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Palmer Legacy Families

Palmer Legacy Families

Palmer chiropractic keeps families together.
Winter 2018

college news

The Palmer Clinic Gardens: then and now

By Alana Callender, Ed.D., F.P.A.C.

In 1919, B.J. and Mabel Palmer purchased 1002 and 1012 Brady, two houses north of the Administration Building. They were listed as the PSC Health Homes, presumably rooming houses associated with the school’s clinic, located in the Memorial Building.

Rapid inflation of the costs of building materials and labor strikes brought the building program to a precipitous end, leaving the Palmers with an empty area east and north of the classroom building. It is the area known today as the Clinic Gardens.

In 1932, the area was converted to clay tennis courts, the first courts in Iowa to be lighted. The courts provided a small but steady income for the school during the summers.

The area underwent another metamorphosis after the end of World War II. The courts were plowed under, ponds were added, and the area became a tranquil place for patients to rest after adjustments.

A ship’s anchor and chain, weighing five tons and more than 400 years old, was placed in the garden. Huge boulders became centerpieces for the pools. A sundial was specially cast for Davenport’s latitude and longitude.

Time and water will wear mountains down and little by little, they wore down the gardens. By the 1980s, the old metal benches under the pergolas had been replaced with wooden slat benches and folding lawn chairs.

In preparation for the College’s centennial in 1997, the pergolas were removed. The ponds and their goldfish remained, but the relocation of the main clinic to the eastern side of Brady Street decimated the number of visitors.

In August 2017, the renovated Clinic Gardens opened. The urns continue to stand, and the entrance they originally guarded has been restored. The anchor and its chain still makes visitors marvel. The sundial reflects the time in Davenport. The deep ponds have been replaced with zero entry fountains with the stone centerpieces remaining intact. And the Japanese torii continues to mark it as a place for all visitors to find peace.

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