Infrastructure, Arsenal, & River

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

Clock Tower & Gatehouse – Arsenal Island

Rock Island – the real, the original, Rock Island – is the geographic and historical center of the Quad Cities.  This is not some overgrown sandbar island-wannabee, subject to the whims of the Mississippi’s current.  Rather, this sturdy thousand acre stone plateau that rises above the original shallow rapids forces the river to alter its … [ Continued

Centennial Bridge

Foot of 15th Street  We drive across it, many of us on a daily basis, and mostly we don’t pay it much attention.  But looking down from the top of the bluff, or from either side along the street or riverfront trail, it’s easy to see why Rock Island’s Centennial Bridge has become an icon … [ Continued

Government Bridge Guard House

Rock Island Arsenal  How often do you pass this unassuming but striking little building, identified on our postcard as the Government Bridge Guard House?  Only when walking or waiting for the bridge to open is there an opportunity to examine it and compare it to the early 1900s postcard from Greg Binder’s collection. The most … [ Continued

Roller Dam & Locks

Mississippi River The featured postcard, and the one below showing a different view, represents the culmination of a century of navigational improvements on the Mississippi River.   It was published in 1934 when the new Lock and Dam No. 15 opened at the western end of Arsenal Island and shows the downstream side of the roller … [ Continued

Crescent Bridge

Foot of 7th Street Did you ever wonder how the Crescent Bridge got its name?  Or do you even know where the Crescent Bridge is?  For years it was hidden behind Rock Island’s levee near 7th Street and was best seen from the river or from the Centennial Bridge.  Since it’s usually seen with the … [ 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