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Landmark Designation for Former Bank Appealed


The fate of a vacant downtown building could be decided Monday night by the Rock Island city council. The owner of the First National Bank at 17th Street and 2nd Avenue, Modern Woodmen, is appealing an attempt by the Rock Island Preservation Society to have it declared a landmark.

Preservation Society member Diane Oestrich says the the 58 year old building should be saved because it has historic value.

"This is a bank that goes back over 100 years, not as First National but it was a continuous entity in that neighborhood. It started with two guys coming up from Kentucky with money to start a bank, and continued until, I believe the 90's, then it was sold."

It also has architectural value because the local firm that designed it, in what's called the "international style," was emulating the internationally-known architect, Mies van der Rohe, who designed many buildings in Chicago and other cities.

Modern Woodmen used it for its bank, starting in 2003, but closed it in 2018 when it decided to leave banking and focus on its core business, insurance. And it says if the building becomes a landmark, it will just board it up and let it sit vacant. 

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.