After spending a few days in Rock Island Illinois we headed for a quick stop in Bettendorf Iowa. Taking the usual route home we ran into road closures. Both ramps to access I-74 were closed on Sunday ( October 24 2010 ). There were no detour signs guiding you to an alternate route. Which is just bad planning on some agencies part. You have many tourist attractions in that area. Visitors would have a hard time finding a new way out of town. We had our Garmin GPS but it wasn’t on. The area is somewhat familiar to us so we didn’t think we’d needed it.
In the end we turned around and headed back into Bettendorf. We knew we could go East out of town and hookup with I-80. It’s during this part of the drive that we passed a city mileage sign with the name Le Claire on it. The alarms went off in my head. That is what I wanted to do the next time I was in the Quad Cities – go track down the home of the American Pickers. So the adventure begins. We drive past the I-80 interchange into Le Claire Iowa. Looking around & taking pictures we don’t see the well known place we are looking for. Our journey takes us through downtown which has several antique shops. We then start to head out of town towards the rock quarry.
After a short drive past an old car for sale we end up in Princeton on the Mississippi. When we see a red and white chicken on a roof it’s time to pull over and get our bearings. I dig out the Garmin GPS plug it in and start my search. Every antique shop in the area but Antique Archaeology is listed in our Garmin database. Aggravated I decide to go take pictures of the buildings in Princeton. I was really interested in getting a few photos of the chicken building.
At some point while I was gone Cheryl decided to get the laptop out and look for a wireless connection. The odds of finding Wi-Fi in a town that small is very slim. An unsecured network you would think would be even less. The Princeton Landing has an unsecured wireless network. Keep in mind for many different reasons it is never a good idea to use an unknown unsecured wireless connection. Many bad things can come to life when doing so. Either way she was able to find Antique Archaeology’s address and plug it into our Garmin GPS.
So we head out of Princeton past the old car for sale, the house on the cliff, the rock quarry, through downtown and into a Le Claire neighborhood. GPS gets us into the right area but we still aren’t seeing what we want to find. Coming down a hill Cheryl spots a house with 115 on it. Then my brain kicks in – when 1/2 is in an address this normally means an alley or basement location. Sure enough right past the small 115 house in the alley you will find Antique Archaeology.
Honestly this famous building is very easy to locate using 2 Le Claire Iowa landmarks. When you are coming into town from I-80 look for the police station. Right next door you will find a BP gas station / convenience store. Look in the alley directly behind the BP and you will find the American Pickers.
Cheryl gassed up car while I went to take pictures. The store is closed on Sunday so I had the location all to myself or so I thought. Just a bit before I’m about to leave a car pulls into the alley. A man gets out and starts taking photos. He engages me in conversation by asking if I watch the show. Up until this point I wasn’t having the best day so I’m sure I came off as less than pleasant. Later a woman gets out of the car and has him start taking her picture by the building. At no time did I walk onto the property. Not a good idea in a small town.
Before having her picture taken she saw I was still busy taking more of my own. She said something to her companion about not wanting to get in my way. That is when I told her it didn’t matter to me ( then I used the lame line from a well known movie ) I’ll make you famous. She didn’t seem interested so I made sure to keep her out of my pictures. I would have liked to have included a photo of these American Pickers fans in this article. But it wasn’t to be. As arrogant as it may seem I have in fact made several every day people online “famous”.
Danielle Colby Cushman & Frank Fritz don’t seem to be heavily featured on the Antique Archaeology website. I know when I visited in the past before the site redesign both had their own about pages. The company’s site does state that you should ask a friendly local for directions when searching for this famous storefront.
Not everyone is a huge fan of the show. There is some controversy – I’m not sure newer episodes have calmed these opinions. There are several online discussions that have a viewpoint similar to the one referenced below.