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.

Higher Education

The city is home to Augustana College, a small liberal arts college.


Total Population 38,946
Male Share of the Population 47.2%
Female Share of the Population 52.8%
Senior Citizens 15.6%
Employed Population 16+ 17,430
Age of the Population 35


% of people married 40.8%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 22.3%
Median Earnings25+ $31,401
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $22,292
Median Earnings With High School Degree $23,211


Median Family Income $54,021
% Above Poverty Level 77.4%
% Below Poverty Level 22.6%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 17 minutes
% Working from Home 4.5%
% Walking and Biking to Work 6.1%
% Using Public Transportation 2.4%


People Living Alone 36.3%
Median Gross Rent $707
Median House Value $97,400


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 32.8%
US/American 0%
English 6.9%
Irish 13.8%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Rock Island Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 1 miles S of Davenport, Iowa (center to center)
Nearest Large City 153 miles W of Chicago, Illinois
County Rock Island
Metro Area Davenport - Moline - Rock Island
Standard Zip Codes 61201
P.O. Box Zip Codes 61204
Company Zip Codes 61299
Phone Area Codes 309
Time Zone Central (-6 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 41.509
Longitude -90.578

Rock Island Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Station ROCK ISLAND L&D 15
Distance 0.8 miles
Jan Temp 13 to 30 F
Apr Temp 41 to 61 F
Jul Temp 68 to 85 F
Oct Temp 45 to 65 F
Annual Precip 35.1 inches
Distance 4.4 miles
Jan Temp 12 to 30 F
Apr Temp 39 to 62 F
Jul Temp 65 to 86 F
Oct Temp 42 to 64 F
Annual Precip 38 inches
Station LE CLAIRE L & D 14
Distance 10.1 miles
Jan Temp 13 to 29 F
Apr Temp 41 to 60 F
Jul Temp 67 to 85 F
Oct Temp 45 to 64 F
Annual Precip 34.1 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Coal Valley 3,784 $81,042
East Moline 21,422 $53,943

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Rock Island Public Libraries

Rock Island P.l.
Rock Island, Illinois
(309) 732-7323
Library Web Site

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More Information for Librarians

Rock Island Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Private)
2701 17TH ST
(309) 779-5000
Emergency Service: Yes

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Rock Island High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

1400 25TH AVE
Serves 1,663 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 17.9

2103 5TH AVE
A Special Education School
Serves 115 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 11.9

Rock Island Colleges

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Additional Details
Rock Island Colleges
Rock Island colleges and trade schools.
Study Online in Rock Island
Historic Rock Island


Rock Island c1900.
Additional Resources
Info for Rock Island Government Officials

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