Infrastructure, Arsenal, & River

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

Tri City Railway Car Barns

3448 Fifth Avenue They were known as street railways, and the streetcars that followed those rails were much like a train, except they were only one car long.  For forty years they created a steel network that extended well outside of our major city limits. One could hop on a streetcar in Rock Island and … [ Continued

Government Bridge

Have you ever wondered, as a massive freight train lumbers overhead when you are crossing the Mississippi on the Government Bridge why that train is above rather than beneath you?  The answer:  So the train won’t scare the horses. Warm summer days can be wonderful, but there’s at least one downside for many Quad-Citians.  The … [ Continued

Mississippi River Scene

Shannon Hall’s extensive postcard collection is the source of this postcard captioned, “Mississippi River, Rock Island, Illinois.”   It was created by Detroit Publishing Company, which operated from about 1895 to the mid 1930s.  That company sent photographers all over the world and also bought negatives from other photographers.  It published not only postcards, but also … [ Continued

Log Raft on Mississippi

West from 15th Street  For over a century, the Mississippi River has been a means of conveyance, floating huge objects to a final destination.  Nowadays, it is barges, tied together and pushed by tugboats.  But from the Civil War until early in the 19th century, the main objects on the river were log rafts. Hundreds … [ Continued

Levee View

NE from 17th Street & 2nd Avenue “Here’s a new set of photo cards recently out (not mine—they are printed by machine). This view looks northeast from the top of the Best Building. You see the river, the arsenal at the right, the Government Bridge and Davenport at the left—also a near view of the … [ Continued

Car Barn Ruins – June 2, 1913

5th Avenue & 35th Street   Bolts of lightening followed by deafening detonations struck to the heart of Rock Island in the wee hours of Sunday, June 1, 1913.  A fire ensued, quickly destroying the Tri-City Railway Company car barns on 5th Avenue near 35th Street.   This Real Photo postcard from the Augustana College Library Special … [ Continued

Street View – 7th Avenue at 42nd Street

There was no caption on this Real Photo postcard found in the Augustana College Library Special Collections, but someone had handwritten a notation: “44th Street and 7th Avenue.”  Further investigation found the postcard scene was actually showing the southeast corner of 42nd Street and 7th Avenue, right across from today’s Longfellow School.  The school property … [ Continued