Public Buildings

Family Theatre (Peter Fries Building)

1903-05 Second Avenue  In 1902, a fine new building went up just across the street from downtown’s beautiful Spencer Square. Located at 1903-05 Second Avenue, it was named for its owner and marked “Peter Fries”in relief copper letters.   Although the name is blacked out on the postcard, it was located in the rectangle between the … [ Continued

Chicago Burlington & Quincy Station

East Side 20th Street at Second Avenue By any standard, this is an impressive building. And what is even more surprising, is that, for a few years, there were two similar stations in downtown Rock Island. The other one, the Chicago, Minneapolis & St. Paul Station, stood at the end of 17th Street near the … [ Continued

South Wind Motel

4300 11th Street What does it take to be a historic building?  According to regulations governing the National Register of Historic Places, the first requirement is a minimum age of fifty years.  By that standard, the South Wind Motel on this postcard now qualifies. Although many names have been used to convey the idea of … [ Continued

Illinois Theatre

1600 Second Avenue Rock Island never lacked culture.  That was demonstrated in 1901 when a plan to build a new theatre that had been promoted by the Rock Island Club and the Argus finally came to fruition with the hiring of George H. Johnston of St. Louis.    But before anything could be built, money had … [ Continued


SW Corner, Third Avenue at 19th Street Postmarked in 1912, this postcard shows the YMCA – Young Men’s Christian Association – building that was located on the southwest corner of 3rd Avenue and 19th Street.  Its style is Richardsonian Romanesque, as were many of Rock Island’s early schools, and it was designed by the same … [ Continued

West End Settlement

427 Seventh Avenue Usually buildings are deemed historic because of their age and architecture.  But sometimes historic status derives from what happened in a building.  This Real Photo postcard lent us by Mary Chappell shows the West End Settlement, a building that is historic on both counts. Thanks to local philanthropist Suzanne Denkmann, well-to-do daughter … [ Continued

St. Anthony’s Hospital

767 30th Street (St. Anthony’s Continuing Care Center)  Doesn’t the building on this postcard look familiar? We’ve all driven up 30th Street and seen St. Anthony’s Hospital – now St. Anthony’s Continuing Care Center.  There have been additions, but we can still see this old building fronting 30th Street. Right?  Wrong!  Although today’s St. Anthony’s … [ Continued

Safety Building

18th Street & Third Avenue  The big power pole in the foreground and the absence of street signs, are the only clues that this is a vintage depiction of the Safety Building at on 3rd Avenue at 18th Street.   The sepia-toned postcard was printed in Germany and was mailed in 1910, only two years after … [ Continued