Roald Tweet

Writer and Narrator of 'Rock Island Lines'

Since 1995, historian and folklorist Dr. Roald Tweet has spun his stories of the Mississippi Valley to a devoted audience on WVIK. Dr. Tweet has published three books as well as numerous literary articles and recored segments of "Rock Island Lines." His inspiration is a "kidney-shaped limestone island plunked down in the middle of the Mississippi River," a logical site for a storyteller like Dr. Tweet.

It is from Rock Island’s rich heritage that Dr. Tweet spins his histories, biographies and "stretchers." Among his favorite topics are railroads and riverboats, which he combines on a CD in celebration of the Grand Excursion 2004. "Rock Island Lines with Roald Tweet" has received awards from the Illinois Historical Society as well as the Towner Award from the Illinois Humanities Council.

Dr. Tweet is professor emeritus, retired from the Augustana College English department, where he was professor and Conrad Bergendoff Chair in the Humanities. A writer and radio personality, Dr. Tweet is also an accomplished woodcarver and whittler.

Great Wall of Moline

3 hours ago

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

Folks around Rock Island don't take much stock in the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. None of those wonders did any work. The pyramids in Egypt and the Colossus of Rhodes merely took up space.

Child of Light

Oct 21, 2020

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

Cindy Weretheman lived near Rock Island for almost twenty-four years. For the last four of those years, she taught me something about light.


Oct 20, 2020

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

Consider this an advanced warning should you decide to invite a Rock Islander into your home for dinner. Like most Midwesterners, we inhabitants of the Upper Mississippi Valley speak a dialect that may need translating.

Anna V. Larson

Oct 19, 2020

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

Several months ago, I went to Anna V. Larson's funeral at St. John's Lutheran Church in Rock Island. It was one of those passings that people call "a blessing." Anna was well up in her eighties and for the last ten years or so had lived in excruciating pain from a pinched nerve. She needed a walker to shuffle even small distances. One or two Sundays a year, she actually skipped church.


Oct 16, 2020

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

Just as Adam named all the flora and fauna in the Garden of Eden, so we Rock Islanders give names to the landscape around us in order to show our control—our dominion. Valleys have names, as do the bluffs. Even the smallest ponds and creeks have names. And of course, every human construct has a name, too: 38th St., the Kahl Building.

The Rock Island Argus

Oct 15, 2020

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

Newspaper editors are almost as apt as other folks to change their minds when a better idea comes along. Here's a local example.

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

On May 10, 1823, at about noon, a small sternwheel steamboat drew within sight of Fort Armstrong at the western tip of Rock Island. She was greeted by a welcome salute cannon from the fort and musket fire from the Sauk and Meskwaki Indians along the shore.

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

A while back I told you about a local professor whose grand imagination represents the pinnacle of professor-dom. I'm afraid I can't tell you his name. A major university would certainly snatch him away from our small local college.

Volunteer Capitol

Oct 12, 2020

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

Fourteen miles upstream from Rock Island at the head of the Rock Island Rapids, sits the small town of LeClaire, Iowa, home of several restaurants and gas stations. Its claim to fame is that Buffalo Bill lived here briefly as a child.