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Rock Island Arsenal
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
U.S. National Historic Landmark
Rock Island Arsenal, Quarters 1
Rock Island Arsenal is located in Illinois
Location: Rock Island, Illinois
Coordinates: 41°31′1″N 90°32′31″W / 41.51694°N 90.54194°W / 41.51694; -90.54194Coordinates: 41°31′1″N 90°32′31″W / 41.51694°N 90.54194°W / 41.51694; -90.54194
Built/Founded: 1832
Architect: General Thomas J. Rodman et al.
Architectural style(s): Greek Revival, Italianate
Governing body: Department of the Army
Added to NRHP: September 30, 1969[1]
Designated NHL: June 7, 1988[2]
NRHP Reference#: 69000057

The Rock Island Arsenal comprises 946 acres (3.83 km2; 1.478 sq mi), located on Arsenal Island, originally known as Rock Island, on the Mississippi River between the cities of Davenport, Iowa and Rock Island, Illinois. It lies within the state of Illinois. The island was originally established as a government site in 1816 - with the building of Fort Armstrong. It is now the largest government-owned weapons manufacturing arsenal in the United States.[3] It has been an active manufacturer of military equipment and ordnance since the 1880s. In 1919-20 100 of the Anglo-American or Liberty Mark VIII (tanks) were manufactured, although too late for World War I. It was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Established as both an arsenal and a center for the manufacture of leather accoutrements and field gear, today it provides manufacturing, logistics, and base support services for the Armed Forces. The Arsenal is the only active US Army foundry, and manufactures ordnance and equipment, including artillery, gun mounts, recoil mechanisms, small arms, aircraft weapons sub-systems, grenade launchers, weapons simulators, and a host of associated components.[4] Some of the Arsenal's most successful products include the M198 and M119 towed howitzers, and the M1A1 gun mount. About 250 military personnel and 6,000 civilians work there. The 2000 census population was 145.

During the Civil War, Arsenal Island was home to a large Union army prison camp for captured Confederate soldiers (the Rock Island Prison Barracks). A total of 1,964 Confederate prisoners and 125 Union guards are buried in the adjacent military cemetery, including 49 members of the 108th Regiment of United States Colored Troops, most of which died from disease or exposure. The prison camp was operational from December 1863 until July 1865 when the last prisoners were freed and sent home. During its two years in operation, the prison camp housed over 12,400 different Confederates. Following the war, the government retained ownership of Arsenal Island and used it for various functions.

Other historical sites in the area include the Confederate Cemetery, the Rock Island National Cemetery, 19th century stone workshops, officers' quarters along the river, Col. Davenport's House, and the site of the first bridge built across the Mississippi.


Rock Island Arsenal Museum

The Rock Island Arsenal Museum was established on 4 Jul 1905. It is the second-oldest US Army Museum in the United States after the West Point Museum. The museum has been closed down twice, during World War I and World War II, to provide more space for manufacturing facilities. Exhibits focus on the history of Rock Island Arsenal and Arsenal Island's use as a Union prison camp during the American Civil War. The museum also contains an extensive collection of small arms weapons & Outdoor Vehicle display.

Literary References

  • In the 2006 novel "World War Z" it is mentioned as the location of a long-term and difficult siege.


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23.  
  2. ^ "Rock Island Arsenal". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-10-13.  
  3. ^ "Rock Island Arsenal". Retrieved 2008-10-13.  
  4. ^ "Joint Manufacturing & Technology Center - Rock Island Arsenal". U.S. Army. Retrieved 2009-09-25.  

External links

Redirecting to Rock Island Arsenal

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