When on St. Patrick’s Day in 1936 I stepped off the Trailways bus, I had no
idea that I would spend the rest of my life in Davenport Center.
Everything about country living was foreign. On the second morning a
little girl brought a gift to my primary school classroom (grades 1-4).
“Miss Selzer,” she said, “here is a ‘double elker’. I
brought it for you.”
Already I was seriously beyond my depth! The double-elker turned out to
be an extra-large egg with two yolks. I had never seen one before.
Many more delightful discoveries of facts and customs followed. I am
still “hooked” 68 years later.
no one lives or works in a vacuum. Dozens of men, women and children
(yes, children) have contributed historical facts and have endured hours of
interviews and taping to help with what has become Davenport, Fact and Fancy.
I owe a particular debt to the volunteers of the Davenport Historical
Society, particularly Virginia Sanford, Virginia Rifenbark, Margaret Madden,
Rose Beers, Joan Taubel, stalwart proof-reader Barbara Rifenburg, Davenport
Historian Sally Beams, and the Historical Society’s president, Ben
Beams. The Town of Davenport also deserves great appreciation for its
strong support over many years for the Davenport Historical Society.
credit for the photos and maps in Davenport, Fact and Fancy goes to David
Griswold, computer wizard. David’s efforts have visually shown the
reader how Davenport’s roads were maintained, what happened when the town
steamroller broke through a bridge at Davenport Center, and the intimacy of a
1904 ice cream social. What the eye sees, it remembers.
Preston is another, equally talented computer prodigy, now working on his
doctor’s degree in computer science. Nate, with help from several
family members, has been solely responsible for installing the Historical
Society’s state-of-the-art computer files and archives. For the
current volume, Nate has developed and prepared the enclosed CD-ROM.
David Griswold, Nate and all the Prestons, thank you for your creative
contributions and generous enterprise.
research and organizational talents of Alan Strout provided a breath of
fresh air. He was (and is) the inspiration for the current volume in its
final form. His persistent research helped fill a number of gaps in the
narrative, helped to document the town’s growth and to clarify, among many
other matters, the early and forgotten change in the western boundary of the
learning experience and mutual prodding and handholding have been memorable
and exemplary; our collaboration, a pleasure and a privilege. Our aim
has been to create a compilation of historical events, both large and small,
to give the reader a feeling of where we have been historically and to provide
a possible guide for the future.
the volume derives its ultimate polish and accuracy from the diligent and
perceptive readings of George Adams, Sally Beams, Ann Buck, Howson Hartley,
Caroline Meek de Marrais, Henry J. Rode II, Caroline Strout, and Bernice
Graham Telian. All remaining errors belong to the author and editor.
proud to have helped gather the historical records for the benefit of the town
and, with others’ assistance and encouragement, to have used them to create
Davenport, Fact and Fancy. Enjoy.
Mary S. Briggs, Town of Davenport Historian Emeritus,