Located in Scott County on the eastern border of Iowa where the Mississippi River meets Interstate 80. Bettendorf’s population is just over 39,000 and is the fifteenth largest city in Iowa. Bettendorf is one of a few cities in the world to have a city-wide fiber optic network available for business use. Bettendorf also has a wide selection of family-friendly activities and museums. The original town was named Lillienthal, after an early tavern and dance hall owner. The city was renamed Gilbert in 1858, honoring Elias Gilbert, who originally platted the town.
At the turn of the century, William and Joseph Bettendorf proposed to the townspeople that they would move their iron wagon business there if the city would purchase the old Gilbert farm for them as a location for their factory. Donations were solicited from the residents and, in a pioneering example of economic development, the land was provided, the factory was built, and hundreds of jobs were created. In January of 1903, the town of 440 residents petitioned for incorporation, requesting the name be changed to Bettendorf, honoring the brothers whose factory was so important to the early development of the city.
Growth was slow in the early years. At the time of World War II, there were still fewer than 4,000 residents. Rapid growth in manufacturing and general business activities caused an acceleration of population growth in the 1950’s and 60’s. Bettendorf more than doubled its population between 1960 and 1980. The first modern day riverboat casinos in the United States were launched here in April 1991.
Today, Bettendorf encompasses nearly twenty-three square miles. There are two public school systems serving the City of Bettendorf and over 700 acres of park land throughout twenty-four different park sites; two boat launches and docks (Leach Park and Eagles Landing); 7.8 miles of fitness and recreation trails; and 7.3 miles of separated trails.