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The Strange and Terrible Tale of the Davenport Iowa Danish Hall Site: A Lesson in Urban Archaeology from the Farm State

Author(s): John Hedden ; Daniel Horgen

Year: 2017

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The Davenport Danish Hall was considered eligible for the NRHP under Criterion A for its "association with the Danish ethnic population in Davenport, and with the history of city politics, specifically the impact of the Socialist Party in the 1920s." This structure was scheduled for demolition to allow for the construction of a new apartment complex as part of the redevelopment of downtown Davenport. As part of the mitigation, a small 30 x 50 ft parcel behind the structure was scheduled for archaeological inspection. This inspection identified site 13ST323. Though the site contained an intact mid-nineteenth century artifact deposit and features associated with the early settlement of Davenport, the archaeological consultant determined the site not eligible for the National Register. What followed was an unfortunate series of events that occurred prior to review comments being issued by the Iowa SHPO, including the demolition of the structure and construction activities commencing on the site. An after-the-fact mitigation of the site yielded what may be the largest intact deposit of mid-nineteenth century urban artifacts excavated in Iowa. An amazing turn of events that provides new insight into the economics and lifeways of the mid-nineteenth century working class of urban Iowa.

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Cite this Record

The Strange and Terrible Tale of the Davenport Iowa Danish Hall Site: A Lesson in Urban Archaeology from the Farm State. John Hedden, Daniel Horgen. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430645)


Historic Urban

Geographic Keywords
North America - Midwest

Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14762

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America