes of cities many times its size. Turner documents it all with faithful quotes from a great many sources. He begins in the 1880s by showing us the booze-soaked red-light district and progresses forward through the boom and bust years of two world wars and a major farm crisis. He ends with an amazing come-back story of urban revitalization.

The high point for me was going to hear the Quad City Wind Ensemble preform at St. Ambrose University's Allaert Hall. I'd just finished the part of chapter four that highlighted the cultural influence of the German American population's love of all things musical. The title of the performance was "Fiesta" and the music was lively and uplifting. I felt like I had a direct line back to those rowdy beer halls of Bucktown in its heyday without having to stagger home.

There's just so much information here and the before and after photos are very helpful, but it left me wishing for someone to put together a tour to give me more.

Turner has done an impressive job with his brief overview. I think he has opened a door to a lot of stories waiting to be told."

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