In 1829, William C. Redfield declared that Davenport lay opposite the future terminus of a "geographical trunk-line route" between the Atlantic and the Mississippi. Nine years later, in 1838, the Iowa Sun and Davenport and Rock Island News declared Davenport was destined to be the "Queen City of the Far West." A score of early travelers shared this enthusiasm for rich soil, healthy climate and strategic location of Davenport on the west bank of the Mississippi opposite Old Fort Armstrong.
Little wonder that in 1836, George Davenport and Antoine LeClaire, together with six associates should acquire and lay out a 36-block townsite along the Mississippi between Harrison and Warren streets. The purchase price for much of the heart of present-day Davenport was $2,000. The town was incorporated by the Legislative Assembly in 1839.
The forecast of William Redfield was fulfilled when the Iron Horse of the Rock Island railroad slaked its thirst in the cold waters of the Mississippi on February 22, 1854. It was the first railroad to link the Atlantic with the Father of Waters. The Queen City of Iowa was standing on the brink of greatness.
Interstate 80 bridges the Mississippi at one of its most historic points. Here the prehistoric red man hunted, fished, fought and died. Through this region roamed such proud warriors as Black Hawk and Keokuk. Through this same area ranged Zebulon Pike, Jefferson Davis, Zachary Taylor, Winfield Scott and Robert E. Lee.
The arrival of Lieutenant Pike in 1805, the battles of Campbell Island and Credit Island during the War of 1812, and the erection of Fort Armstrong in 1816 set the stage for permanent white settlement in this area. The Black Hawk Purchase was negotiated on the site of Davenport and signed at Fort Armstrong on Rock Island in 1832.
William F. (Buffalo Bill) Cody was born on a farm not far from this overlook in 1846, the same year Iowa was admitted as a State.
The first bridge across the Mississippi was erected between Rock Island and Davenport in 1856. Five other bridges were built in this area prior to the completion of Interstate 80 Bridge in 1966 — the first Mississippi River bridge constructed under the direction of the Iowa State Highway Commission.