The Cork Hill District [†] is located on the western edge of the LeClaire Reserve, between the commercial areas and city campus of Palmer College, and the two-block long grounds of the Sacred Heart Cathedral complex. A tree-shaded residential area inhabited by both low and upper income families plus many students from Palmer College, the district is densely built-up. Its primarily large and medium-sized houses are set close together on elevated lots, with setbacks averaging 20-30 feet. :The streets are relatively narrow, and are made to seem more so by the large amount of traffic as well as parked cars that congest the area.
The condition of buildings in Cork Hill varies widely from well-kept to decidedly neglected. Additions, alterations and asbestos siding are fairly common. Although these features dilute the impact of many of the houses, they have not, on the whole, resulted in irretrievable loss of architectural character.
The houses of the Cork Hill District reflect the long history of development of the LeClaire Reserve, which began in the 1850's. This development was rather unsystematic, the result being that every block in the district presents a mixture of forms and styles. Most houses are two stories, of wood frame construction, built as adaptations of styles ranging from the Greek Revival to the Prairie School. Most are (or were) single-family residences; double houses also occur in the district, but they are for the most part indistinguishable from their detached neighbors except for tell-tale double entrances.
On the whole, Cork Hill's architecture is of the "popular" type, reflecting national styles as they evolved during the latter half of the 19th and first decades of the 20th centuries. Thus, the Italianate, cottage and Georgian Colonial Revival are prominent styles in the district, with a smaller number of vernacular Greek Revival and Craftsman types. Cork Hill does not seem to have been among Davenport's most prestigious addresses: most of the great houses of the city's wealthiest 19th century entrepreneurs were built on the west side of Brady Street; and in the 20th century, the wealthy moved north.and east out of the survey area. As a result, the hand of the architect is only briefly visible, while local builders, working from stock plans, contributed much to the built environment of Cork Hill. In addition, the district retains a few early vernacular dwellings, including variations on the I-house, several diminutive cottages, and a number of examples of the front-gable form found throughout the older sections of the city.
† Davenport Multiple Resource Area, nomination document, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C., accessed July, 2021.
11th Street East • 12th Street East • 13th Street East • Brady Street • Iowa Street • Perry Street • Pershing Avenue