Postcards From Home

Modern Woodmen of America Interior

1504 3rd Avenue The next time you go to the Rock Island County Building, make it a point to go through the main entrance near the west end of the building. As soon as you are inside the building, stop and look up. Odds are you’ve never noticed the elaborately paneled wood ceiling in the … [ Continued

Rock Island High School

1400 25th Avenue  The fireworks on July 4, 1858, were more spectacular than ever.  Crowds gathered in Union (later Spencer) Square for the display were startled to see flames shooting from their brand new high school, burning it to the ground before it could even be occupied.  Only two years earlier, five separate school districts … [ Continued

View of Vandruff Island from Black Hawk Tower

Vandruff’s Island lies just outside Rock Island’s border, with this view from Black Hawk’s Watch Tower being enjoyed by thousands through the decades.  This postcard, from the Augustana College Library Special Collections, dates from around 1920 and shows the island with the Rock River on either side and the town of Milan visible in the … [ Continued

New Post Office – Federal Building

19th – 20th Streets; 2nd – 3rd Avenues Postcards from Home typically tells about buildings a century or so old. Too often, the subject has been demolished leaving only pictures to document its existence. Even when a building is still standing, its current appearance often is different from the postcard illustration. Today’s postcard from the … [ Continued

Old Rock Island Post Office

Second Avenue & 16th Street Rock Island had a post office before we even had a town.  Starting in 1825, Colonel George Davenport’s small trading post on the island was where the small amount of mail was received and sent.   Col. Davenport’s commission reportedly appointed him postmaster of Rock Island, Missouri.  By 1834, the first … [ Continued

“New” City Hall

 This 1945 postcard, published for Hickey Brothers Cigar Stores, shows the beautiful new Art Deco style building on the corner of 16th Street and Third Avenue that was dedicated in 1941, as a home for City Hall and the Police Department. This corner had been the site of city government for decades, as the city … [ Continued

Rock Island House Café

Second Avenue & 16th Street They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this picture postcard does indeed tell its own story.  The postcard from Shannon Hall’s collection shows the small café in the Rock Island House hotel as it appeared after 1910.  Because such postcards with interior views are uncommon, they imply … [ Continued

Spencer Square – Part I

2nd – 3rd Avenues; 19th -20th Streets The tale of Spencer Square is one that has a beginning, a middle, and, sadly, there’s also an end.  But it’s a long enough story – and there are enough postcards scenes of it – to tell the story in different parts.  The full block it occupied in … [ Continued