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History • Green Tree Brewery • Le Claire, IA



The Green Tree Brewery sits on the banks of the Mississippi River in Le Claire Iowa where Interstate 80 crosses between Iowa and Illinois. Le Claire is a quaint town with a rich historic past and a vision for the future. You can shop, dine and stroll the streets enjoying the view of the river.

Le Claire is known as the site of the “American Pickers” reality television series and is the birthplace of William Fredrick Cody, AKA Buffalo Bill Cody, who in his younger days, climbed and played around the original Green Tree.

The owners are Dr. Richard Day and his wife, Denise Day. Richard has always (well, for 20 years anyway) had a passion for brewing his own beers because he loved adding his own flavors to the brews to make them very unique. He enjoyed the flavors of his own beers better than the flavor neutral beers that were on the markets. He and his wife frequented a local microbrewery often and when they would travel, they would search out other microbreweries, sometimes visiting 3 or 4 in a day.

It didn’t take much encouragement from his wife, kids, sister in law, nephew and tons of other family and friends to take his brews to the next level. They thought that brewing 15 barrels at a time would be much better than 5 gallons! Not to mention, much easier to take the beer home with them! So, they opened Green Tree Brewery! With help from a lot of amazing people who believed in them.

We didn’t want a “bar” so we have a gathering place, much like our namesake “Green Tree Hotel“. The hotel was actually a tree that brought many people together for a variety of reasons. You are welcome to drop in and stay awhile. Come sample of beers and you can even take some home with you!

We at Green Tree Brewery truly hope you enjoy it!


Green Tree black and whiteThe famous Green Tree was also known as “Green Tree Hotel”. Those who worked the Mississippi River from New Orleans to St. Paul knew it as the “Green Tree Hotel.” The giant elm had a height of more than 50 feet and a canopy 100 feet long. The big tree was a gathering place for river boat pilots and provided shade and refuge for men coming to Le Claire in search of jobs on the river boats.

During its 225 year lifetime, the tree survived shore erosion, construction of railroad tracks and storms. Among the countless children who played under its spreading branches was Le Claire native Col. William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, the famous frontiersman and showman.

In 1924, Le Claire resident Joe Barnes installed a granite marker near the tree as a means of commemorating the good times he and his childhood playmate, Buffalo Bill, had at the tree. The marker remains at the foot of Wisconsin Street, the site of the tree, along with a plaque identifying the site. The plaque was installed in 1966 by members of Boy Scout Troop 9 of Davenport’s First Christian Church.

Green Tree compositeIt was the largest Rock Elm on record. It was located at the start of the “Rock Island Rapids” at Le Claire, Iowa. In 1912 it was entered in the “Hall of Fame for Trees” (when it was approximately 175 years old) because of its unique role in local history. In 1964 it succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease. It was cut down on July 20, 1964. The Buffalo Bill Museum, 200 N. Le Claire Drive, Le Claire, Iowa, exhibit includes a cross section of this large elm, including its unusual hollow core. It can also be viewed at the Putnam Museum, 1717 W. 12th St., Davenport, Iowa.

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