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Roald Tweet

Writer and Narrator of 'Rock Island Lines'

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

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

Dr. Tweet was 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 was also an accomplished woodcarver and whittler.

Dr. Tweet left us in November of 2020, but his legacy lives on. You can hear many of his Rock Island Lines in podcast form here and also in a forthcoming book from WVIK and East Hall Press.

  • Community
    This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.Turkeys are silly birds. The difference in intelligence between a live turkey and that upside-down one on your…
  • Community
    This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.Before you finalize plans to vacation in Minnesota this summer, be forewarned by Wesley.I never did catch his last…
  • Community
    This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.I don't mean to disparage Moses and Joshua. One parted the Red Sea and the other brought the walls of Jericho down, but…
  • Community
    This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.Over the years, businesses have been attracted to the Rock Island area for the usual reasons. Some sprang up, home…
  • Community
    This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.The Native Americans who lived along the Upper Mississippi Valley in the early 19th century would have been surprised…
  • Community
    This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.Now that environmentalists have made us aware of the interconnectedness of all life, it's possible to understand why…
  • Community
    This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.Ministers who have run out of sermon material would do well to take the Great River Road down to Mark Twain's hometown…
  • Community
    This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn were both good at telling fibs, or "stretchers," as Huck called them, but they didn't hold a…
  • Community
    This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.When I tell you about Bud Flowers and his family of Hannibal, Missouri, you'll see why they never could have made it…
  • Community
    This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.A while back, I told you about Ellen Cook who astounded Davenport's upper crust in 1882 by moving out of her mansion on…