Events that shaped us 

Williams Studio
New Windsor, IL 61465

Andalusia, IL 61232

Hideaway Plastics
1801 17 St
PO Box 379
Viola, IL 61486

Deer & Co Credit Union
3950 38 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

2018 4 Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

Walcott Trust & Savings Bank
101 W Bryant St
PO Box 108
Walcott, IA 52773

Mississippi Laser
7700 47 St
Milan, IL 61264

Longs Carpet
4200 11 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

Roth Pump
Box 4330
Rock Island, IL 61201

Hughes Telephone
1117 Blackhawk Rd
Rock Island, IL 61201

ASAP Equipment
4730 44 St

Taylor Garages
Airport Rd
Milan, IL 61264

Michael Warner, Attorney
1600 4th Ave, Suite 410
Rock Island, IL 61201

Kansas City Life
5019 34 Ave B
Moline, IL 61265

Dr. Romeo
1705 2nd Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

Morton Building
Highway 6
Atkinson, IL

Pathway Hospice
500 42
Rock Island, IL 61201

QC Carbide
1510 17 St
East Moline, IL 61244

Lyss Chiropractic
5500 30 Ave
Moline, IL 61201

Metro MRI
550 15 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Litton Life Support
2734 Hickory Grove Rd
PO Box 4508
Davenport, IA 52808

Spencer Bros. Disposal
New Windsor, IL

Mane Designs
Viola, IL

Quad-Cities Graduate Studies Center
639 38 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

Taylor Freezers 1885 Earhart Dr
Sandwich IL 60548

Milan Surplus
I-280 Exit 15
Milan, IL 61264

Metro MRI
550 15 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Halligan-McCabe-DeVries Funeral Home Inc.
614 Main St
Davenport, 52803

Ward Chiropractic
1802 W Locust St
Davenport, IA 52804

Cannon Precision Manufacturing
PO Box 289
4th and Washington St
Keithsburg, IL 61442

Associated Environmental Management Services Inc
PO Box 586
1701 13 St
Viola, IL 61486

Augie students outraged over the evils of drink

By Lisa Mohr, Dispatch/Argus Staff writer

Click here for larger view.
The Thirst Aid Station, at the end of the Arsenal Viaduct, wasn't advertising alcohol in this photo from the late 1920s. Though Prohibition started in 1920, the federal government prohibited the sale of alcohol within five miles of the Arsenal and other military posts in 1918.
Alcohol hardly had a chance standing up to the tide for Prohibition considering all the fury waged against it.

One of the most famous temperance fighters of all time was evangelist Billy Sunday, who came to Rock Island in 1919. For eight weeks he waged war against liquor and lust, preaching from his own tabernacle he built at 24th Street and 5th Avenue.

Local temperance groups in the Quad-Cities, however, began their vigil against John Barleycorn as early as the turn of the century.

Many citizens were outraged at the habits of the newly arrived immigrants that settled the area. Members of Europe's great drinking societies, including the Irish, Italians, Greeks, Germans and Belgians, brought with them centuries of tradition as well as skill and knowledge on brewing beer and wine and whiskey making.

One of the most vocal temperance groups of the time was largely made up of members of the First Lutheran Church in downtown Moline, a Swedish Lutheran synod strongly dedicated to abolishing alcohol.

Another group intent on banning alcohol were students at Augustana College, Rock Island. Passionately riding the temperance bandwagon, Augie students of the day held temperance debates at the college and wrote letters to the editor of The Rock Island Argus, all which were regularly reported in the newpaper's editorial page.

One speech, which was printed in full on May 16, 1913, expressed student outrage at the ``adventageous (sic) locations of saloons'' around Rock Island. An accompanying map of the city, whose population was 25,000, showed the location of 93 taverns, saloons and bars within the downtown area.

Excerpts from the speech follow:

``The Saloon Keeper is a wise old cogger and he knows just how and where to locate (his saloon) in order to run his business. Location to him then is the very keynote of success and in the city of Rock Island he has full freedom to locate where he wills.''

``Now if you don't object we are going to take a little walk around town and see for ourselves just what the conditions are. We leave the college and pass down 35th Street to 5th Avenue and turn toward the west. We have the Tri-City Car barns at which place there is a continual throng of motormen and conductors lounging about waiting for the change of crew on some car or other.''

``And here is a beautifully situated saloon next door. Certainly the saloon keeper must have had some purpose or other in placing his saloon in such an out of the way place. Perhaps he wished to be in close vicinity of the R.I.B.Co's (Rock Island Brewing) office which is just on his left.''

``That man knew what he was about because he is a genuine business man and he is today running a more than profitable business securing not the trade of the street car employees alone but the men coming home on the shop train find it a convenient place to drop in for refreshment inasmuch as their train stops at the very door of the saloon.''

The outraged students go on to the next location, the Rock Island Railroad depot. ``Look across the street and you will see a competitor both in regard to beauty of location and as to amount of traffic. Two saloons immediately opposite the depot competing for the enormous amount of traffic they receive from the traffic passing to and from the depot.''

The students walk on down 5th Avenue to 27th Street and ``we find ourselves opposite the extensive establishment of the Rock Island Planing Mill. We arrive just in time to see the throng of men pouring out of the main entrance gate on 26th Street and pass down to 5th Avenue on their way home. Upon investigation it will be that most of the men live either south or west of the planing mills and so they come down to 5th Avenue going to their homes.''

Between 27th Street and 24th Street there are not less than five saloons, the students report. Within three average city blocks on 5th Avenue there are five saloons, two of them situated opposite one another at the corner of 26th Street and 5th Avenue.

``The men must pass the saloon on their way home and only too many of them do not pass by but enter these places for a slight refreshments before they go give their little child the greeting kiss.''

The tour next passes down 24th Street to 3rd Avenue where the students watch the men employed at the Rock Island Arsenal coming home from work.

``Immediately on the corner we have one of the brewery companies, Rock Island Brewing Co. If this place is too crowded they need only go a half a block west or the same distance south to find other sources of refreshment.''

``We follow the Bridge Line to the main business district of Rock Island and we arrive at the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 20th Street. It will be noted that a great number of people transfer for various parts of the Tri-Cities at this corner and consequently they are many times compelled to wait the arrival of their car. We find that the saloons have only too well realized the situation and prepared to meet the emergency and you may today have your choice between either of two beautifully situated saloons where you may have your refreshment while waiting for your car. The very name of one saloon betrays its purpose in having selected that favorable location. It calls itself `The Transfer Saloon.'''

``We wish to examine the situation of the saloons as regards the Railroad stations or depots and bring home the fact that not one out of the four depots of Rock Island is free from the hedgings of saloons.''

``We find saloons are the first thing a visiting stranger sees upon alighting from the train. Rock Island gives its strangers a clear conception at the outset what they have to expect from the city in general....The result is the same: a drawing card for the undesirables and a rain check for honest upright citizens.''

The student tour continues to find saloons at both entrances to Rock Island Plow Co. and to the entrance to the nearby Rock Island Stove Co. situated at the corner of 7th Street and 2nd Avenue.

``It may as well be mentioned that upon actual count of the men coming forth from the two entrances of the Plow Works, 30 percent entered the saloons and 10 of these came out from work 10 minutes before the whistle blew in order to avoid the rush at 6 p.m.''

The tour continues to several other businesses before returning to the Augustana campus. In conclusion the students argue:

``And here I wish to close with a word to those who argue that only by changing the spirit of the people as regards the saloon question can we accomplish anything and that Prohibition and restriction will not do any good but instead work evil.''

``Consequently we must restrict and by other methods keep the liquor out of the reach of the coming generation and not allow it freedom of location anywhere in order to put this temptation out of the reach of the growing generation. (That) cannot be done effectively unless the restrictive law be established and when she has trained her coming generation to cope with the existing problem the rest will come easy.''

Copyright 1999, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.