Business & Commercial



Safety Building

18th Street & Third Avenue  The big power pole in the foreground and the absence of street signs, are the only clues that this is a vintage depiction of the Safety Building at on 3rd Avenue at 18th Street.   The sepia-toned postcard was printed in Germany and was mailed in 1910, only two years after … [ Continued



Rock Island House (Ann Goldman Building)

17th Street & Second Avenue  This Real Photo postcard from Shannon Hall’s collection is postmarked 1914 and captioned “Opening of the 1600 block, Rock Island, Illinois.”  The prominent “R I House” sign atop the building at the left reveals that the camera is looking west on Second Avenue with the Rock Island House hotel and … [ Continued



Rock Island Lines Depot

3031 Fifth Avenue It took nearly fifty years for Rock Island to get a passenger depot worthy of the city’s status as the founding home of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad.  As late as 1900, when the eastbound freight switchyards of the Rock Island Line, as the railroad was commonly called, were moved … [ Continued



Circus Day – Second Avenue

Second Avenue W from 18th Street Oh, the excitement!  On Rock Island’s normally staid downtown streets, where men wore suits and a woman was never seen without a hat, there were lions and tigers and bears…..and elephants.  The circus was in town!  As early as 1857, the Spaulding & Rogers circus arrived on nine cars … [ Continued



J. E. Janes’ Restaurant

1810 Second Avenue If the holidays find you in charge of providing a nice meal for many unacquainted people, take a tip from the Janes family.  In their restaurant, shown on this unused postcard from Shannon Hall, they managed to create cozy and private dining settings at long group tables in a crowded space.   The … [ Continued



Sawmill Fire

26th Street near Mississippi River The special midnight edition of The Argus headlined, “Worst Fire in City’s History Involves Loss of Over $500,000.”  The aftermath of that fire is shown on today’s Real Photo postcard from the Special Collections at Augustana College.   On the reverse, the sender wrote that the fire was a “couple of … [ Continued



Gustafson & Hayes

1714-16 Second Avenue Of course you have seen these buildings in downtown Rock Island. You can easily find them.  You don’t even need to look up their locations in early 1900s City Directories.  You even realize they won’t look exactly the same today.  Not only can you expect to see today’s new businesses, but the … [ Continued



Harms Hotel Tap Room

18th Street at First Avenue  Before we explain our postcard today, we must tell you a bit about Rock Island’s Hotel Harms. In the near future we will give the hotel that opened in 1902 and once stood on the southwest corner of 18th Street and First Avenue a column all its own. The hotel … [ Continued