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.

The Sauk Trail

Aug 7, 2020

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

In patches of virgin Illinois woods near Rock Island, one can still find remnants of the Sauk Indian Trail at least two hundred years old. This trail once ran from the nearby Indian village of Saukenuk, across Illinois to the tip of Lake Michigan, and from there north to the English fort at Malden, Canada.

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

The next time you turn on your IBM or Macintosh to e-mail a daughter or figure your income tax, take a moment as the screen warms to say "thank you" to a nameless, not-quite-respectable bar in Rock Island, Illinois, the birthplace of the modern digital computer.

John Brown

Aug 5, 2020

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

Someone once remarked that there is no zeal like a convert's—an apt description of the Germans from Schleswig-Holstein who came to America following the failure of the 1848 Revolution in Europe.


Aug 4, 2020

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

As the winds of change blew down the Mississippi River and through the halls of higher learning in the 1960s, more than a few classrooms around Rock Island began teaching students to be lemons.

Stories and Trains

Aug 3, 2020

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

One of the great teachers of writing in the Rock Island area is no more. Now, would-be writers must sit in other classrooms on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and do their assignments.

The Bettendorf Brothers

Jul 31, 2020

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

Rock Island has its share of "tail-wags-dog" stories. In one of them, the tail became the dog.


Jul 30, 2020

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

For twenty years, Marian Lardner taught kindergarten at Earl Hansen School in the city of Rock Island.

One With Nature

Jul 29, 2020

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

Most of us Rock Islanders go about our business efficiently. We dress, drink our coffee, put in our eight hours, eat, and turn on the television.