Hotel Blackhawk timeline

2010-12-16T05:00:00Z 2010-12-16T17:03:13Z Hotel Blackhawk timeline The Quad-City Times
December 16, 2010 5:00 am

Feb. 16, 1915 — Hotel Blackhawk opens at 200 E. 3rd St., Davenport, built at a cost of $1 million. The hotel was developed by Davenport businessman, W.F. Miller. It was seven stories with 225 rooms.

1920 — Four floors added to the hotel which gave the Blackhawk 400 rooms.

March 12, 1934 - B.C. Northington, former manager of the Hotel Fort Des Moines is named as director of operations for the Blackhawk Hotels Corporation.

March 12, 1934 - Henry C. Wurzer, president of the Kahl Investment Corporation was elected president of the Blackhawk Hotels Corp.

March 20, 1934 - Tad Martin is hired as the new hotel manager replacing Frank Gaylord who took a leave absence due to ill health.

Feb. 16, 1935 - Hotel Blackhawk observes its 20th anniversary. Invitations are sent out to 1,500 Tri-City residents. Gene Barrett and his Riveria orchestra perform.

June 13, 1935 - An order confirming plan to reorganize the Blackhawk Hotels Corp. signed by Judge Charles A. Dewey in Des Moines.

Aug. 2, 1935 - Walter O. Lofgren, hotel manager, resigns after eight years as manager of the hotel. Lofgren had started at Hotel Blackhawk as a clerk in 1922.

Aug. 5, 1935 - J.C. "Mike" Kennedy, former manager of the Mississippi Hotel is named manager of the Hotel Blackhawk.

Sept. 6, 1935 - Construction of an air-conditioned Junior Ball room and enlargement of the Gold Room are announced. The Pompeian Room will be a new private dining room. The cost is expected to be $25,000 and is expected to be completed within six months.

Dec. 20, 1935 - The new additions at the Hotel Blackhawk is completed. Space on the mezzanine floor will now accommodate 1,000 diners.

May 19, 1955 - The Hotel Blackhawk marquee is removed and replaced with a sidewalk canopy.

April 22, 1959 - Earl Ackerman, hotel manager, announces construction of a new mezzanine will begin in May.

April 22, 1962 - A Sunday Times article talks about near Ulysses S. Grant's birthday, April 27, 1822, talks about furniture which ended up at the Hotel Blackhawk after an order that was supposed to be sent to Grant's Galena home was canceled. The side chairs and love seat ended up in the apartment of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Ackerman.

Jan. 27, 1965 - Third painting hung at the Hotel Blackhawk by the Friends of Art disappears. Headlines question whether the missing pranks are a prank or theft.

March 1, 1969 - Hotel Blackhawk sale is completed. George Norman & Co. sells the hotel to Blackhawk American Corporation at reported price of more than $1 million. The hotel had been purchased by George Norman & Co. in December of 1967 from west coast interests.

May 7, 1969 - A water tank blasts through from the basement through the main dining room of the hotel. No one is injured.

May 14, 1969 - Plans for modernization and expansion of the hotel are announced by the Blackhawk American Corp. which recently acquired ownership of the hotel.

Aug. 31, 1969 - Hotel dining room renovations begin and are expected to be complete by late October.

Nov. 9, 1969 - Renovations of the hotel begin with the Walnut Room, formerly the Colony Room. Work is expected to be completed by December.

June 18, 1970 - Blackhawk American Corp. sues Davenport Assessment Board for lower tax rate.

Oct. 1, 1970 - Blackhawk Hotel upgrades heating from coal and oil heat to natural gas. Conversion is expected to be complete by Oct. 15.

April 18, 1971 - The Hotel Blackhawk receives $390,000 loan from the Small Business Administration.

Oct. 13, 1971 - Plans to convert Hotel Blackhawk to a 300-unit, low-rent housing facility for the elderly announced by the Blackhawk American Corp.

Oct. 20, 1971 - Davenport Chamber of Commerce convention bureau meet to discuss the city's future convention capabilities following the announcement to convert Hotel Blackhawk into low-rent housing for the elderly.

Dec. 16, 1971 - A petition for foreclosure of a mortgage on the Hotel Blackhawk was filed in Scott County District Court by Royal Neighbors of America.

Jan. 3, 1972 - Financing by the Federal Housing Administration to convert the Hotel Blackhawk into low-rent housing for the elderly is delayed.

Jan. 19, 1972 - Blackhawk American Corp. and the Foundation for Cooperative Housing Services, Inc. meet to discuss plans to convert Hotel Blackhawk to a 300-unit, low-rent housing for the elderly.

Jan. 20, 1972 - Norman Kelinson, president of the Blackhawk American Corp., announces Hotel Blackhawk will continue in business despite an announcement by FHA rejection of an application to finance.

Jan. 24, 1972 - Plans to convert the Hotel Blackhawk to low-rent housing for the elderly is dropped in favor of a commercial leasing venture.

March 7, 1973 - Hotel Blackhawk is among 155 properties "sold" at a city treasurer's tax sale this week for nonpayment of 1972 property taxes.

Dec. 4, 1973 - A plan to transfer ownership of the Blackhawk Hotel to the U.S. Small Business Administration is announced. The SBA held the first mortgage on the hotel at the time.

Dec. 13, 1973 - Hotel Blackhawk stockholders are told the hotel is bankrupt.

Dec. 21, 1973 - Stockholders of the American Home Investment Corp. (AHI), principal owner of the bankrupt Hotel Blackhawk, learn the firm lost roughly $750,000.

Jan. 11, 1974 - The Small Business Administration threatens foreclosure against the Blackhawk Hotel.

March 14, 1974 - A foreclosure lawsuit is filed against the Blackhawk Hotel.

March 22, 1974 - Stockholders file a $6 million lawsuit against American Home Investment Company, the principal owner of the Blackhawk Hotel, and other members of the Hynes and Howes conglomerate.

May 23, 1974 - Legal questions delay foreclosure on the Hotel Blackhawk.

June 28, 1974 - A U.S. Marshal's sale of the Hotel Blackhawk gets "no takers."

Aug. 16, 1974 - A public auction to sell the Hotel Blackhawk lasts only 4 minutes. The Small Business Administration announces it plans to offer Hotel Blackhawk as a "single package."

Aug. 19, 1974 - Earl Ackerman, Hotel Blackhawk manager from 1946-1970, returns to his position as general manager.

Nov. 8, 1974 - An auction held to attempt to sell the Hotel Blackhawk. The attempt was unsuccessful and talks were held later in November by the Small Business Administration to determine future use for the hotel.

Nov. 12, 1974 - The Small Business Administration considers selling the Blackhawk Hotel for less than the $820,000 the government loan agency has put into the hotel.

Jan. 28, 1975 - Hotel Blackhawk purchased for $1.2 million by Blackhawk Hotel Associates, a subsidiary of Knightsbridge, an eastern hotel management operating company, from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Feb. 26, 1975 - An auction of furnishings and accessories for the 400-room Hotel Blackhawk is deemed one of the largest auctions in recent Quad-Cities history.

April 13, 1975 - Charlie Butcher, a 41-year veteran in the food business, is named executive chef at Colonel George's restaurant at the Hotel Blackhawk.

June 1, 1975 - Phase One of the renovation of the Blackhawk Hotel nears completion at a cost of just under $1 million.

June 22, 1976 - Davenport Bank & Trust Co. foreclose on the Blackhawk Hotel's mortgage of $990,000. Henry J. Lischer, a retired businessman, is appointed by the court as receiver.

June 26, 1976 - The financially beleaguered Blackhawk Hotel is held up by an armed robber. The robber made off with $1,000 while holding four employees at bay.

June 29, 1976 - Blackhawk Hotel closes on the order of Judge Max Werling. Henry Lischer is the court-appointed receiver for the hotel. Grim security guards turn away would-be visitors at the door.

July 6, 1976 - Theodore G. Lorenzen, retired Davenport City treasurer, is appointed to replace Henry Lischer as court-appointed receiver.

July 13, 1976 - The last remaining tenants of the Blackhawk Hotel make arrangements for other quarters after a court order to vacate the premises.

Oct. 15, 1976 - Davenport Bank & Trust Co. buys the Blackhawk Hotel for just over $1 million at a sheriff's sale. The hotel closed its doors in June of 1976 after Davenport Bank & Trust Co. foreclosed on the hotel's $990,000 mortgage.

Oct. 5, 1977 - The Small Business Administration decides not to exercise its redemption rights to the Blackhawk Hotel. The deadline passing officially passes the Davenport Bank & Trust Co. now has clear title to the Blackhawk Hotel.

Feb. 10, 1978 - Ray Phillips, president of Phillips Enterprises, outlines plans to renovate the Blackhawk Hotel. Plans include a skywalk enclosed mall. He refers to downtown Davenport as a "Sleeping Giant" to be awakened by a renovated Blackhawk Hotel.

Sept. 14, 1978 - Renovation of the Blackhawk Hotel is set to begin within five days, Raymond Phillips, general partner in Blackhawk Enterprises Ltd., announces

Oct. 2, 1978 - Buyers swarm like locusts through the Blackhawk Hotel. Everything from juice glasses to a portable heated banquet server was for sale. National Content Liquidators, Dayton, Ohio, managed the sale.

Feb. 28, 1979 - Hopes for a civic center hinge on a $3 million application for federal aid. Plans for a quarter block between the RKO Orpheum Theater (Adler Theatre) and the Blackhawk Hotel.

March 15, 1979 - An application for $3 million in federal funding for an activities center will not be affected by existing private investment in the Blackhawk Hotel, according to Larry Reed, Davenport Chamber of Commerce executive director.

1979 - Davenport developer Raymond J. Phillips completed a multi-million dollar renovation.

Sept. 15, 1979 - More than 7,000 people tour the newly renovated Blackhawk Hotel.

Sept. 16, 1979 - The Blackhawk Hotel is set to reopen within the week.

Jan. 27, 1980 - The Blackhawk Hotel breathes a sigh of relief after serving as a key stop for the past two months for candidates on the Iowa Campaign Road. A Quad-City Times article makes note.

April 15, 1980 - An article in the Quad-City Times makes note that Vice President Walter Mondale visited the Blackhawk Hotel in January on the campaign trail for President Jimmy Carter. A $636 bill for receptions held Jan. 10, 11 and 15 remained unpaid to this point according to the hotel activities director. 

Dec. 2, 1980 - A retail merchandising class from Assumption High School gets first-hand experience at operating a new gift shop, The Lemon Drop, at the Blackhawk Hotel.

March 19, 1981 - A dispute between the former owners and operators of the Blackhawk Hotel and a Chicago man goes all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court.

July 26, 1981 - Ray Phillips, Phillips Property Management, predicts a bright future for the hotel as hub for downtown Davenport.

Dec. 2, 1981 - The Blackhawk Hotel arranges a tour for Rose Bowl attendees to leave the Quad-City Airport on New Year's Day for the Rose Bowl game, parade and to spend a couple of days in Las Vegas before heading home. Jan. 3. 

April 2, 1982 - Sundance Social Club at the Blackhawk Hotel opens its doors Friday night to large crowds. Bob Brown's band provides music for the lobby dance.

Oct. 31, 1982 - James E. Bourque, resident manager of the Blackhawk Hotel announces plans for a marketing program to begin Dec. 1. He wants to change the Blackhawk Hotel from the "Davenport's best kept secret."

1983 - Blackhawk Hotel played a prominent role in the "super block" development which opened the RiverCenter.

Feb. 15, 1983 - Davenport Blackhawk Civic Center Corporation terminates Phillips Property Management as hotel manager. The termination is effective March 1. Robert Leroy & Associates of Chicago will be the new manager.

July 29, 1983 - Davenport Blackhawk Civic Corp. filed suit against the Davenport Board of Review claiming the assessment for the hotel property is too high.

Sept. 16, 1983 - George E. Bettosini, Davenport, is named the general manager of the Blackhawk Hotel.

Nov. 10, 1983 - Blackhawk Hotel presents plans to handle catering and concessions at Davenport's new Civic Activities Center to the city finance committee.

Jan. 10, 1984 - The Blackhawk Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Feb. 5, 1984 - Margo Hall, director of sales for the Blackhawk Hotel, appears in Quad-City Woman. She is hailed as Davenport's unofficial ambassador.

July 21, 1984 - A 1974 Lincoln Continental stolen eight years prior from a Muscatine dealership is found last week tucked under a tarp in the old parking ramp of the Blackhawk Hotel. The headline "Tires rot; no one notices."

Sept. 16, 1984 - William C. Wolf, general manager of the Blackhawk Hotel, describes the previous week's visit by Walter Mondale and an entourage of 160 campaign staffers, Secret Service agents and press as "D-Day."

May 5, 1985 - Earl Ackerman, former hotel manager for the Blackhawk Hotel, is firmly resolved at the age of 73 not to be lured out of retirement. "Now everything is computerized, which is fine, but I'm not anxious to get back into a whole new ball game," he said.

Sept. 29, 1985 - Armed robbers discharge a shotgun in the Blackhawk Hotel. No one is injured.

Feb. 3, 1987 - Blackhawk Hotel offers to donate pieces of land north of the hotel to the city for the then $4.7 million Davenport River Center parking ramp.

Aug. 7, 1988 - William C. Wolf retires as general manager of the Blackhawk Hotel after 50 years in the hotel business.

Aug. 11, 1988 - Louis P. Facella has been general manager of the Blackhawk Hotel for about a week. He begins making on the public spaces and making cosmetic changes to the Sundance Social Club.

Oct. 13, 1989 - Announcement is made that the Blackhawk Hotel will be sold to Pittsburgh riverboat operator, John Connelly.

July 24, 1990 - John E. Connelly officially buys the Blackhawk Hotel.

1990 - John E. Connelly, riverboat gambling pioneer, buys the Blackhawk Hotel and completes renovation as part of his gambling enterprises that included the President Riverboat.

Feb. 11, 2006 - Fire damages the top floors of the Blackhawk Hotel. A meth operation is determined to have caused the fire.

July 2006 - The city of Davenport sends out requests for developers interested in renovating the Blackhawk.

May 2007 - Isle of Capri Casinos Inc., proposes a land-based casino on the south side of the RiverCenter. The Blackhawk would be sold to the city of Davenport for $1 for redevelopment as part of the deal.

June 2007 - Restoration St. Louis is picked for the Blackhawk project. It will be the company's first project in Iowa.

March 2008 - Restoration St. Louis is awarded $8.5 million in state historic tax credits to help pay for its proposed $36 million renovation.

November 2008 - Isle of Capri officially transfers ownership of the Blackhawk Hotel to Restoration St. Louis clearing the way for general contractor BSI of St. Louis to begin work inside.

January 2009 - Demolition and clearing work begins inside the hotel.

March 2009 - Restoration St. Louis secures financing needed for project.

April 2009 - A ribbon cutting ceremony launches the renovation.

Oct. 4, 2009 - About 50 Quad-City community leaders gather at the Duck City Bistro to toast the $40 million revitalization of the Blackhawk Hotel and share stories about the hotel's grand past.

March 11, 2010 - Nearly 150 people - plumbers, electricians, plaster craftsmen, carpenters, dry wall installers and more are involved in creating the new open air lobby with a massive skylight and stylish mezzanine at the Blackhawk Hotel.

May 26, 2010 - The hotel is renamed the Hotel Blackhawk and Wesley Ludloff of Hilo, Hawaii, is named manager of the hotel.

Dec. 15, 2010 - The first guests stay at the reopened Hotel Blackhawk.

Copyright 2015 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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