100 Facts About the Quad Cities You May Or May Not Have Known
The longer I love in the Quad Cities, the more if ind out about this historic place. I am such a fan of the QC and very proud to live here. Who would have thought there was so much neat stuff that has happened hear over the years! If I missed anything... feel free to comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Between Davenport and Rock Island is Arsenal Island, which houses the Rock Island Arsenal, the largest government-owned weapons manufacturer in the entire United States.
3. The notorious lawyer-turned-gangster John Looney’s huge mansion in Rock Island still stands to this day on 17th Avenue.
4. The book “Road to Perdition” and the movie of the same name are based on John Looney’s life.
5. Ronald Reagan began his radio career at WOC in Davenport.
6. Walt Disney applied for his first job in Davenport… and was turned down.
7. Cooking school students get to have it all in Illinois. If you’re under 21 you can drink legally if you’re involved in a culinary program.
8. In the Illinois cities of the Quad Cities, you can be charged with a felony for eavesdropping—if that isn’t weird enough, there’s more. The crime is eavesdropping on your own conversation.
9. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried the unique Quad City-style pizza. With spicy tomato sauce, the toppings under the cheese, and a nutty-flavored crust, just try to have one strip—yes, it comes in strips, not slices.
10. Don’t even try ice skating on Moline’s Riverside pond in June or August—as if that’s even possible—because it is prohibited.
11. Davenport’s Figge Art Museum has some of the country’s best and largest collections of Midwestern, Colonial Mexican, and Haitian works of art, with pieces by Grant Wood, famous for his “American Gothic.”
12. You know those fun fuzzy dice you like to hang from your rearview mirror? While Iowa’s Quad Cities contingent can let them fly, they’re not allowed in Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline.
13. Every year the PGA Tour stops in the Quad Cities for the John Deere Classic. So major golf names such as Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh have played a round in the area.
14. Ever tried sweet potato beer? It’s just one of the delicious concoctions brewed up by local Quad Cities breweries, Front Street Brewery in Davenport, Blue Cat Brewpub in Rock Island, and Bent River Brewing Company in Moline, which is famous for that potato pint.
15. You’ve never seen a bridge quite like the Davenport Skybridge. It’s a pedestrian cable bridge fully equipped with kaleidoscope lighting that really stands out against the night sky.
16. You can thank Quad Cities for all of your John Deere equipment, because Moline is home to the John Deere World Headquarters as well as the John Deere Pavilion, a museum dedicated to the company’s history.
17. The Quad City Symphony Orchestra has been operating since 1916, and the area’s Handel Oratorio Society dates back to 1880, making it one of the first of its kind in the whole country. Not to be outdone, Augustana College’s Augustana Choir is one of the leading college choirs in the United States.
18. In Davenport and Bettendorf, bar or restaurant owners that can legally sell alcohol are prohibited from drinking any alcohol in that establishment after it’s closed.
19. The Drake Hotel in Chicago may have the big name, but the Adler Theatre in Davenport was beautifully designed by the same talented man. The theatre hosts both the symphony and the ballet, and it showcases several Broadway-touring plays throughout the year.
20. The twin towers of the Interstate 74 Bridge represent the two states of the Quad Cities
21. Hollywood stars Laura Flynn Boyle and Mary Beth Peil are both from Davenport.
22. Looks like you should carpool when in the Quad Cities. There is a ban on unnecessary repetitive driving, but only on 23rd Avenue.
23. Representing the five cities, there are five arches along the Rock Island Centennial Bridge, built to celebrate Rock Island’s 100th birthday in 1940.
24. Quad Cities locals are seriously talented in the arts. Jazz legend Bix Beiderbecke and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and theatre pioneer Susan Glaspell were both born in the Quad Cities.
25. The Quad Cities is a popular place for short film shoots, and they often win major awards. These award-winners include several shorts by students of Augustana College, such as “The Yuppie,” “The Real World,” and “Norma Jean,” which earned nods from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
26. Bettendorf liquor stores are prohibited from placing beer advertisements outside of their establishments.
27. Take that, Hoover. Quad Cities’ Lock and Dam No. 15 is the longest roller dam in existence, and it stretches between Arsenal Island and Davenport.
28. Make sure you’re always carrying a few bucks in Illinois; you can be arrested for vagrancy if you don’t have at least one dollar bill on your person.
29. The Rock Island Auction Company might look familiar. It was featured on the Discovery Channel show “Ready, Aim, Shoot.”
30. The Putnam Museum in Davenport isn’t just a world-class museum of history and natural science, it also has the biggest movie screen in the entire state at a whopping 57 by 70 feet.
31. Modern Woodmen Park isn’t just the home of the Quad Cities Bandits, it’s practically a carnival unto itself. It was named by “USA Today” as one of the top 10 ballparks to take a baseball pilgrimage, and that’s probably because it has a zip line, rock climbing wall, bounce house, and a 110-foot Ferris wheel inside.
32. Davenport is the birthplace of Chiropractic. B.J. Palmer, founder of Chiropractics, performed the first spinal adjustment on September 10, 1895.
33. Abraham Lincoln and the Rock Island Bridge case.
34. Happy Joe’s invented the magnificent Taco Pizza!
35. Hero St U.S.A in Silvis ,Ill, the only street in the USA that has sent more men to serve in the Armed Forces then any other street.
36. B100 has been around for nearly 15 years and has been the Quad Cities Number 1 Hit music Station since!
37. The QC throws live concerts in barns
38. The Quad City DJs are not from here
39. Loose Meat Capital
40. Modern Woodman is one of the oldest ballparks
41. Until 1960, it cost pedestrians 5 cents to walk across the Centennial Bridge. The toll for cars crossing the bridge ended in 2003.
42. One of the favorite phrases of greeting in Davenport is “Welcome to the Bix!” a reference to famous jazz legend Bix Beiderbecke – his 1925 song “Davenport Blues” was recorded … in Richmond Indiana!
43. John Deere is the SECOND largest employer in the Quad Cities….Rock Island Arsenal is #1.
44. The original Davenport city plot was at the corner of Ripley and 5th St. where Antoine LeClaire built his house.
45. Davenport gets an average of 30 inches of snow each winter. Did I hear someone say "that's enough!"
46. Whiteys Ice Cream started in Moline in 1933 but it wasn't until 1988 when the Davenport area got it's first Whiteys shop, in Bettendorf - well worth the wait!
47. Famous athletes born in Davenport include NFL running back Roger Craig, NFL offensive lineman Julian Vandervelde, and Wretler Seth Rollins.
48. In August 1805, Zebulon Pike was the first US Representative to officially visit the Davenport area, He later went on to discover Pike's Peak in Colorado, because we don't have any mountains in Iowa.
49. The winner of American Idol last year is from Here
50. Singer Julia Michaels is from Davenport
51. Will Ferrell loves it here, and has shot multiple Old Milwaukee Commercials here
52. Major General John Buford, of Rock Island, directed the opening artillery fire at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.
53. The Quad City Symphony, founded in 1916, is among the oldest symphonies in the United States.
54. During the Civil War, more than 12,000 Confederate soldiers were housed at a prison camp on Arsenal Island. Two thousand are now buried at the Confederate Cemetery on the island.
55. During the Civil War, several soldiers’ training camps were established in Davenport, including Camp McClellan in the Village of East Davenport.
56. The Quad Cities was the site of the western-most battle of the Revolutionary War, fought in 1780.
57. Mercer County, just south of Rock Island County, was named after General Hugh Mercer, a Revolutionary War hero.
58. Colonel George Davenport built his home on Arsenal Island in 1833 after establishing a log cabin trading post on the island in 1816. The house is now restored and open to the public for narrated tours.
59. Abraham Lincoln served in the Quad Cities as a captain participating in the Black Hawk War. He also returned to the Quad Cities as a lawyer to defend the railroad against the steamboat companies. A hearing was held when the Effie Afton steamboat rammed the railroad bridge in protest of the incoming railroad companies and the competition they were bringing to the area. The Effie Afton burned and was destroyed upon collision with the bridge.
60. Over 100 festivals are held in the Quad Cities each year. Over a one year period, that averages out to more than 8 events per month.
61. The Quad Cities was ranked No. 1 nationally by Golf Digest for affordability and easy access among cities with populations between 250,000 and 1 million.
62. The Quad Cities was the site of the first railroad bridge to cross the Mississippi River. It opened in 1856.
63. Quarters 1, the commanding general’s home at the Rock Island Arsenal, is the second largest single family dwelling owned by the federal government. Only the White House is larger.
64. Vermont born blacksmith, John Deere, began making his self- scouringsteel plows in Moline in 1847. He was soon producing 1,000 plows annually.
65. In 1934, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the Lock and Dam between Davenport and Rock Island. The Roller Dam in this area is the largest of its kind in the entire world.
66. Antoine LeClaire founded Davenport in 1836, naming it after his good friend, Colonel George Davenport. LeClaire’s 1850’s mansion is located on Davenport’s East 7th Street and is being restored.
67. In the parlor of the Palmer mansion sits what may be the world’s largest ivory chess set. The playboard is approximately six feet across, the chess pieces nearly a foot tall. On top of the case that houses the chess set is a gold leaf hen with inlaid jewels.
68. Annie Whittenmeyer tended wounded soldiers during the Civil War and convinced Army officials to turn over the old Camp Kingsman in Davenport for use as a home for soldiers’ orphans. The former camp survives as the Annie Whittenmeyer Center.
69. In 1910, the U.S. Census declared that Davenport was the second richest city in America based on per capita wealth.
70. One of the largest pipe organs in the Quad Cities sits in the Palmer Mansion on the campus of Palmer College of Chiropractics. B.J. Palmer purchased the organ for $75,000 in 1922.
71. The worldwide headquarters of Deere & Co. was completed in 1964 and designed by world renowned architect Eero Saarinen, the designer of the St. Louis Arch.
72. By 1888, as many as 3 dozen passenger trains came in and out of Rock Island per day.
73. Bandits murdered Colonel George Davenport in his home on Rock Island on July 4, 1845, while his family celebrated Independence Day. They were later caught and hanged.
74. Lock and Dam 15, between Davenport and Rock Island, was the first Lock and Dam built on the Mississippi River.
75. With 10 different makes of automobiles being manufactured in the early 1900’s, the Quad Cities was known as “Little Detroit”.
76. Augustana College was founded in 1860 as a school for Lutheran ministers.
77. The city of Bettendorf was originally named Gilbert. Residents changed the name in honor of brothers William and Joseph Bettendorf who moved their manufacturing business there in 1902.
78. Credit Island Park in Davenport originally served as a fur trading post for the American Fur Company. The company let the Indians trade on credit.
79. Legend has it, the Great Indian Spirit of Waters was so taken by the beauty of the Quad Cities that she stopped briefly to admire the area, allowing the river to run east-west instead of north-south.
80. The 1910 Velie automobile, made in Moline, cost $1,800.
81. Davenport B. Sears came to the area in 1836 and built a mill made of stone and brush. It was the first of many mills that gave Moline its French name meaning “city of mills”.
82. Buffalo Bill Cody was born in a farmhouse in LeClaire, Iowa.
83. John W. Spencer was an early pioneer in the Rock Island area, arriving in 1828. Spencer Square was dedicated to him in 1890. The land was sold in 1954 and now holds the U.S. Post Office and Federal Building. His second house was located on 16th Avenue and 19th Street.
84. Fort Armstrong was constructed about 1816 and burned in 1855.
85. Francis J. Dickens, the third son of British novelist Charles Dickens, was buried in Riverside Cemetery, Moline, a short distance from the Deere family plots, after a sudden illness that was believed to have been brought on by drinking either tainted ice water or a stronger drink.
86. Mattie Poole was one of Moline's first female shop owners when she opened her art store and china-painting studio in the 1880s.
87. When Moline's City Hospital was dedicated in 1896, it had one matron, two nurses and two student nurses, and served three patients on its first day.
88. Moline's first streetcars were horsedrawn, but with the introduction of electricity in the 1880s, the city's transportation quickly became ''electrified.''
Moline's first electric streetcars to carry passengers up ''the hill'' were among the earliest in the nation to negotiate such steep inclines.
On Sept. 26, 1892, an electric streetcar caught fire because of an overload of electric current needed to pull the car up Moline's 15th Street hill. Service was not interrupted in spite of the mishap.
89. Area Native Americans called Col. George Davenport "Saganosh,'' which means Englishman.
90. Moline's first hotel, the Moline House, was built in 1843 near 1st Avenue and 17th Street.
91. First Lutheran Church, Moline, the first Swedish Lutheran church in the Tri-Cities, was founded in 1859 in the home of the area's second Swedish settler, Carl Johnason.
92. Moline's first public library opened in January 1873, sharing quarters with the post office.
93. For two days, First National Bank of Davenport was the nation's only national bank.
94. An ice gorge displaced a span of the railroad bridge across the Mississippi River in the spring of 1868. Shortly afterward, a tornado pushed the swing span of this first bridge across the Mississippi into the water.
95. On August 28, 1929, the famed Graf Zeppelin made a special low-flying trip over Davenport as a salute to the city's large German population.
96. From the early days, Quad-Citians were avid baseball fans, and a great number of leagues and teams came and went over the years. Davenport was a member of the Northwestern League, the first professional league in the Midwest, as early as 1879.
97. Many Italian prisoners of war were interned in the Quad-Cities during World War II. They were given a relative measure of freedom and even were assigned various tasks at Rock Island Arsenal.
98. Shortly after the great warrior Black Hawk's burial, his body was removed from the grave, and his flesh was boiled from the bones in a soapmaking kettle. According to legend, a Dr. Turner and Warren and Jefferson Cox committed this offense and planned to exhibit the skeleton, but the uproar over the grave robbery was so great that this was never done.
99. In 1872, the old wooden bridge connecting Davenport and Arsenal Island was replaced by a new Whipple truss bridge near the downstream tip of the island. The double-deck bridge (trains above, wagons below) included a lift span that could be raised by steam power to let steamboats pass. Total cost was just las than $1 million.
100.Cigar manufacturing was the major industry to employ women workers at the turn-of-the-century in Davenport.