Rock Island boasts a rich history. Take a walk through many neighborhoods to learn about the architecture, the local legends, and the history. A sampling of the tours are listed below. For a complete list of available tour brochures, click here.
You're invited to explore the rich architectural history of the Augustana College campus, and the neighborhood buildings that share in the college's heritage. This walking tour includes some of the most historic structures in Rock Island including two buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Discover the history behind the design of the campus icon Old Main and the significance House on the Hill has to the largest wood products company in the world.
This walk covers a six-block area in the core of Rock Island's downtown and features 37 structures. Rock Island's downtown is the most walkable in the Quad Cities and many of the historical buildings remain in tact. See the architectural details that make this downtown unique. Notable office buildings, banks, and retail establishments are featured. Six historically designated structures are included on this tour. Don't miss the terra cotta, the cornices and most importantly remember to look up.
Highland Park Historic District
The ambience of the neighborhood is absolutely remarkable. Highland Park gains its special ambience from outstanding architecture and the beauty of original brick streets. Collectively, Highland Park homes make up one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Rock Island. Individually, each home is an architectural gem. The highest style architectural revivals of the late 19th and early 20th century are present. Most of these homes were architect designed and have a great deal of original integrity.
KeyStone history is tied to the utopian dream of developer E.H. Guyer, who wanted a healthy residential area mid-way between Rock Island and Moline. Although Guyer’s “KeyStone District” was never realized, many ordinary citizens eventually built here looking for what Guyer promised. Most of the major styles prevalent in American architecture from the 1870s to the 1940s exist within the boundaries of KeyStone Neighborhood. Check out the splendid display of the uniquely Midwestern Foursquare homes.
John Looney Legend
The Road to Perdition novels and movie have made the characters and exploits of John Rooney and Michael Sullivan well known. What you might not know is the inspiration for John Rooney came from a true Rock Island gangster, John P. Looney. This is the story of John Patrick Looney, the leader of vice, gambling, prostitution and murder in Rock Island in the early 1900s, as told through our buildings and sites. This tour touches on 19 sites and buildings affiliated with John Looney, including his stone mansion and the buildings that housed his notorious scandal sheet, The Rock Island News.
Stroll these Sidewalks
Drive to 14 distinctive Rock Island neighborhoods, ranging from 700 buildings to just seven. Visit the "painted ladies" of the Victorian period in the Broadway neighborhood, and then move to the minimalist cottages of World War II in Westlawn and Stadium Drive. Neighborhoods of the twentieth century are prominently featured.