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German influence in Davenport

Courtesy Quad Cities CVB

You may not expect to encounter much international heritage in an Iowa river city. But in the Quad Cities area, Davenport has strong ties to Germany.

“There was a big influx of Germans in the late 1840s,” said Jessica Waytenick, public relations manager for the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau. “They settled in Davenport because it reminded them of their home country. At one point, Davenport had a huge German population that rivaled any other place in the country.”

Groups that visit Davenport can discover this German heritage and culture in a variety of ways. Downtown, the German American Heritage Center details the immigration of German settlers to Iowa and has exhibits that help visitors understand the lifestyle and experiences that awaited German immigrants.

Much of the city’s cultural scene can be traced back to its early German settlers, who had a fondness for the arts.

“The Quad City Symphony Orchestra is coming up on its 100th anniversary,” Waytenick said. “The German people were very interested in arts and culture and had a great work ethic, and the orchestra is a lasting evidence of that.”

Beyond the music, visitors can experience the flavors of Germany in numerous German restaurants and microbreweries throughout the Quad Cities.