Life & Times

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

Harms Hotel Tap Room

18th Street at First Avenue  Before we explain our postcard today, we must tell you a bit about Rock Island’s Hotel Harms. In the near future we will give the hotel that opened in 1902 and once stood on the southwest corner of 18th Street and First Avenue a column all its own. The hotel … [ Continued

John Looney Riot

16th Street at Third Avenue  This column has often featured rare Real Photo postcards from the early 1900s.  Such postcards provide uncommon and unaltered views of historic Rock Island.  Their rarity is due to the process by which they were created: Each postcard was individually printed using a negative and photographic paper.  This method is … [ Continued

Elks State Convention Parade -1913

 Second Avenue,  East from 15th Street There was celebrating in Rock Island on June 3-5, 1913, when hundreds of Elks from across Illinois came to their 10th Annual State Convention.  Local Lodge 980, five-hundred strong, with a waiting list of potential members, hosted the state delegates at their lodge at 111 18th Street (now home … [ Continued

Market Square – Farmers Congress

17th Street at Second Avenue  News coverage of the weeklong gathering of the 24th annual Farmers National Congress began on Saturday, October 6, 1906, when the Argus reported that downtown Rock Island was taking on a festival appearance in anticipation of thousands of visitors. The story was accompanied by a plea for citizens to make … [ Continued

Palace Amusement – Marathon Dance

5th Avenue & 13th Street  It was a nationwide craze for over a decade, and Rock Island played a small part in it.  Our postcard today is captioned “Marathon Dance Contest, Palace Amusement Center, Rock Island.”  It was one of many postcards, most originating before 1920, that Robert Schroeder inherited from his grandmother, Mrs. Emma … [ Continued