How we started 

E & J
200 24 Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

American Institute of Commerce
1801 E Kimberly Rd
Davenport, IA 52807

Rock Island County Farm Bureau
1601 52 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Hempel Pipe and Supply
951 S Rolff St
Davenport, IA 52802

McGladrey & Pullen, LLP
Certified Public Accountants and Consultants
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Certified Public Accountants and Consultants
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Moline, IL 61265

1607 John Deere Rd
East Moline, IL 61244

John Deere Pavilion
1400 River Dr
Moline, IL 61265

John Deere Store
1300 River Drive Suite 100
Moline, IL 61265

Birdsell Chiropractic
1201 5th Ave
Moline, IL 61265

2484 53 St
Bettendorf, IA 52722

17th St and 5th Ave
Moline, IL 61265

2132 E 11 St
Davenport, IA

1422 5th Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Rural regions develop

By Kristophere' Owens, Dispatch/Argus Staff writer

Photo courtesy Special Collections, Augustana College Library
The river was the life blood of many small Rock Island County towns. A pearl button factory in Andulusia, shown here in October 1915, harvested river mussles as raw materials.
While the core of Rock Island County industrialized during the 1900s, its rural communities took longer to progress.

Outlying Rock Island County communities were mostly agricultural, using the fertile land of the Mississippi River Valley to its fullest.

The first settlers came to the townships of Drury, Buffalo Prairie, Edgington, Andulusia, Bowling, Rural, Hampton, Zuma, Canoe Creek, Coe, Port Byron and Cordova between the 1830s and 1870s. While the six inner townships grew with people and industry, people in Rock Island County's outer communities were looking to strike out on their own.

Businesses, housing and post offices soon sprouted after the 12 townships were platted. While each community developed differently, its residents soon discovered the opportunities each township had for them.

The rise of the railroad brought prosperity to Port Byron, after it spent $20,000 trying to acquire similar transportation. With the help of a 9.75-mile line from Port Byron to Rock Island Junction, the town became a major shipping post.

A good supply of natural resources helped Edgington and Andulusia townships thrive in lower Rock Island County. With access to the Mississippi River and bluffs full of sand, stone, clay and coal, the town of Andulusia became a supplier to a glass works in Buffalo, Iowa, across the river.

Click here for larger view.
Photo courtesy of Paul Hayes, Paul's Studio
First Avenue in Silvis as it looked early in the century. The town was the home of the Rock Island Lines shops.
Andulusia Township had already established a log mill and a ferry service when it separated from Edgington in 1859. In 1872, it became the largest grain shipping port between Galena and St. Louis.

In upper Rock Island County, Cordova Township was truly the underdog of the 12 townships. Described in the county's history as an area that "has never risen to very great prominence," the township became a stopping point for travelers.

Despite growing developments in corn production, Rock Island County's outer townships didn't grow until the 1960s. The focal point of growth was in Cordova Township -- where development was least unexpected more than 100 years ago.

When the Cordova Industrial Park was constructed in 1963, the Nitrin Fertilizer plant was its first tenant. Although the $23 million, 65-acre plant brought excitement to Cordova, it closed in 1969 because of fires, explosions and changing technology.

While the loss of the Nitrin plant brought an economic sting to the community, 3M took its place in 1971.

Cordova welcomed nuclear energy in 1967, when the Quad-Cities Nuclear Power Station. Today the plant is jointly operated by ComEd and MidAmerican Energy.

IBP brought business to Zuma Township, when the meatpacker constructed a 437-acre plant near Joslin in 1971. The $13.5 million plant employs 1,900 people from the Quad-Cities and surrounding communities.

Today, upper Rock Island County townships are looking toward residential and business development in the future. As for its once-prosperous lower half, agriculture still remains the norm.

Copyright 1999, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.