Rock Island Lines

Monday thru Friday 11 AM

A series of award-winning stories about our region's traditions, institutions, and people, past and present. Rock Island Lines is written and read by Roald Tweet, Professor Emeritus of English at Augustana College.

The stories in these three-minute modules are rooted in a specific place; a "kidney-shaped limestone island plunked down in the middle of the Mississippi River." It's the logical site for a storyteller. It is from the rich heritage of our region that Tweet spins his histories, biographies, and "stretchers."

Roald has spent much of his life travelling up and down the river, with forays overland, east and west, talking to the people, reading their journals, and enjoying the humor and history of America's heartland. His observations about life around Rock Island strike responsive chords across the region. It's a viewpoint that will enrich and enliven your day.

Listen below or subscribe on iTunes or RSS. 

Sponsored by
Quad City Bank & Trust

Robert E. Lee

2 minutes ago

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

George Washington never slept here. You can't visit Rock Island and sleep in the same bed for an extra nine dollars a night the way you can up and down the east coast. You'll just have to settle for Robert E. Lee.

Great Wall of Moline

Oct 22, 2020

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.