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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.When Henry R. Schoolcraft found the lake that was the source of the Mississippi River, it already had two names. The…
  • This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.Henry R. Schoolcraft's discovery of the source of the Mississippi River at Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota was…
  • This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.Who would think that discovering the source of a river would be anything more than a simple trip? Get in a boat, point…
  • This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.In 1927, Juan Pompa and his wife, Jesus Maria, and their three children moved to Silvis, Illinois, just upstream from…
  • This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.Each February or March, when the ice goes out, the Upper Mississippi begins spring housecleaning, washing out last…
  • This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.Those of you whose hobbies have gotten out of hand—spilling over from the living room to the basement and then to the…
  • This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.During the decade of the 1840s, the Reverend George Washington Gale of Galesburg learned a lesson the hard way—too…
  • This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.The arrival of Capt. Stanhope Blunt as the commandant of the Rock Island Arsenal on March 7th, 1897, raised hopes for…
  • This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.Nearly every small town up and down the Mississippi Valley makes Herculean efforts to distinguish itself from all the…
  • This Roald Tweet on Rock Island.When the brand new ten-story Kahl Building opened at the corner of West Third and Ripley streets in Davenport late in…