Historic Rock Island Neighborhood Celebrates 25th Anniversary

September  26, 2013

Twenty-five years ago, a group of Rock Island residents decided to improve their neighborhood and make it a central attraction. This weekend, members of the Broadway Historic District will celebrate their resounding success.

Diane Oestreich served on the very first committee set up to create the district. She says Rock Island residents, Karen Williams and her mother, spearheaded the effort to form the organization and teach people about the historic nature of their homes. "We had problems with high density because it was zoned for high density. We really wanted to increase awareness about it. Our goal was really to increase awareness about it. It's an undiscovered jewel, so to speak. The city was emphasizing new construction and talking a lot about new buildings.  And we wanted to show it could be one of the best parts of town."

When the Broadway group celebrated its first ten years, Oestreich says it also celebrated approval of the neighborhood to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. She says one of the things that's changed since 1988 is people are attracted to the historic district and want to live there.

The Rock Island Broadway Historic District will host a 25th anniversary celebration on Saturday, from noon until 5:00 p.m. Twenty-second Street will be closed between 7th and 9th avenues. A "great unveiling" will be demonstrated. Volunteers will help a neighbor remove aluminum or vinyl siding to find out what it's been covering for years. (This video includes more photos of the process.) Walking tours and many other activities are also on the schedule. And information is at Broadway District.  In addition, long-time resident of the neighborhood, Don Wooten, will speak during a short presentation at 12:50 pm, at the Karpeles Museum.