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
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 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
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