Public Buildings

Downtown, Looking Southeast

Once again, thanks are due to Shannon Hall for lending us a most intriguing Real Photo postcard of the buildings and rooftops of downtown Rock Island.  The presence of certain buildings and the absence of others let us date this photograph to about 1909.  The photographer was likely atop the roof of the brand new … [ Continued

Prince Hall Masonic Home (Maple Ridge Apts.)

3720 5th Street  For much of its life, the location of the Prince Hall Masonic Home was simply noted as “foot of 37th Avenue,” an appropriate address for this historic building.  Surprisingly, it still looks much as it does on our “real photo” postcard as it overlooks a scenic view of the Rock River.  Many … [ Continued

First Church of Christ, Scientist (Karpeles Museum)

700 22nd Street This postcard shows a building that doesn’t look like a typical church – no steeple, bell tower or figural stained glass windows – but it is characteristic of Christian Science churches throughout the world.  The first Christian Science Church, the Mother Church, was built in Boston in 1894 and enlarged in 1906 … [ Continued

Central Fire Station

17th Street & 5th Avenue  Until May 19, 1891, Rock Island did not have a paid fire department but rather relied on volunteer companies for fire protection.  Considering that many homes and business still used stoves for heating and gas or kerosene for lighting, it is a wonder that fires were not more frequent and … [ Continued

Fort Armstrong Hotel

1900 Third Avenue The new Fort Armstrong Hotel at the corner of 19th Street and 3rd Avenue received major coverage in the Seventy-fifth Anniversary edition of the Rock Island Argus, on December 31, 1925. “No other factor in recent years has served more to exercise the spirit of community cooperation in Rock Island than the … [ Continued