About The Quad Cities

Everything (almost) You Wanted To Know About the Quad-Cities
Let's visit the Quad-Cities, which includes Davenport and Bettendorf, on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River, and Rock Island and Moline, on the Illinois side. Some call it the 'Quint-Cities', including East Moline.

There's a lot of history in the Quad-City area, once the home of the Fox and Sauk Indians. Here are a few bits of information for your enlightenment and enjoyment:

  • The Quad-Cities has more than 5000 motel-hotel rooms. Its largest meeting facility offers more than 100,000 square feet of space.
  • Buffalo Bill Cody, famed western scout and buffalo hunter, was born in a farmhouse near LeClaire, Iowa, just outside Bettendorf.
  • Bix Beiderbecke’s piano and cornet may be seen at the Putnam Museum.
  • The German American Heritage Center - 712 W. 2nd St. (at Gaines) - is on the National Register of Historic Places and is Davenport’s newest museum. There are permanent and temporary exhibits, including interactive, audio-visual exhibits.
  • During the Civil War more than 12,000 captured Confederate prisoners were held on Arsenal Island. Many died there, mostly of cholera, pneumonia and other ailments, and are buried in the Confederate Cemetery on the island.
  • The two parallel locks at Lock and Dam 15, between Davenport and Rock Island, hold approximately 25 million gallons of water.
  • The early French explorers came to the Mississippi Valley, believing it was a passage to the Orient.
  • Black Hawk State Park in Rock Island is the former site of Saukenuk, once home to 11,000 Sauk Indians.
  • What is now the Quad-City area was the site of the western-most battle of the Revolutionary War, fought in 1780.
  • A tow of 20,000 tons loaded on 12 or 15 barges is typical today of the Upper Mississippi River.
  • Fort Armstrong on Arsenal Island was an active military post in the early wilderness and lasted from 1816 to 1836. A replica of the fort is on display in the Rock Island Arsenal Museum. The Museum displays more than 1,200 firearms from every U.S. War, including George Custer’s last stand against the Indians. Admission is free.
  • Black Hawk, the great Sauk warrior and leader, was born in 1867 at Saukenuk village near the mouth of the Rock River.
  • During the Black Hawk War in the 1830's, Abraham Lincoln participated in what is now the Quad-Cities as a captain.
  • Modern, legalized riverboat gambling began in the Quad-Cities on April 1, 1991.
  • More than 100 festivals and events are held each year in the Quad-Cities.
  • The first railroad bridge to span the Mississippi River linked what is now Rock Island and Davenport.
  • The cities of Davenport, Bettendorf, Moline, East Moline and Rock Island have a combined population exceeding 357,000,
  • Vermont-born blacksmith John Deere began making his self-scouring steel plows in Moline in 1847. He was soon producing 1,000 plows annually.
  • The roller dam at Lock and Dam 15 in the Quad-Cities is the largest of its kind in the entire world.
  • The Government Bridge between Davenport and Rock Island was completed in 1872, and remodeled in 1896.
  • Antoine LeClaire founded the City of 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.
  • A new 3-D IMAX Theater opened on the grounds of the Putnam Museum, 12th and N. Division Street in Davenport, and is showing films daily.
  • The John Deere Commons lodging, entertainment and office complex in Moline occupies the site of John Deere’s first plow factory.
  • When he was just 24, Davenport-born cornetist Bix Beiderbecke, in the 1920's was making more that $200 a week, quite a princely sum in those days.
  • The worldwide headquarters of Deere & Co., in Moline, was completed in 1964 and designed by world-renowned architect Eero Sarrinen - who also designed the St. Louis Arch.
  • The Buffalo Bill Museum in LeClaire, in addition to offering memorabilia of old steamboat days on the Mississippi, and pioneer goods, also has a display celebrating LeClaire-born James Ryan, inventor of the “black box” flight recorder.
  • Bandits murdered Colonel George Davenport in his home on Arsenal Island on July 4, 1845, while his family was away celebrating Independence Day. The killers were later caught and hanged. The white, restored home is open to the public by request and features docent guides.
  • With 10 different makes of automobiles being manufactured in the early 1900's, what became the Quad-Cities was then known as “Little Detroit.”
  • The entire Sauk and Fox nation gathered at the Village of East Davenport in 1836 to sign a treaty relinquishing its land in the Quad-City area.
  • The Quad-City Times Bix 7 Road Race annually attracts between 15,000 to 20,000 runners and walkers.
  • John Deere Pavilion - world’s largest agricultural exhibit - opened in Moline in August of 1997.
  • During World War II more than 18,000 people were employed at the Rock Island Arsenal.