News about the Quad Cities and surrounding region.

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

Safe in the Vatican, Pope Leo the Thirteenth was probably not aware in the spring of 1887 that a stack of lumber in front of the W. J. Young Lumber Company in Clinton, Iowa, was about to cause him some grief. That lumber was the first domino in a chain of bigotry that got out of hand.

The Cities - Pgm #1105

Dec 26, 2020


Dec 25, 2020

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

By 1850, fifteen years after their founding, the three small villages around Rock Island were on their way to becoming frontier Edens—if not spiritually in the Genesis sense, then certainly within the framework of the American Dream. For Davenport, Rock Island, and Moline, waterpower was plentiful to make goods, and the Mississippi was there to ship the goods via the Ohio to eastern markets. The supply of labor exactly matched the demand, due to the stream of families moving west toward the farmlands of Iowa and Minnesota. If there was work, some of the westward movers stayed; if there was none, they kept moving west.

Water Power

Dec 24, 2020

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

Remember that Weekly Reader joke: "what does a fifteen-hundred-pound gorilla eat? Answer: "Anything it wants." Substitute a 2,500-mile river for the gorilla, and you'll have some idea of the awe in which we valley dwellers hold the Mississippi.

The Bug Man

Dec 23, 2020

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

Of at least one Rock Islander, Benjamin Dann Walsh, it can truly be said that there was some good news and some bad news. The good news was that early on the morning of November 12, 1869, as he was collecting bugs along the Chicago and Rock Island railroad tracks near 34th Street in Rock Island, a Chicago bound train ran over his left leg.

Valley of Dreams

Dec 22, 2020

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

Less than a hundred miles north of this island lies a cornfield made popular by the movie Field of Dreams. It's not alone. Travel a hundred miles in any direction up or down the Mississippi Valley, and you will find the remains of dreams—of Edens and Utopias—wherever you go. As if the Mississippi itself were a magnet drawing dreamers to its banks.

Edward Spencer

Dec 21, 2020

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

Even today, Easterners view the Midwest as far better ground in which to plant corn than culture. They would almost certainly have held out little hope that Edward Spencer would make something of himself in this world. Edward was the first child born in Stephenson—the town that later became Rock Island.

The Cities - Pgm #1104

Dec 19, 2020

Columbia Park

Dec 18, 2020

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

Think of Chicago as our Philistine giant, Goliath, and all the small Illinois villages and towns as so many Davids, each hoping it might have a change to sling a stone in just the right place. That kind of thinking led the cities of Rock Island and Moline to one of their rare moments of cooperation. Two Davids, they reasoned, might have a chance.


Continuing a tradition that started 70 years ago, workers at the Arconic plant will pack Christmas food baskets for needy local families. Thursday afternoon they'll prepare about 600, for families nominated by employees and selected by an employee committee.