Business & Commercial

Rock Island Savings Bank

Third Avenue & 18th Street  The Rock Island Savings Bank was brand new when this postcard was mailed in 1911—so new, in fact, that instead of using a photo as a basis for the card, a drawing of the bank was used.  The rendering allowed the publisher to make the building appear much larger as … [ Continued

Uptown Business District

14th Avenue at 38th Street As Rock Island grew and expanded up the bluff, small retail centers developed concurrently to serve the new residents.  Our Real Photo postcard showing 14th Avenue near 38th Street is from the Special Collections at the Augustana College Library.  It was mailed – and probably created — by downtown photo … [ Continued

Downtown, Looking Southeast

Once again, thanks are due to Shannon Hall for lending us a most intriguing Real Photo postcard of the buildings and rooftops of downtown Rock Island.  The presence of certain buildings and the absence of others let us date this photograph to about 1909.  The photographer was likely atop the roof of the brand new … [ Continued

Best Building

1701-1707 Second Avenue  In 1908 there were several new buildings being built in downtown Rock Island: the Safety Building, the London (Quad City Arts) and the Best Building as depicted in the post card above from Greg Binder’s collection.  The Best Building, named for owner Louis P. Best of Davenport, replaced an old Italianate building … [ Continued

Bear Manufacturing – Automotive Safety Service School

21st Street & 5th Avenue  The Happy Bear—that’s what they called the impish critter who was the mascot and logo for the Bear Manufacturing Company a business which opened in Rock Island and stayed on for a long run.  The founders of Bear were brothers Will and Henry Damman, who invented an electric starter for … [ Continued

L. S. McCabe & Co. (Stern Center)

1713 Third Avenue For decades, McCabe’s Department Store was a downtown Rock Island institution.  With multiple locations, it became the standard for retail, even challenging larger chains with its customer loyalty. Our colored postcard from Shannon Hall’s collection shows the “new” L.S. McCabe’s building at 1713 3rd Avenue.    Although postmarked 1911, the same picture, complete … [ Continued

London Building

1715 Second Avenue  It’s not a pretty picture, this postcard captioned “Rock Island Fire.”  What was clearly once a beautiful building is in ruins, icicles hanging like curtains before gaping window openings.  Why would an insurance agency create a postcard of such devastation?  We found this Real Photo postcard in the Special Collections of Augustana … [ Continued

Colman Florist

2754 12th Street It’s not uncommon for a young man to follow his father into the family business.  But when five generations of sons and daughters continue the family heritage, it is noteworthy.  And that is the story of the Colman Florist family, whose business and home are shown on our postcard today. The tale … [ Continued