Introduction to Rock Island, Illinois
Rock Island is located in Rock Island County. It's part of the Quad Cities, which also includes Moline and the Iowa cities, Bettendorf and Davenport. Rock Island Arsenal produces ordnance and weapons parts for the United States Army and is one of the region's major employers. The historic neighborhoods are some of the finest in the Quad Cities.
Fort Armstrong was established as a trading center and military base in Rock Island. Due to its existence, a large number of settlers were attracted to the region which led to the departure of the Sauk and Fox Indian Tribes. The town's growth was primarily attributed to being a prominent destination for riverboats traversing the Mississippi River.
In 1856 the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad constructed a bridge across the river. Due to the arrival of the railroad, numerous industries such as lumber, farm equipment, pottery and railroad supplies were thriving. Impressive homes were constructed in the 1850's for the cities prosperous citizens. During World War I Arsenal Island was a major location for employment.
- Black Hawk Historic Site features the original Saukenuk Indian village
- Longview Park Conservatory and Gardens includes various flower gardens and outdoor ice skating
- Quad City Botanical Center
- The geology museum located at Augustana College features one of the best exhibits of rocks, minerals and fossils in the Midwest
- The Swenson Center, situated in Augustana College provides a vast amount of information on the Swedish immigration to North America.
- Historic structures located downtown
- Quad Cities Arts Center
Activities and Entertainment
The downtown area is the center for arts and entertainment for the Quad Cities. It features over thirty art galleries. Jumer's Casino Rock Island offers gaming opportunities. There are a variety of nightclubs including rock, jazz and dance and a couple of noteworthy comedy clubs. The Quad City Symphony performs its Sunday Series at Augustana College. The Genusius Guild provides dramas during the summer in an open-air theatre located in Lincoln Park.
The Backwaters Gamblers Water Ski Show is a free event. The Downtown Rock Island Arts & Entertainment District offers a variety of festivals including the music festival known as Hornucopia, the noteworthy Erin Feis Irish festival, Gumbo Ya Ya Mardi Gras, Ya Maka My Weekend features reggae music and Jamaican food. The Rock Island Grand Prix is one of the country's largest go-kart street races.
The city is home to Augustana College, a small liberal arts college.