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Davenport is a coastal community on the north coast of Santa Cruz County, about ten miles north of Santa Cruz. Captain John Davenport, a mariner from Rhode Island who had settled in Monterey in 1849, later moved north to establish a business (which may or may not have involved whaling) at what is still known as Davenport Landing. In the 1860s, Davenport and his partner John King built a wharf and other facilities at the little North Coast cove. In addition to Davenport's own activities, the wharf was used by local lime manufacturers, lumber producers and other exporters. A small town grew up around the wharf and associated businesses. The town that later grew up around San Vicente Creek and the cement plant, a couple of miles to the south, adopted the name Davenport. The original town of Davenport Landing was destroyed by fire in 1915 and the wharf was destroyed by storms. Neither were ever rebuilt.

In 1906, cement manufacturer William Dingee built the manufacturing plant that was the largest employer in Davenport until its closure in 2010. A consortium of land-preservation organizations acquired much of the limestone-mining land formerly owned by the cement company, and have established an open space preserve called San Vicente Redwoods.