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.

Sponsored by
Quad City Bank & Trust

Poppy Mallow

23 hours ago

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

Rock Island Lines is permitted two commercials a year. This is one of them.

Hansen's Hardware

Aug 11, 2020

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

Once upon a time near Rock Island, there was a hardware store that did not take American Express. It didn’t take Visa or Mastercard, either. It took cash. And what it did with cash is an amazing story.

The Front Porch

Aug 10, 2020

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

Everywhere along our valley, the front porch is an endangered species. The new suburban homes in the better developments rippling out across the countryside festoon themselves with postage stamp patios and multi-level decks, but never a front porch. In the older neighborhoods, one by one, the front porches are being remodeled into extra rooms or ripped off to be replaced by anemic front stoops.

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.