Postcards From Home

Villa de Chantal

16th Avenue at 21st Street  The Villa de Chantal, pictured in this circa 1912 postcard, served as a Catholic boarding and day school from 1901 to 1978.  It was the vision of an order of cloistered nuns known as the Sisters of the Visitation who came to Rock Island from Kentucky, bringing with them a … [ Continued

St. Mary’s School & Convent

5th Avenue & 22nd Street  St. Mary’s, the oldest Catholic Church in Rock Island County, celebrated its 150th Anniversary in 2001.  Founded in 1851 by Rev. George Alleman, it was initially known as St. James, but the name was changed to St. Mary’s about 24 years later.  The current church building was constructed in 1862, … [ Continued

Second Avenue West from 18th Street

Second Avenue is the undisputed heart of downtown Rock Island, both historically and today. It has been the destination of shoppers, tipplers, and travelers, of salesmen, milliners, attorneys and blacksmiths. Historically, the commercial area extended from 15th to 20th Streets. West of 15th Street the avenue was residential, while east of 20th Street, the Chicago, … [ Continued

House at 1103 2nd Avenue

It’s a quiet street, a nice, tree-shaded street – and it could be anytown USA.  But this postcard is a view of 2nd Avenue looking east from 11th Street as it appeared at the turn of the 19th Century.  In some way, it’s a strange choice for a postcard –mostly trees and paving, it’s not … [ Continued

Rock River Dam

Rock River Near 11th Street Although the postcard labels this the Water Power Dam, most of us call it the Sears Dam, sometimes the Sears Power Dam.  It’s located in the Rock River just east of the Route 67 bridge from Rock Island to Milan and its name is a legacy of David B. Sears, … [ Continued

Ferry T. J. Robinson

 “It is man’s natural inclination to walk to the edge of any body of water and look out upon its surface.”  So begins a 1902 story of the ferryboats that linked Rock Island and Davenport.  But ferryboats can also be explained with another observation: It is man’s natural inclination to try to cross any body … [ Continued

Ransom R. Cable Residence

918 Second Avenue  He was the son of one wealthy man, Hiram C. Cable, and the nephew of another, Philander Cable, yet Ransom R. Cable started his working life as a railroad conductor on what would become the Rock Island and Peoria (RI&P) Railroad.  Although the line went only as far as Coal Valley at … [ Continued

Mill Store

300-02 Fourth Avenue  The Mill Store, featured on this postcard, notes that it contains drygoods, shoe, and grocery departments.   In city directories, the Mill Store also indicated that it sold hardware here, at its outlet on the southeast of Third Street and Fourth Avenue.   All these items and many more were offered in a space … [ Continued