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732 Gaines Street Davenport IA 52802

June 18, 2008



House that Topped 2005 Davenport Demolition List Now Ready for Occupancy

 For more than 130 years, the clapboard Greek Revival house at 822 Gaines sat atop the rise of the hill at 9th Street as the city below it prospered and the neighborhood around it grew. During its first 44 years, it was home to members of the Bredow family who built it. It endured as Davenport downtown retail activity dimmed and as the area around it suffered loss and decay. But by 2005, it had sat vacant for twenty years.  Boarded, with part of its roof open to the sky, the house was the number one structure slated for demolition in the city.

But a group of determined volunteers working on behalf of not-for-profit Gateway Redevelopment Group (GRG) and Davenport’s new HAPPEN program were the sparks that ignited new life for 822 Gaines. After extensive renovation, it is once again a single family home.

“When The Hamburg District was put on the National Register as an historic district in 1983, it was home to 361 mostly 19th century structures,” said GRG President Jack Haberman. “Today, there are less than 290.  Our neighborhood can’t afford to lose any more.”   

GRG, whose mission is to save abandoned buildings in the Gold Coast/Hamburg neighborhood, and who is responsible for rehabilitation of the Jipp Home and Grocery a half block away, applied for HAPPEN funding on behalf of 822 Gaines; Scott County cleared the way for the group to take title of the property, and the City of Davenport abated its many assessments.

“Started in 2005, the HAPPEN program was created to encourage the renewal and re-occupancy of abandoned houses,” said Davenport Community and Economic Development Senior Manager Bruce Berger.  “Gateway Redevelopment Group was one of the first applicants.  Although 822 Gaines was highly deteriorated, there was a vision for the project and it had the potential to make a big impact on the neighborhood.  It is great to see this long-abandoned home finally completed and to be able to help support the project.”

GRG first appealed to supporters to provide no cost loans to be paid back when restoration on the building was completed and the property sold. Many of the contractors working on the project did so under the same condition. That support became the cornerstone for group’s application to the HAPPEN program. Work was also fueled by a loan from the Scott County Housing Council and a grant from the Quad City Homebuilders Association. GRG applied and received approval Iowa historic tax credits to round out its funding needs. And, finally, volunteers put in more than 2800 hours to see the project to completion.

                The collaborative nature of the project prompted GRG to dub the restoration effort “Stone Soup,” after the fable about an impoverished village. The villagers discover that, with everyone contributing what they can, a greater good is achieved.

The house, whose interior was entirely gutted prior to 2005, has been restored using architectural items salvaged by or donated to GRG for its Architectural Rescue Shop located at the Jipp.  The items used at 822 Gaines came from various structures being torn down or renovated in the Quad Cities and surrounding areas. For example, the spindles that graced the main staircase of the old Petersen/Von Maur department store in what is now the Redstone Building have found new life as the home’s front porch railings.  The spindles were donated to GRG by River Music Experience. Inside, four sets of salvaged pocket doors and leaded glass from houses now demolished on the St. Ambrose campus showcase the first floor.

Information about Gateway Redevelopment Group’s projects, including a complete photographic record, is available at its website www.grgdavenport.org, or by contacting GRG President, Jack Haberman at 563-326-3290 or ars@grgdavenport.org.

The home will be one of the homes open to the public during the 2008 Gold Coast Home Tour being held September 6th and 7th.  For more information on that event, visit www.davenportgoldcoast.com

 History of the Home

The Frank & John Bredow House

Elements of Greek and Gothic Revival

Ca. 1876

 Two generations of Bredows lived in the house at 822 Gaines Street for about 44 years.

The Bredow family, like many early Davenport residents, traces its ancestry to Schleswig Holstein. John T. and Anna Bredow were born there in 1825.  Their eldest son, John F. was born there in 1853 and emigrated with his parents to Kiel, Wisconsin shortly afterwards. There, two more sons, Frank and Gerhard, were born. The family moved to Davenport in 1870 where John T. operated a saloon.  He built the family home at 822 Gaines about 1876 for his wife and sons, then young men.

In 1883, John F. married Bertha Krieger. Their daughter Rhoda was born in 1884. The other sons married and moved else where in the city; John, Bertha and Rhoda continued to share the house with his parents at 822 Gaines.

John worked for the German Savings Bank, becoming Assistant Cashier. After 25 years, he left the banking business to become, first, President of the Iowa Mantle Manufacturing Company and later President of the Hydraulic Concrete Construction Company.

The senior Bredows died about 1896.  The John F. Bredows continued to occupy the house until about 1920 when they moved to West 4th Street.

Little is known about the home after the Bredows left. At some point, it was divided into apartments. A St. Ambrose alum recalls that in 1960 he rented the home with ten other students.  The home was nicknamed “The Haunted House” although there were never, to his recollection, any ghostly manifestations.


GRG is indebted to the following government entities, funders, contractors and volunteers for their assistance in restoration of 822 Gaines:

 Bernice Orr

Bill Gluba

Bob O’Hare

Bruns Electric

Budd Berg & Rich Sherbarth

Carol Schaefer

Cristina Bucksbaum

Chick Thomson

Dan McDaniels

Danielle Stone

Davenport City Council

Davenport HAPPEN Program

Davenport Historic Preservation Commission

David LaRoque

Dennis Lopez

Elmer Tuck

Eric Wilson

Ewert Plumbing

Hyperion Construction


Iowa/Illinois Pest Control

Jim Englander, Midwest Architectural

Jim Hannan, St. Ambrose University

Joe Camarena, JMC Remodeling

Joe Seng

John Smith

Judith Malone

Karen & Cassandra Miranda

Kathy Morris, Waste Commission

Keith Myer

Lenny Boynton

Marcia & Craig Canfield

Marion Meginnis & Jack Haberman

Mark Construction

Martha & Phil McCormick

Maynard Siegel

McCormick Insulation

Mike Pollock

Neighborhood Housing Services

Pam & Dennis LaRoque

Paul Fessler

Pete Lyons

PVY Development Corporation

Quad City Homebuilders Association

Rebecca Sparks

Rush Rolloff

Sara & Vince Ryan

Sarah Bartholomew

Scott County Board of Supervisors

Scott County Housing Council

St. Ambrose Be a Difference Day volunteers

Stan Spears

State of Iowa

State Historical Society of Iowa

Steve Russell

Susan & Allan Hayes

Susan Foster

Tom Kale, Ideal Heating & Cooling

United Neighbors

United Way Day of Caring volunteers

Wayne Lance



Gateway Redevelopment Group, Davenport, Iowa