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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.

  • This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.Joshua, you remember, marched his troops around Jericho seven times, and that was that. The walls came a tumbling down.…
  • This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.If you are over sixty, you no doubt still remember those first few lines of Longfellow's "Hiawatha" you had to memorize…
  • This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.Many of the Mississippi Valley's finest young men answered the draft call during World War II, but only one, so far as…
  • This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.Early in August of 1927, newspapers in the Rock Island area began tracking the flight of The Spirit of St. Louis as it…
  • This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.Phoebe Omlie of Memphis, Tennessee had not gotten to be a highly respected aviatrix before she was twenty-five by doing…
  • This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.Given the odds, young Clayton Folkerts should not even have been alive by the time he arrived in Bettendorf, Iowa, in…
  • This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.By all signs, Don Luscombe was a successful young businessman on his way up. He lived in a large white house on the…
  • This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.Andy Warhol, the pop artist who painted those Campbell’s soup cans, once claimed that everyone on earth has fifteen…
  • This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.The exact location of the house that Jack built has never been found, but the house that Tom built has been sitting…
  • This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.If you enjoy solving puzzles or tracking down obscure clues, here's one that could put you in the history books.Was the…