In other articles appearing in this work frequent mention has been made of the astounding growth Rock Island has undergone during the past few years, and of the many new buildings, especially residences, that have been erected during that time. All, or nearly all, of the contracts that have been let for these have been placed with the city’s home contractors, one of the most prominent of whom is H. W. C. Tappendorf.
He was born July 4, 1862, at Provence Holstein, Germany, the home of his parents, John T. and Hannah Tappendorf. He attended the public schools of his native town during his boyhood, and upon the completion of his school days he took up and mastered the carpenter’s trade in that thorough and systematic manner for which Germans are renowned.
In 1886 he came to America and located in Davenport, Iowa, where for two years he worked at his trade as a journeyman carpenter. In 1888 he came to Rock Island, and here he continued to work as a journeyman in the employ of others until 1896, when by his industry and frugality he had accumulated sufficient money to start as an independent contractor in a small way. In this he was successful, the growth of his business being steady and continuous until it has reached its present proportions.
Although a general contractor, Mr. Tappendorf has specialized along the line of church building, and has been called upon to erect some of the largest church edifices in the country. He now does a business averaging about $100,000 a year, a splendid record for a man who started in life with the sole assets of a determined spirit and a willingness to work, showing, as it does, that these are the really essential elements in a successful career.
Mr. Tappendorf was married November 8, 1892, to Miss Freda Smith, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. M. Smith, of Davenport. Their marriage has been blessed with four children, Harry W., Mathew, Walter and Helen, all of whom are at home.
In politics Mr. Tappendorf was formerly a Democrat. Now, however, he owns no party allegiance, but gives his support and his vote to whichever candidate or whichever measure he believes to be best. He is a member of Rock Island Lodge, No. 18, Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
In this brief biographical sketch are told the essential facts in the career of H. W. C. Tappendorf, the story of a life which woven into the warp and woof of our citizenship makes its texture firmer, stronger and brighter.