All heads turned as Helen Van Dale, the notorious “Queen of the Looney Underworld,“ walked to the witness stand in the trial of Rock Island’s mayor, police chief, and one of John Looney’s henchmen. The charges included graft, illicit gambling, and alcohol during Prohibition.

On October 6, 1922, hundreds of baseball fans gathered around a scoreboard in the front window of the Argus in downtown Rock Island to follow the third game of the World Series. Halfway through the game, two large black cars pulled to a stop in the middle of the street. Exiting their cars, several men stood in the street to fire guns at two men who returned their fire. The fans scrambled away from the ricocheting bullets in panic. Several men were shot.

Once upon a time … Isabel Scherer enrolled as a student at the Stone City Art Colony in the depths of the Great Depression. The colony, organized by Grant Wood with two partners, offered classes and created a supportive community for artists during the summers of 1932 and 1933.

These are the first words on an historic marker at the Black Hawk Historic Site in Rock Island. "The marker states that La Main Cassee was 'a true friend of the American cause during the Revolutionary War' who confronted a British war party here in 1779. The same marker then commemorates the burning of Saukenuk by the American military in 1780."

William “Willie” Louis Sandoval was struck down by a machine gunner near the end of the Second World War. His death came after having served 151 days on the front line in Italy; after parachuting behind Nazi lines in Northern Europe. He was just 21 years old.

George Davenport traveled with an army expedition in 1816 to establish a frontier military outpost on the Mississippi River. The outpost would be built on a wooded island within several miles of Native American villages. The military estimated that 10,000 people lived these villages.

Agatha Beiderbecke asked a close family friend, Albert Petersen, to listen to her seven-year-old son play the piano. According to the biography Bix, Man and Legend, Petersen could hardly contain his enthusiasm. “Agatha, this boy has something.” He said. “Keep me informed about his progress – and whatever you do, get him some piano lessons.” One might expect a friend – and her cousin’s husband – to be encouraging. But Petersen was also one of Davenport’s leading musicians, bandleaders, and teachers. He also began his career in music at a young age.

Nedde Catich was a young jazz musician when he came to St. Ambrose College (now St. Ambrose University) during the Great Depression. At the time, he was playing trumpet in a jazz band at the Purple Grackle, a roadhouse just over the Cook County line. A respite for Chicago gangsters.

A life-size bronze sculpture, Lincoln with Boy on Bridge, stands in downtown Davenport’s Bechtel Park near the Arsenal Bridge. Abraham Lincoln stands on a railroad track gazing forward; a seated boy looks up to him. Jeff Adams’ sculpture depicts a small moment between events that brought America closer to Civil War.

Eugene Walker Baker was born in Davenport on June 15, 1925. He attended Davenport High School, where he starred in basketball and track for the Blue Devils. In his senior year, he was an all-state basketball player. First team.

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