Postcards From Home

Rock Island’s 1902 High School

21st Street & 6th Avenue From the earliest days, there were schools in the tiny settlement that would become Rock Island, but they were private and usually quite small. Academic courses offered in the 1840s ranged from astronomy to ornamental sewing.  Tuition was charged and educational standards were inconsistent. A free public school system was … [ Continued

Arsenal Power House & Dam

South Side of Arsenal Island Some look at a flowing river and see beauty.  Others see raw power ready to be captured.  The waters of the Mississippi River have enormous power that is often untapped.  The incessant current resulting from the drop in river altitude from north to south can be harnessed to produce energy. … [ Continued

Rock Island Arsenal Rustic Bridge

Arsenal, South of Golf Course Does today’s postcard represent a local scene?   This stone bridge with its two wide arches resembles those of medieval origin, traversing any of a number of small European streams.  Our local rivers are much too wide for such a bridge – and there’s not much room for a boat to … [ Continued

Old Main – Augustana College

Seventh Avenue looking Southeast Thanks to George Henning for lending today’s Real Photo postcard of an Augustana College scene.  The view is from Rock Island’s 7th Avenue looking southeast toward 38th Street.  The central feature of the postcard is Augustana’s cherished Old Main and behind it is the first building on the college campus. Augustana … [ Continued

Circus Day – Second Avenue

Second Avenue W from 18th Street Oh, the excitement!  On Rock Island’s normally staid downtown streets, where men wore suits and a woman was never seen without a hat, there were lions and tigers and bears…..and elephants.  The circus was in town!  As early as 1857, the Spaulding & Rogers circus arrived on nine cars … [ Continued

Long View Park Helen Horst Memorial Pool

Long View Park Rock Island’s location at the junction of two major rivers is enviable.  But rivers are a mixed blessing, especially where children are concerned.  Playing or swimming in the river currents can be treacherous, as it was for 6-year old Helen Margaret Horst.  On the morning of August 24, 1912, no one noticed … [ Continued

J. E. Janes’ Restaurant

1810 Second Avenue If the holidays find you in charge of providing a nice meal for many unacquainted people, take a tip from the Janes family.  In their restaurant, shown on this unused postcard from Shannon Hall, they managed to create cozy and private dining settings at long group tables in a crowded space.   The … [ Continued

Longfellow School

7th Avenue at 41st Street In the 1890s, E. H. Guyer promoted a new city linking Rock Island and Moline that he called Keystone. Although that dream city of 60,000, complete with its own court house, city hall, post office, depot, and theater never developed, the area did grow, as did the neighborhood school, now … [ Continued