Q: I saw the April 15 article “LeClaire House gets $108,000 in repairs.” I have been waiting with bated breath for about 25 years now for a glimpse inside the LeClaire House in Davenport. The renovation costs have reached a million dollars and it still is not open for tours. Could we have a chance to go maybe once a year? The article states that the house is used for meetings and programs. Whose meetings, what programs? Can I join?
— Kristine, Davenport
A: Although the house at 630 E. 7th St., Davenport, built on a bluff in 1855-56 by early settler Antoine LeClaire, is owned by the city, no money is allocated for staff to have the home open regularly. That job is undertaken by volunteers, primarily members of the Scott County Historic Preservation Society.
Executive Director Karen Anderson opens the house for programs on about 20 different topics, including LeClaire (the man) and the history of his house, with before-and-after photos. The Village of East Davenport, Credit Island and the Gold Coast are other topics. Call her at 563-324-0257 if your club, organization or school group would like a program.
Because of the time commitment and cost of turning on utilities to comfortable levels for visitors, it is practical to open the house only for larger groups rather than individuals, she said.
While the house has been restored with paint, fireplace mantels, light fixtures and several pieces of furniture — including Antoine LeClaire’s bed — it was intended as an interpretive center for programming and not a house museum per se, Anderson explained.
That said, the house occasionally is open for “walk-throughs.”
The next opportunities will be noon to
4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8 and 15, as part of the first-ever EastWest River Fest, a two-weekend arts, cultural and heritage festival operating under the umbrella of the Quad-Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The house also was open last September as part of a historic home tour sponsored by the preservation society.
Because of the museum-like nature of the house, rentals for meetings are limited but may be made by contacting Betsy Tubbs, facilities manager for the city of Davenport, at 563-326-7812. A special use form needs to be filled out. Questers and Red Hat Society groups have met in the house.
Q: The Decorah eagle webcam has been down for at least a couple of weeks. Are they going to get it working again and what’s the problem?
— Dale, Davenport
A: We emailed the Raptor Resource Project to check on the eaglecam. Webmaster Amy Ries said there hasn’t been any major problem, but the live web feed has had some compatibility issues, especially with older browsers. They’ve been sending people who have problems to this website: raptorresource.org/feedproblems.php. It has a list of suggestions and fixes people can try. We checked and it worked for us with a view of a nest full of three eaglets, hatched March 27, 28 and 31.
Regarding where to donate used stamps, Mary from Rock Island called to let us know that the American Cancer Society accepts donations of stamps at its location at 3727 Blackhawk Road, Rock Island, for the annual Quad-City Stamp Out Cancer auction that benefits the cancer society. This year’s auction was held April 15 and raised $7,800, according to organizer George Pettigrew of the Quad-City Stamp Club. In the past 35 years, the stamp auction has raised $245,000 in the Quad-Cities for the cancer society, with proceeds split between the Rock Island County and Scott County chapters. All types of postage stamps are accepted for the auction and can be dropped off at the cancer society offices, mailed to the stamp club at P.O. Box 1301, Moline, IL 61266 or email the club from its website to request stamps to be picked up. More information is available at qcstampclub.com.
(Answers provided by Times reporter Alma Gaul and community editor Linda Watson).