The B.J. and Mabel Palmer Residence.
A century has passed since Drs. B.J. and Mabel and young Dave
Palmer took up residence at 808 Brady Street in Davenport. When
the Palmers purchased it in 1912 for $25,000, it became the third
building on the Palmer School of Chiropractic campus.
Over the years the home has become a museum filled with souvenirs
the Palmer family brought home from their travels abroad
in the 1920s—ranging from priceless Asian art to eclectic knickknacks.
Tours of the residence are offered each week on Friday
mornings or by appointment throughout the week. Several times
a year, large groups of tourists brought to the area by the Quad
Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau stop by for tours.
Senior Director for Palmer History Alana Callender, Ed.D., Curator
Roger Hynes, D.C., and Museum Coordinator Julie Knaak serve as
caretakers for the residence and conduct tours. They are assisted
by the Campus Guides, who lead tours during Homecoming and
other events, as well as a number of faithful volunteers, many of
them alumni, who help with maintenance and cleaning projects
during volunteer work days held at least annually.
The Residence was selected to be on the National Register of
Historic Places because of its unique porch, which was added during
the 1921-22 campus expansion. It was used by the Palmers
for meetings of faculty, the Universal Chiropractic Association and
Palmer Broadcasting. Dr. Dave Palmer said in his memoir, “Every
meal was a meeting.”
Though Little Bit O’ Heaven, an exotic garden adjacent to the Residence,
was closed down in the 1960s and eventually demolished
to make room for campus expansion, its Courtyard remained. The
surroundings for the giant bronze “Wishing Buddha” and smaller
“Healing Buddha” deteriorated. Since 1997, Dr. Callender and her
staff have worked to make it a haven again for Palmer students,
employees and visitors with more seating areas and flowers.
This summer the Courtyard underwent a major renovation,
including replacing the old pavement with a friendlier surface and
increasing the amount of green space, as well as adding a butterfly
garden. The newly renovated space was dedicated with a ribboncutting
during Homecoming, but the work continues and the
next improvement to the Courtyard will be a fountain for which
a fundraising campaign is underway. If you’re interested in
contributing, contact Ms. Knaak at email@example.com.