Odd, isn’t it, how the face of a city can change? I strolled along the 100 block of West 3rd in sunny downtown Davenport and realized the truth of that. Not a business that I patronized in my palmy days is still there. Harold Bechtel, president of the old First Trust and Savings Bank, would be upset that his old bank building is now an upscale arcade bar. Before that it was the classy Schneff’s Jewelry store, where genial Warren Schneff greeted every potential customer like they were ready to buy diamonds. Along the way, the bank building was supposed to become a chiropractic museum, but that flopped for reasons never fully explained.
West 3rd Street once had everything, like the Trio Restaurant, which we will embarrassingly delve into in a few paragraphs, and places like Paul Rigas’ shoe shine parlor where you could get your hat blocked — who does that anymore? — or your trousers repaired for a buck.
Most admired eatery in the block was Shannons, a crown of great food where you could be elbow-to-elbow with a doctor or lawyer. You sat in a leather seat that had a marble attached table to dine on a 39-cent meat pie or a 49-cent chicken a la king or a 50-cent French dip.
Now, the "meat" of this story: One day, Duke Woods and I, both reporters at the old Democrat & Leader, decided to do the Trio for lunch. Louie Savadge, our noospaper’s regional editor, overheard our plans and decided to also try the Trio. Louie stepped to the counter, softly faking the cashier: “Those two dudes (us) in that corner booth are counterfeiters, passing bogus $20 bills.” We overheard the ruse, so I purposely paid our check with a $20 bill to see if anything would happen. The cashier fidgeted, delayed giving me our change and reached for the phone. We innocently left as a squad car pulled up.
“You two birds are passing phony $20 bills,” said one of the officers. We protested that was a joke, that we were reporters and showed them our press cards. They called the station where Tony Wallace, the desk sergeant, laughed, “That’s Willy and Duke. They’re real reporters. Tell them you are sorry and give them a ride back to their newspaper office.”
There, Louie Savadge was red-faced and sheepish to apologize. Bill Ceperly, the city editor, was laughing so hard I thought he’d fall out of his chair.
Notes on the back of an envelope
A serious-sounding man called to ask where he could get some Sen-Sen. By coincidence, I had recently thrown away two old boxes of the pellets that would take your breath away. I suggested the caller try Lagomarcino’s in Moline. “I’ll look up the number for you.” He said, “Really, never mind. I live in California.”
ON THE SUBJECT of Lago’s: Between the two Quad-City sweet shops, they have sold 16,800 caramel apples this season, surpassing last year. The apples are called Braiburns, from the state of Washington.
HIGH MAY they wave. Old Glory catches the breeze from the flotilla of towering-tall cranes at work on the new I-74 bridge between Moline and Bettendorf. That’s tradition-n-n-n.