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Former R.I. Bank Will Not Be a Landmark


A vacant downtown building in Rock Island could soon be demolished. Monday night, the city council rejected historic landmark status for the First National Bank at 17th Street and Second Avenue. The owner, Modern Woodmen, had appealed 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. 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 said if the building became a landmark, it would 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.