HISTORY OF THE DAVIS PLACE
The Davis Place's history starts with Wartburg College. Davis Place I sits where this college was originally located, 511 Garfield Avenue. Wartburg College traces it's roots to 1852, when Pastor Wilhelm Löhe of Neuendettelsau, Bavaria, sent Pastor Georg Grossmann to America to work as a missionary of the Lutheran faith. With five students, Grossmann founded a teacher-training school for German immigrants in Saginaw, Michigan.The college was moved several times to accommodate the shifting tide of Lutheran immigration (Dubuque, St. Sebald near Strawberry Point, Waverly, and Clinton in Iowa and Galena and Mendota in Illinois ). Waverly became it's permanent home in 1935. The name Wartburg was given to the college when it was located in rural St. Sebald because the wooded countryside of the area reminded Grossmann of the Thuringian Forest where the Wartburg Castle is located.
Ray Davis purchased the residence at 515 Garfield in 1972. In 1978, the Wartburg building was changed over to a correctional facility for men and remained that way until about 1984. In 1985, the correctional facility moved leaving a vacant apartment building next door to Ray Davis. He then purchased the building from an insurance man named Ray Gielles. He bought this building mainly because he liked the garage in the back - it gave him a place to work as well as store his tools. In the year 1999, Scott Potter and his wife Dawn purchased both lots, 515 and 511, from Ray Davis in hopes to restore it to its former condition and turn it into an apartment building. Upon investigating this notion, the building was deemed unsafe for many reasons and the structure would have to be taken down. As a result, Davis Place was born and in the year 2000, the first building was established.
After the first building was operational it became clear that the need for this type of housing was vast and growing. Scott decided to put up a second and a third building, and this year he is in the process of constructing the fourth. The buildings can all be seen on the southern end of Garfield Avenue.
The neat thing about these buildings is that a lot of time and effort was put into these structures from the entire Potter family and close friends...Even the men from the Davis Place could be seen in a line pushing up the walls for Davis Place II and III. We all took pride in what we were doing and continue to work towards a better and more productive area in the downtown area of Dubuque. These buildings stand for so much. It is not just a place of residence, but a place that offers a second chance to many men. The community is great, it is so important to have someone there to talk to, play cards with or to share a meal. These guys are such an important dynamic in the whole cause and the reason why we continue to do what we do.
"All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible."
- Orison Swett Marden
"Some people weave burlap into the fabric of our lives, and some weave gold thread. Both contribute to make the whole picture beautiful and unique."
Why Davis Place? Ray Davis was the former owner and we wanted to use his name as a neat identifier of the property since he was the prior owner. He is also Scott's father-in-law.