Spencer Square – Part I

2nd – 3rd Avenues; 19th -20th Streets The tale of Spencer Square is one that has a beginning, a middle, and, sadly, there’s also an end.  But it’s a long enough story – and there are enough postcards scenes of it – to tell the story in different parts.  The full block it occupied in … [ Continued

Black Hawk Watch Tower Amusement Park

Black Hawk Road near 17th Street Here is a peek at Rock Island’s own homegrown amusement park.  Like Chicago’s Riverview, New York’s Coney Island, and the much later Disneyland, the Watch Tower amusement park was a destination for people from near and far in the early 1900s.  It was located in an area that we … [ Continued

Garnsey Square

5th – 6th Streets & 3rd – 4th Avenues  We think of Rock Island as a city of parks, especially large rambling parks.  But a century ago, parks and public spaces tended to be much smaller and more formal. This postcard, from around 1910, depicts such a park in its heyday.  It is Garnsey Square, … [ Continued

Spencer Square, Part 2

2nd -3rd Avenues; 19th -20th Streets An earlier article told the first half of the story of Spencer Square in downtown Rock Island — how the square block between 19th and 20th Streets and Second and Third Avenues was given to the city for public use, and how it was converted from a weedy swamp … [ Continued

Lincoln Park – Denkmann Memorial Pool

Near 40th Street & 11th Avenue This postcard, which dates from about 1960, isn’t as old as many in this series of articles, but it’s one with an interesting story.  Identified only as “Lincoln Park,” it really shows the Denkmann Memorial Pool House within that park.  This is from the personal collection of preservationist Shannon … [ Continued

Long View Park – Stag Hill

Long View Park – it was originally spelled with two words – was probably the most “postcarded” place in Rock Island, with Spencer Square running a close second.   You probably have seen many of the Long View postcards, but you might be surprised by this rare one.  It shows the heavily antlered deer statue that … [ Continued

Long View Park Lower Lake

17th Street at 13th Avenue  The Augustana College Library holds many treasures.  Among the postcards in their Special Collections are these two Real Photo shots of the lower lagoon – or lake as it was known then — at Rock Island’s Long View (later Longview) Park.   The park developed on what had been Bailey Davenport’s … [ Continued

Black Hawk Watch Tower Inns

For decades, Watch Tower Park was a destination for folks all over the Quad Cities.  In 1891 when several local railways merged to form the Tri City Railway, the formerly quiet landscape was soon transformed into a busy amusement park.  Expanding this attraction was a shrewd business decision and the hundreds of passengers who paid … [ Continued