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Bettendorf City


Bettendorf City Hall is located at 1609 State Street, Bettendorf, IA 52722; phone: 563-344-4033.

Regina Coeli Monastery, Bettendorf, IA.
Photo: Regina Coeli Monastery, ca. 1916, Bettendorf, IA. A former monastery that was built for barefoot Carmelite nuns, a mendicant order. The Romanesque Revival style building was once used as a hotel. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994. Photograph by user:Tomeczak, 2009, en.wikipedia.org, accessed October, 2012.

Beginnings [1]

Bettendorf, Iowa lies in the area of the original Wisconsin Territory and was purchased from the Sac and Fox Indians in the Black Hawk Purchase in 1832. The area was opened to homesteaders in 1840. The original town on the site was named Lillienthal, after an early tavern and dance hall owner. The City was renamed Gilbert in 1858, honoring Elias Gilbert, who platted the original town. At that time, the residents, who were predominantly German, were employed as farmers, skilled laborers, and small business operators.

At the turn of the century, William and Joseph Bettendorf proposed to the townspeople that they would move their iron wagon business from Davenport to Gilbert if the city would purchase the old Gilbert farm for them as a location for their factory. Donations were solicited from area residents and businesses to raise the $15,000 to purchase the property, and the factory was moved to Gilbert. In January of 1903, the town of 440 citizens petitioned for incorporation, requesting a name change to Bettendorf in honor of the brothers whose factory was so important to the early development of the City.

Growth was slow in the early years. At the time of World War II, there were still fewer than 4,000 residents. Rapid growth in manufacturing and general business activities caused an acceleration of population growth in the 1950s and 1960s. The opening of the Alcoa plant at the edge of the city in Riverdale in 1948 was particularly important to the City's growth. Bettendorf more than doubled its population between 1960 and 1980. Bettendorf has continued to grow since then.

The current City encompasses an area of 21.4 square miles and is located on the southeast border of Iowa on the Mississippi River. It is within 175 miles of Chicago and Des Moines, within 360 miles of Kansas City and Minneapolis, 300 miles from Omaha and 250 miles from St. Louis. Bettendorf is also a part of the Quad City Metropolitan Statistical Area made up of Scott County in Iowa and Rock Island and Henry Counties in Illinois. The Quad City Metropolitan Statistical Area is located within a region commonly referred to as the Bi-State Region, which includes two additional counties, Muscatine County in Iowa and Mercer County in Illinois.

  1. City of Bettendorg, Comprehensive Plan, 2005, www.bettendorf.org, accessed October, 2012.
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