This beautiful city now covers that “Section of land opposite Rock Island” that was donated by treaty to Antoine LeClair by the Sacs and Foxes, and also three or four more sections. At that time it was wholly uninhabited, the Foxes having removed their village from that point some three years before. As a town site it was regarded by strangers and travelers on steamboats as the most beautiful west of the Mississippi between St. Louis and St. Paul, and now, with its twenty-three thousand inhabitants, elegant residences, magnificent public buildings, fine churches, schoolhouses, extensive manufactories, and large business blocks, it Stands unrivalled as a beautiful city. It has ten miles of street railroads, affording easy access to all parts of the city. It has two daily papers, the “Gazette” and “Democrat”, (morning and evening) both ably conducted; and also a German daily and two weeklies. The river is spanned by an elegant bridge that was built at the cost of nearly a million dollars, which is used by the various railroads from East to West, and has a roadway for teams and pedestrians.
The City Of Rock Island
Is located on the bank of the river in Illinois, immediately opposite to Davenport, and is a large and flourishing city, with a population of about twelve thousand inhabitants. It has fine public buildings, elegant churches and residences, substantial business blocks, extensive manufactories and elegant water works. The city is lighted by electric lights, from high towers, that cast their refulgent rays over the entire city, which makes it the finest lighted city in the west. There are two daily papers, (morning and evening) “The Union” and “The Argus”, both enjoying the privilege of Press dispatches, and both issue weeklies. “The Rock Islander” is also published weekly, and all have the appearance of great prosperity. The professions are represented by men of fine ability, including some of wide reputation. The banking business is done principally by two National Banks, that have a deservedly high reputation, and are doing a large business. There are two first-class hotels–the Harper House and Rock Island House–and several of less pretentious. The city has large coal fields, in close proximity, with railroads running daily to and from the banks, by which the three cities are supplied.
The City Of Moline
Is located two miles up the river from Rock Island, but connected with it by street railways. It has a population of over 8,000 inhabitants, and is extensively known from its many manufacturing establishments, which are supplied with water power from a dam across the river from the Island.
The City Of Keokuk, Iowa
Is located at the foot of the Lower Rapids, 139 miles from Rock Island, and bears the name of the distinguished chief of the Sacs and Foxes. At our first visit there, in 1832, there was a long row of one-story buildings fronting on the river, that were used by Col. Farnham, agent of the American Fur Company, as a store and warehouse–this being the principal depot for trade with the Sacs and Foxes, who were then the sole proprietors of the country and its principal inhabitants, with the exception of a few individuals who had got permission to put up shanties for occupation during the low-water season, while they were engaged in lighting steamers passing up and down the river, but unable to cross the rapids while loaded.
At that day the old chief, Keokuk, boasted of having the handsomest site for a big village that could be found on the river, and since that day it has grown to be a large and elegant city, with wide streets, fine public buildings, nice churches, school-houses, elegant residences, extensive business houses, wholesale and retail stores, manufactories, and a flourishing Medical University with elegant buildings, which has been in successful operation for more than twenty years. The United States District Court for Southern Iowa is also located here. The city is well provided with good hotels. The Patterson House, an immense building, five stories high, being chief, which has always ranked as first-class-with a number of hotels of smaller dimensions, but well kept–affording ample accommodation for the thousands of travelers that frequently congregate at this place. The various professions are represented by men of fine ability–some of them of wide reputation. They have two daily papers, “The Gale City”, and “The Constitution”, which are ably conducted.
A fine canal, running the entire length of the Rapids, from Montrose to Keokuk, has been built by the United States, through which steamboats can now pass at any stage of water–but designed more particularly for low water–so that there is no longer any detention to lighten steamboats over the Rapids.
The City Of Muscatine, Iowa
Muscatine was first settled as a wood yard by Col. John Vanater, in July, 1834, and was laid out as a town by him in 1836, and called Bloomington. The county was organized in 1837, under the name of Muscatine, and Bloomington made the county seat. The name of the town was changed to correspond with that of the county in 1851. Its population at the last census was 8,294; present population not less than 10,000. Besides being the center of a large trade in agricultural products, it is extensively engaged in manufacturing lumber, sash, doors and blinds, and possesses numerous large manufactories, oat-meal mills, and the finest marble works in the State. It is also the centering point of a very large wholesale and retail trade. It is situated at the head of the rich Muscatine Island, the garden spot of the Northwest, and is the shipping point for millions of melons and sweet potatoes annually.
Muscatine is a good town, with a good business and good newspapers. The “Journal” and “Tribune” are published daily, semi-weekly and weekly. Hon. John Mahin has been the editor of the “Journal” since 1852, and there is no editor in the State whose service dates further back than his.