Stylistically, the Porter Building – in the Annie Wittenmyer complex at 2800 Eastern Avenue in Davenport – is an English Period Cottage. Its half-timbered frame and steep pitched gables are drawn from European medieval building techniques.
Its architectural style is fairly unusual for the Quad Cities. What really sets it apart visually, however, is its playful, creative brickwork. Regular rows of bricks give way to unorthodox coursing patterns in the middle section of the walls. Like a stream of consciousness, like the drip paintings by Jackson Pollock, the rows of bricks wrap around large stones, rise up and down in waves, then – suddenly – are stacked at odd angles.
The building was designed by Bradley Rust (1908 -2000), an Iowa City architect. It is his earliest work that still stands, and perhaps his most creative. Nearly 500 construction and remodeling projects created by Rust are maintained by the State Historical Society of Iowa in Iowa City.
There isn’t another building in the Quad Cities quite like it. Its connections to history, however, are equally unexpected. And genuinely significant.