The previous day we saw sandbagging going on in downtown Davenport because of expected high water. There were several additional things we wanted to see before the rains and high water came, so we headed back into town.
Davenport is the home of Palmer College of Chiropractic, and we stopped to see the museum. Daniel David Palmer was an innovative thinker who was unorthodox in style and unconventional in action. He is credited with performing the first recorded chiropractic adjustment in 1895. At this time in American medicine, physicians would commonly treat their patients with harsh curatives which often did nothing to help at best and at worst produced harmful sides effects.
The photo below shows Margery checking out some of the photo displays relating to the worldwide influence of Palmer College of Chiropractic.
D. D. Palmer opened the precursor to Palmer College in 1897. Although chiropractic was not well accepted by the medical community in those early years and although some skeptics still remain, chiropractic today is seen as valid alternative medicine and is covered by most major medical plans.
After Margery got relief from 20+ years of debilitating headaches, Paul and Margery became believers in the validity of chiropractic treatment. We highly recommend our Pittsburgh doc, Dr. David Straughn. Whenever we need a chiropractor on our travels, we have had great success finding other Palmer College graduates who were trained in the same methods of treatment as Dr. Straughn by contacting the Alumni Office at the college.
We headed across the river to Rock Island and stopped at the Visitor Center at Lock 15 on the Mississippi River. They have some excellent displays on how locks work, historical photos of the building of the dam and locks, and an excellent video about the locks and dam. They also had an excellent video on bald eagles, which used to be plentiful along the Mississippi River and which are again increasing in numbers having recently been removed from the endangered species list.
There are guided tours of the locks on the weekends by advance reservation, but the tours were temporarily canceled because the locks were closed due to high water. In fact, all navigation on the Mississippi was suspended from Quad Cities down to Hannibal, MO.
We learned the dam at Lock 15 is strictly for river navigation, not for flood control. The dam was built at the downstream end of the rapids that used to run from Le Claire to Davenport. Removal some of the boulders from the rapids combined with the increase in water level upstream of the dam have eliminated the rapids. The photo below shows Margery with the downstream end of the lock in the background. The dam is hidden by the bridge. The bridge rotates out of the way when tow boats come through the locks.
On Thursday afternoon, the predicted heavy rains arrived. During the late afternoon and during the night, there was a string of strong thunderstorms that rolled through the area. Our weather alert radio began going off every 15 to 20 minutes as storm watches changed to warnings and as new warnings were issued or existing warnings were extended. Fortunately, although there was a lot of lightening and the rains were hard and continuous, there were no high winds or tornadoes in our immediate area.
In the morning, we heard on the news nearby Moline had 3.8" of rain, which broke a 1940s record for single-day rainfall. The campground is located several miles from the river, so there was no danger of us getting flooded, but there were numerous road closings in the area.
From the TV news, it looked like the Mississippi invaded several blocks into downtown Davenport, but major portions of the downtown areas of the nearby cities of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City were severely flooded. Some smaller towns fared even worse with essentially every building in town under water. I-80 west of the Quad Cities was also closed for 3 days where it crossed the Cedar River due to high water. Although the Mississippi crested 1.2' below the record flood level in the Quad Cities area, records were expected to be exceeded downstream. Our prayers go out to all those in the area who suffered losses in the floods.
Probably the most poignant moment during all the flood coverage on the news was when they showed a Davenport Department of Public Works employee placing an American flag on top of one of the temporary levees. The levee, which was holding strong and keeping the mighty Mississippi out of that particular section of the city, was built by DPW employees and volunteers working side by side. When they asked the city worker why he placed the flag on the levee, he said he wanted to remind Americans what we can accomplish if we work together.
As is many times the case, the day after the storms dawned clear and bright. For the moment, all the weather disturbances had cleared out. We took advantage of the beautiful weather to continue learning about the area by driving the Cody Trail.
William Cody, aka Buffalo Bill, was born on Feb. 26, 1846 near Quad Cities and spent much of his childhood in this area. Since we knew we would be meeting up with Buffalo Bill again when we get to Wyoming, we thought we should see what we could find out about his childhood.
The Cody Trail is about a 25 mile route that starts a few miles north of Davenport and ends up in Le Claire, which is to the east of Quad Cities. The trail passes several historic houses, including the Cody homestead, which is one of several homes in the area occupied by the Codys and it is the only Cody home still in its original location. The original stone portion of the house was built by William Cody's father in 1847.
Also along the route in the village of Long Grove is the Brownlie House, which was built in 1838 and which is the only known 2-story sod house. It is believed the siding was added shortly after the house was built.
The trail also passes Walnut Grove Pioneer Village, which is maintained by Scott County. The village was a stage stop in the 1860s and today consists of 18 historic buildings, some original to Walnut Grove and some relocated from different areas in the county. A few of the buildings are reproductions in the style of the era. This is a very well done exhibit of life during this period. Many of the buildings are set up with antiques, such as in this log cabin.
With the quality of the campground at West Lake Park, this free attraction of Walnut Grove, and the way Davenport has managed the flood, we are very impressed with Scott County, IA.
The Cody Trail ends at the town of Le Claire, which is on the Mississippi River at the upstream end of the rapids that were eliminated by Lock 15 in Davenport. In Le Claire is the Buffalo Bill Museum. The museum contains not only artifacts and memorabilia relating to Buffalo Bill, but also items of historical significance to the town of Le Claire. For example, James Ryan, who invented the flight recorder used in modern airplanes, was from Le Claire. James "Crash" Ryan also invented the retractable seat belt, which he tested numerous times himself (hence the nickname "Crash").
In the late 1800s, Le Claire, as well as a number of other towns along the Mississippi, had factories making pearl buttons. Muscatine, IA, which is the next sizable town downstream from Quad Cities, was know as the button capitol of the world by 1890. The buttons were made from the shells of river mussels (which are a type of fresh water clam) and had a pearly sheen. in the photo below shows shells, buttons, and tools used to cut the buttons.
There were many machine shops in the area that machined various parts for the war effort during WWII. Ellwyn Kroeger, who had started Le Claire Manufacturing Co. as an aluminum foundry, was seeking new products for his company after the war so he and his father designed a conversion kit for reel-type lawn mowers to add a small motor and make the mower self-propelled. In the photo below, Margery is trying to explain to Paul how much more practical this set-up is when for when we buy another house than the John Deere tractor he looked at earlier.
While the museum seemed a little disorganized with a need for better labeling, it did contain some gems and interesting information, especially if you talked to the people who worked there. They also had a pretty good video about Buffalo Bill that gave information about his life as a scout and as the showman of the famed Wild West Show that thrilled audiences in the U. S. and in Europe.
Outside the museum building is the steamboat the Lone Star. The Lone Star was built in 1869 and ran from Davenport to Buffalo, IA. The ship had limited passenger accommodations and after the second season was sold to a Davenport sand dealer and converted to a tow boat. Unfortunately for us, the exhibit was closed because they were building a permanent shelter for the old, fragile boat.
Although we probably learned more about Le Claire from the museum than we learned about Buffalo Bill, and even with the Lone Star exhibit closed, we still thought the museum was interesting. Because the steamboat was closed to visitors, they even gave us a coupon for a free return visit.
We spent a few additional days in the area relaxing. Paul caught another cold, which went straight ot his chest, and he needed some time to recuperate. Then we are headed west toward Gillette with a few stops here and there on the way.