Local History Highlighted in September at Rock Island Library PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Local Events
Written by Lisa Lockheart   
Friday, 30 August 2013 14:22

Events part of library participation in East West Riverfest, Sept. 6-22, 2013

Rock Island, IL: From a walking tour of Rock Island saints and sinners to a lecture program on how the early brewing industry affected the lives of women, local history is on tap at the Rock Island Library in September. The events are part of the library's partnership with Experience Quad Cities and its second-annual East West Riverfest focus on arts, culture and heritage from Sept. 6-22.  Rock Island Library events are free and open to the public.

Lace up your shoes for a walk among "Reformers and Reprobates." From local reformers such as Miss Ellen Gale and Minnie Potter to the reprobates of the John Looney era, Rock Island history is full of fascinating saints and sinners.

Hear their stories through a downtown walking tour sponsored by the Rock Island Public Library on Thursday, Sept. 12, from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Local historian Jill Doak will lead a tour that encompasses several Looney-era sites, including Bill Gabel's "soft drinks" establishment, Anthony Bilburg's saloon, the Looney and Kelly office building, and the former sites of the Como and Sherman Hotels, as well as the sites of Rock Island reformers, including the Rock Island Argus building,  the Potter House, Dr. DeSilva's home, the YMCA, several historic churches, and of course, the Rock Island Library. The tour meets at 6:00 pm inside the Main Library, 401 19th Street, and then leaves the library to move around the downtown.

Registration is not required, but is appreciated. Walk-ins are welcomed.  Call 309-732-7303 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to sign up, so we know not to leave you behind!

Learn About the WPA in the Quad Cities: The Rock Island Public Library will present Dr. Jeff Hancks from Western Illinois University for a program on The WPA in the Quad Cities on Monday, Sept. 16 at 2:00 pm in the Main Library, 401 19th Street. This free program will meet in the second-floor Community Room and is open to all ages.

The Works Project Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) were federal work relief programs begun under Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. As the largest and most ambitious of the Depression-era agencies, these programs employed millions to carry out construction, parks, and arts projects. Dr. Hancks will speak generally on the various relief projects carried out nationwide during the Great Depression and specifically on projects benefiting the Quad City area, such as the Rock Island Longview Park Greenhouse, Lock & Dam #15, the Moline Municipal Airport and Black Hawk State Park. Rock Island native Jeff Hancks is a special collections librarian at Western Illinois University in Macomb.

Proper Ladies & Painted Women: Women, Work, and Reform in a Wet City: Learn about the rich history of brewing in the Quad Cities, and how that industry affected the lives of local women, with a free lecture program by Augustana College professor Dr. Jane Simonsen on Thursday, Sept. 19 from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. The free program takes place in the Community Room of the Rock Island Main Library, 401 19th Street, and is open to the public.  Dr. Jane Simonsen is an associate professor of history at Augustana College, where she specializes in U.S. women's history, gender studies and Native American studies.

Additional events going on at the Rock Island Library during the East West Riverfest time period include free morning and evening children's storytimes,  three "Smart Start" Saturday storytimes, free Lego block construction times, the "Ripples of Inspiration" art exhibit at the Main Library, adult classes in how to use Email and Microsoft Word, and an eBook demo at the Southwest Branch. For more details about library events, visit the Rock Island Library website at www.rockislandlibrary.org, sign up for an email newsletter, follow the library on Facebook or Twitter, or call 309-732-7323 (READ.)

Free copies of the East West Riverfest guide are also available at all Rock Island Public Libraries. More than 300 events at 60 different community venues are posted on the East West Riverfest website at www.eastwestriverfest.com.


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