(Editor's note: This is another in an annual series featuring houses along the route of the Quad-City Times Bix 7 road race.)
For people running or walking the Bix 7, the corner of Brady and Kirkwood is "the turn," the point at which they've made it up the Brady Street hill and just about completed a mile.
The southeast corner of that intersection is also home to one of the most magnificent 19th-century mansions in Davenport.
Now owned by St. Ambrose University, the building is called the Alumni House, containing the advancement and alumni relations offices.
But when it was built in 1871 by John Dahms, it was a private residence.
And Dahms and subsequent owners who built additions didn't miss any opportunity to make it fancy.
The exterior? It's a combination of red brick and gray stone with wood pillars, ornate brackets under the eaves and elaborate headers on the windows.
Built mainly in the Italianate architectural style, there is also a signature Queen Anne touch: a three-story turret, decorated with terra cotta ornamentation and a finial-topped tower.
The interior is equally over the top.
Ceilings? They're tall with deep wood molding and plaster medallions around the light fixtures.
Walls? Some are faux painted to look like stone while others have decorative borders near the ceiling.
Floors? Hardwood, with areas of alternating colors to create patterns. There's a five-point starburst design in the foyer and one of the parlors.
Stained glass? No fewer than 26 historic stained-glass window transoms plus four newer pieces in the kitchen.
Fireplaces? There are six, each of a different style or composition. Two are Italian white marble. Others are combinations of wood, patterned tile, metal and colored marble, richly outfitted with mirrors and other features.
Staircases? There are four, including one from the third floor onto the roof that originally had a "widow's walk" belvedere. This feature has long since been removed, but the walnut staircase — as fancy as many found on first floors — remains to provide roof access.
As Sally Crino, the university's assistant vice president for advancement, says in leading a tour, "There is no shortage of things to look at here."
The home's L-shaped porch also offers one of the best views of the Bix 7 race, and St. Ambrose takes advantage of it, hosting a Porch Party for 50 to 75 alumni and friends with food, drink and a Dixeland band.
It wasn't always so
Less than 10 years after Dahms finished his house, he lost his fortune and was forced to dispose of the home in an 1880 sheriff's sale to Frank Miller.
The transaction introduced a link to Bix Beiderbecke, the cornetist for whom the race and next weekend's jazz festival are named. Miller was a wholesale grocer and partner of Charles Beiderbecke, Bix's grandfather.
In 1908, Miller sold the home to the Davenport Diocese and it became the residence of Bishop James Davis and, later, Henry P. Rohlman. Each served as chairman of the St. Ambrose board of directors. In later years, the home took on the moniker of "the Bishop's House."
In 1933, the diocese sold the home to the Sisters of St. Francis in Clinton, who established a convent there.
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In 1941, the sisters returned their congregation to Clinton and sold the home to Thomas and Matilde Hinrichsen, who lived there and created six apartments to house Rock Island Arsenal workers during the booming World War II years.
In time, though, the home began to show its years of wear.
Old home/history enthusiasts breathed a sign of relief in 1989 when the property was purchased by Herb Tyler, whose business, Svendsen Tyler Inc., converted it to a bed-and-breakfast inn, opening during 1991.
But in 1995, the B&B closed and the house was put up for sale.
Happily, in July of that year, St. Ambrose bought the property to be used for university receptions and seminars, and to continue operating it as a public bed-and-breakfast.
In 2008, St. Ambrose closed the bed and breakfast and transitioned the building to its present use.
"It's a treasure," Crino said. We feel very fortunate here."
The main parlor rooms on the first floor have been retained as parlors, furnished much as they might have been during the Victorian period. They are used for meetings and receptions.
Here and there are items related to the university and its Catholic heritage, including a mosaic by the Rev. Edward Catich, an internationally known calligraphist who founded the university's art department. Several framed collages of his prayer cards also hang on the walls.
And there is a framed miter (a peaked cap or headdress), ring and cross worn by Bishop Davis.
The back of the first floor — about one-third to one-half — is offices, as are the entire second and third floors.