Having been built by German-Americans immigrants, Schuetzen Park quickly became a Mecca for cultural traditions brought from the “old countries” of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
The most obvious tradition that was carried on at the Park was “schuetzen”, or target shooting. The Park contained a shooting range (Schiessbahn) with a Shooting House, Target House and Prize Pyramid. The Davenport Schuetzenverein (DSV), which was established in 1868, is still recognized as the oldest, continuously operating “Schuetzenverein” in the United States of America. Early members of the Verein were leaders in Davenport’s, social, economic and political realms as well. Other events unique to the Schuetzen Park were the large singing festivals (Saengerfests), which drew audiences of up to 12,000. Turnfests, or athletic competitions between regional “Turnvereins”, also drew hundreds of participants and spectators. The last “Turnfest” held at Schuetzen Park was 1923.
Although no shooting of any kind currently takes place at this location, The Davenport Schuetzen Verein does have a new range near Princeton, Iowa, where they continue to shoot in the traditional “Schuetzen” style. You can learn more about their activities at: https://www.dsaiowa.com