1840-1848... The first territory settlers, the majority of whom were Scotch and Irish Presbyterians, arrive in the Eldridge area. In 1846, Jacob M. Eldridge moved permanently to Davenport from Philadelphia and purchased land north of Davenport from the U.S. Government for $1.25 per acre. Known as the 48ers, immigrants from Schleswig and Holstein, Germany arrived and settle in the Scott County area. Railroads were developed during the 1860s, bringing more settlers. Eldridge Junction, built on land donated by Jacob Eldridge, was incorporated on July 2, 1871. A post office and a Presbyterian church were soon built.
Eldridge faced several challenges during its early years. The railroad faltered financially during the 1880s and was re-located to Oxford Junction, while a smallpox epidemic several years later was said to have totally isolated the city. A fire heavily damaged the city's business district in 1904, and in 1918 a tornado of unknown strength heavily damaged or destroyed several residences and the church, and killed one person. Each time, the city recovered, and the farming community maintained its status as a grain and livestock shipping center.
The city began growing in population during the 1950s, starting with the formation of the Scott County Library System (a countywide network of libraries serving smaller communities in the area) in 1950, and the North Scott Community School District in 1956. By the late 1960s, the population had grown to more than 1,000 residents, and with the creation of several industrial parks to encourage new business development, the city continued to grow. Today the city is thriving, with nearly 6,000 residents and businesses living, working and playing together!