Life & Times

Market Square

17th Street & 2nd Avenue One postcard story was about a 1906 view of the Market Square building decorated for the Farmers National Congress.  This is another postcard from the same era, but with a completely different view, that shows Market Square’s surroundings on 17th Street, looking south from Second to Third Avenues. In contrast … [ Continued

New Armory

Much of the material in this story comes from “Rock Island’s Modernistic Architecture,” published by the Preservation Commission.  You can pick up a free copy at the downtown Rock Island library or at City Hall.  You can’t help but be impressed by its size.  It is huge — 232 feet long, 148 feet wide and … [ Continued

Parade & Stable on Third Avenue

Third Avenue West from 17th Street In 1908, Rock Island was home to the annual statewide conclave of the Knights Templar, a Masonic organization that claims roots in the Crusades.  The Knights began arriving on Monday, October 12.  The following morning at 11, an estimated 1200 to 1500 Knights marched through downtown and nearby residential … [ Continued

Teddy’s Day

Second Avenue East from 17th Street  This unused postcard from Shannon Hall’s collection shows a parade along Second Avenue, apparently celebrating a visit to Rock Island by President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt.  Someone has even penciled in a 1909 date at the top.  All we had to do was find the occasion.  Mr. Roosevelt visited Rock … [ Continued

Memorial Park Cemetery

30th Street & Blackhawk Road  The acres just east of Rock Island’s 30th Street and north of Blackhawk Road overlooking the Rock River valley look like a park.  Nearly a thousand years ago, the mound-building Woodland predecessors of the Sauk and Mesquakie Indians recognized the beauty there when they created a resting place for their … [ Continued

Fort Armstrong Theatre (Circa 21)

Third Avenue & 19th Street Its given name was the “Fort Armstrong Theatre” and it was called the “Castle That Shadows Built.”  The shadows, of course, referred to the silent movies that were shown there.  Later it was named simply “The Fort.”  Now it is “Circa 21,” named for 1921, the year the theatre first … [ 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

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