Quad Cities: Wikis


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Rock Island, IA-IL
Map of Quad Cities

Common name: Quad Cities
Largest city Davenport, Iowa
Other cities  - Bettendorf, Iowa
 - Moline, Illinois
 - Rock Island, Illinois
 - East Moline, Illinois
Population  Ranked 132nd in the U.S.
 - Total 377,625 (2008 est.)[1]
 - Density 163.19 /sq. mi. 
63.01 /km²
Area 2,314 sq. mi.
5,993 km²
State(s)   - Iowa
 - Illinois
 - Highest point 850 feet (259 m)
 - Lowest point 590 feet (180 m)

The Quad Cities[2][3][4] is a geographic region of the Mid-Mississippi Valley of the United States that includes several communities in the states of Iowa and Illinois. As of 2008, the population is 377,625.[1] The five most populous cities in the region are:

Before World War I, the area was known as the "Tri-Cities", and included only Davenport, Rock Island, and Moline. With the growth of Rock Island County, East Moline was eventually given "equal status," and the region became known as the "Quad Cities" during the 1930s. With the opening of an Alcoa plant in 1948, Bettendorf grew such that many people in the community openly discussed the adoption of the name "Quint Cities".[5] Indeed, WOC-TV (as KWQC-TV was then called) did much "Quint Cities" promotion in the early-to-mid-1950s. However, by this time, the name "Quad Cities" had become known well beyond the area, and "Quint Cities" never caught on. Eventually Bettendorf passed East Moline in size. The "Quad Cities" name is now technically a misnomer, as the area includes five cities, each with a population of over 20,000 and many other contiguous or nearby communities.



The I-74 Bridge, connecting Bettendorf, Iowa, and Moline, Illinois, is located near the geographic center of the Quad Cities.

The Quad Cities is located approximately 180 miles (290 km) west of the Chicago area where Interstate 80 crosses the Mississippi River. The Quad Cities is also distinctive for the fact that the Mississippi River flows from east to west as it passes through the heart of the area, with the Iowa cities of Davenport and Bettendorf located due north of Rock Island and Moline, respectively.

The Davenport-Moline-Rock Island Metropolitan Statistical Area consists of four counties: Scott County in Iowa and Henry, Mercer, and Rock Island counties in Illinois. The Quad City Metro population is 377,625.[1]

In addition to the five anchor cities, the Quad Cities area also comprises a number of surrounding smaller communities. Examples of these communities include the Iowa cities of Eldridge, Long Grove, Park View, Blue Grass, Buffalo, Montpelier, Walcott, Maysville, McCausland, Mount Joy, New Liberty, Pleasant Valley, Princeton, Le Claire, Panorama Park and Riverdale. The Illinois communities are Silvis, Milan, Andalusia, Carbon Cliff, Coal Valley, Colona, Geneseo, Hampton, Port Byron, Orion, Kewanee, Aledo, and Rapids City.

The Quad Cities area is one where the telephone companies cooperate with regional phone calls. Iowa and Illinois have different area codes (563 and 309 respectively), yet most calls originating and terminating within the core urban area are placed without long-distance charges by dialing just a 7-digit number. This helps the bi-state area promote itself as a single community, "joined by a river."

The Quad Cities are served by the Quad City International Airport, located in Moline. The airport also markets itself to surrounding areas as an alternative to larger airports, such as those in Chicago. The smaller Davenport Municipal Airport is the home of the Quad City Air Show.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is working with Amtrak to restore passenger train service to the Quad Cities.[6] The last passenger train in the area, the Quad Cities Rocket, ran between Chicago and Rock Island by the Rock Island Railroad until December 31, 1978.

Climate data for Davenport, IA
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 69
Average high °F (°C) 30
Average low °F (°C) 13
Record low °F (°C) -17
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.28
Source: http://www.weather.com/outlook/health/allergies/wxclimatology/monthly/52804</ref>


Early history

Before European settlers came to inhabit the Quad Cities, it was a home and principal trading place of the Sauk and Fox tribes of Native Americans. Black Hawk State Historic Site in Rock Island preserves part of historic Saukenuk, the principal village of the Sauk tribe and birthplace of its war leader, Black Hawk. In 1832, Sauk chief Keokuk and General Winfield Scott signed a treaty to end the Black Hawk War in Davenport. The treaty resulted in the United States gaining 6 million acres (24,000 km²) of land.

The history of urban settlements in the Quad-Cities hails back to the earliest days of the riverboat. For fourteen miles (21 km) between Le Claire, Iowa, and Rock Island, Illinois, the Mississippi River flowed across a series of finger-like rock projections protruding from either bank. These rapids were difficult for steamboats to traverse, and as demand for river-based transportation increased along the upper Mississippi, the navigability of the river throughout the “Rock Island Rapids” became a greater concern. Over time, a minor industry grew up in the area to meet the steamboats’ needs. Boats needed rest areas to stop before encountering the rapids, places to hire special expert pilots who could help guide the boat through the rocky waters, or, when the water was low, places where goods could be removed and transported by wagon on land past the Rapids.[7] (Today, the troublesome rocks are submerged six feet underwater in a lake formed by two lock and dams.)

As the Industrial Revolution developed in the United States, many enterprising industrialists looked to the Mississippi River as a promising source of water power, and the combination of energy and easy access to river transportation made the Quad Cities a natural location for industrial development. In 1848, John Deere moved his plough business to Moline. His business was incorporated as Deere & Company in 1868, and today, Deere & Company is the largest employer in the Quad Cities.

The first railroad bridge built across the Mississippi River connected Davenport and Rock Island in 1856. It was built by the Rock Island Railroad Company, and replaced the show seasonal ferry service and winter ice bridges as the primary modes of transportation across the river. Steamboaters saw these nationwide railroads as a threat to their business, and on May 6, 1856, just weeks after it was completed, an angry steamboater crashed the Effie Afton steamboat into the bridge. The owner of the Effie Afton, John Hurd, filed a lawsuit against The Rock Island Railroad Company. The Rock Island Railroad Company selected Abraham Lincoln as their trial lawyer. It was a pivotal trial in Lincoln's career.

It was after the Civil War that a common identity for the region first coalesced. The river towns that were thoughtfully planned and competently led flourished while other settlements, usually get-rich-quick schemes for speculators, failed to pan out. The towns of Davenport, Rock Island, and Moline came to market themselves as the “Tri-Cities,” a cluster of three more-or-less equally sized river communities growing around the small bend of the Mississippi River where it flows east and west.


Beginning in the late 1970s, economic conditions caused the region's main employers - agricultural manufacturers - to cease or scale back operations in the Quad Cities. Factories which closed included International Harvester in Rock Island and Case IH in Bettendorf. Moline-based John Deere cut headcount by one half. Later in the 1980s, Caterpillar Inc. closed its factories at Mount Joy and Bettendorf.

Since the 1990’s the Quad Cities government, businesses, non-profits and residents have worked hard to redevelop the region and have achieved national attention for their accomplishments.

Examples of revitalization and rebirth:

  • Davenport's River Renaissance (a downtown revitalization project that includes a River Music History Center), an ag-tech venture capital campus, and the Figge Art Museum opened or were completed during the 2000s decade.
  • Moline has also attempted renewal of what was once a robust downtown. The "John Deere Commons" facility and i wireless Center (then the "Mark of the Quad Cities") both opened during the 1990s.
  • In 2007, Davenport and Rock Island petitioned for and won the title of "most livable small city" from the National Council of Mayors, based upon an unfunded proposal called RiverVision.
  • In 2008 Bettendorf, Iowa was listed by CNN.com[8] as one of the ten best places to buy a house in the United States.


Noteworthy Companies

Colleges and universities


The Quad Cities is the 147th largest radio market in the United States[9] and the 99th largest TV market in the United States.[10]

The area is served by over 13 commercial radio stations, 8 non-commercial radio stations, 3 low power FM radio stations, 8 TV stations and 3 daily newspapers.



Local transit

There are three transit operators in the Quad Cities with limited interconnection between them.

  • Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District (Quad Cities MetroLINK) serves the Illinois cities of Rock Island, Moline, East Moline, Milan, Silvis, Carbon Cliff, Hampton and Colona. It has 12 routes and a fleet of about 52 buses. It operates a river craft during summer months.
  • Davenport Citibus has 13 fixed routes and operates 20 buses, six days a week.
  • Bettendorf Transit operates 5 routes, Monday-Satuday and has 8 buses.


The Quad Cities are served by Quad City International Airport, which serves a variety of domestic destinations.

Sports teams

From 1920 to 1926, Rock Island was home to the NFL's Rock Island Independents. Football legend Jim Thorpe was once a member of the team.

Then The Tri-Cities Blackhawks, named in honor of Black Hawk, was the then-Tri Cities first top-level professional sports franchise since the NFL's Rock Island Independents in 1926. The club played in the NBL from 1946 until its merger with the Basketball Association of America following the 1948-49 season to became the National Basketball Association. Hall of famer Red Auerbach coached the Blackhawks during their first NBA season. After the 1950-51 basketball season, the team moved to Milwaukee, becoming the Hawks. After a second move to St. Louis, the team is now the Atlanta Hawks. Professional basketball returned to the Quad Cities during the 1980s and 1990s with the Quad City Thunder of the Continental Basketball Association. The CBA served as the NBA's premiere developmental league and produced many highly regarded NBA stars. From 1987 through the 92-93 season, the Thunder played at Wharton Field House in Moline. Then, starting with the 1993-94 season, The MARK of the Quad Cities (now the i wireless Center) served as the team's new home. Eventually the CBA folded in 2001 and, as a result, the Thunder franchise ceased operations permanently.


Club League Venue Established Championships
Quad Cities River Bandits MWL, Baseball Modern Woodmen Park 1960 4
Quad City Mallards IHL, Ice hockey i wireless Center 2009 0
Quad Cities Riverhawks PBL, Basketball Wharton Field House 2006 0

See also

See also


External links

Coordinates: 41°31′N 90°32′W / 41.517°N 90.533°W / 41.517; -90.533

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

The Quad Cities [1] is a metropolitan area of five, not four, closely-entangled cities and their suburbs on either side of the Mississippi River between Iowa and Illinois.

  • Moline
  • East Moline
  • Rock Island


The Quad Cities has been passingly referred to as "forgottonia". Without a sizable core city, a major sports team or even formal recognition as a single urban entity from many planning comissions, it remains undetected on the national radar. As a result, it is frequently derided for its lack of stature when it achieves national attention. Such derision is more a reflection of the ignorance of those outside the area than it is legitimate fodder for amusement. Visitors are encouraged to check their biases at the door and explore everything the area has to offer.

Get in

By air

Quad Cities International Airport (IATA: MLI) [2] is located in Moline and is served by five airlines.

Non-stop destinations include Chicago, Minneapolis, Memphis, Dallas, and Denver.

By car

The Quad Cities are accessible from the east by Interstates 80 and 88, from the west by Interstate 80, and from the south by Interstate 74. US Route 61, a highway that runs alongside the Mississippi, also leads into the area. Interstates 80 and 280 form a beltway which is bisected by Interstate 74, making the entire area easily accessible by freeway. The area is also served by several bus stations.

By train

The nearest city with Amtrak service is Galesburg, Illinois, about 50 minutes south of Moline on Interstate 74. [3] It is served by four routes: California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Illinois Zephyr, and Carl Sandburg, all of which originate in Chicago.

Get around

Understand that despite its relatively small size, the politically fractured nature of the area has eliminated any central planning, making the area unusually difficult to get around in. For the public benefit, most gas stations post large, comprehensive free maps near their restrooms. Public transportation via city buses is available, but not widely used.


Though not officially named, the Quad Cities could well be another city called "The City of Bridges". Numerous pedestrian-friendly bridges span the Mississippi River, providing breathtaking views of several downtowns. Additionally, the newly completed "Skybridge" in downtown Davenport provides a bird's-eye view of that city's immaculate core while treating street-level pedestrians to an ever-changing array of colors from light emitting diodes embedded in the bridge's structure. The area lies in a steep valley, allowing those approaching the Mississippi an astonishing view of the surrounding area.


Quad-City Times - Davenport-based newspaper.


Any visitor to the Quad Cities should know that the world headquarters for the familiar yellow on green John Deere farm equipment is located in Moline. A visit to the John Deere Pavilion is a must - you can view the history of John Deere plows and tractors in one big room. This is also a fantastic gift shop with everything from t-shirts to golf balls to paper plates for your next John Deere party!

The downtown Moline area includes the original Lagomarcinos, 100 years old in 2008, a confectionery shop with delicious homemade candies and chocolates. Isabel Bloom Studios, where world famous sculptures are created, is located very close by the John Deere Pavilion.

Visitors are strongly encouraged to explore the Village of East Davenport, a converted residential neighborhood that now houses a thriving arts community.

Another notable shopping experiences is the District of Rock Island, a pedestrian mall which hosts several exotic bars and coffee shops, and maintains a near continuous series of music and ethnic festivals throughout the summer.

Arsenal Island is a federally owned 900+ acre island in the Mississippi River. The dreaded Civil War era Rock Island Prison (to which Ashley Wilkes is sent in the novel Gone With the Wind) was located here, and a cemetery of nearly 2,000 Confederate soldiers as well as a National Cemetery reside on the island. Other island attractions include the Colonel Davenport house, huge limestone buildings over 100 years old, and a lock and dam system that includes a swing-span on the iron Government Bridge. Public entrance is from Moline only, and visitors must register at the gate.

A visit to Black Hawk State Historic Site in Rock Island brings you to an area that served for millennia as a location for Native American villages, particularly Sauk and Mesquakie.

Any of the areas numerous riverfront casinos are recommended to those seeking to blend an old-time Mississippi riverboat cruise with the excitement of modern gambling.

For those interested in a more engaging experience, the Quad Cities plays host to the world-class Bix race, Sturgis on the River motorcycle rally, and the chance to use those golf balls at TPC Deere Run, home of the PGA John Deere Classic (held each July).

Moline's iWireless Center (formerly the Mark of the Quad Cities) is the main concert and event venue, with concerts played year-round, the Quad City Flames AHL hockey team, and the Steamwheelers arena football team.

At Modern Woodmen Park (formerly John O'Donnell Stadium), spectators can watch the Quad City River Bandits baseball team (formerly the Swing of the Quad Cities) devour their opponents. It is located near the North End of the Centennial Bridge, along the Mississippi River in Davenport.

An article [4] in the popular satirical newspaper The Onion once questioned where the gay district of Moline could be found. Moline's gay district is located a few minutes away, in nearby Davenport.

Observe the bald eagles feeding along the Mississippi River in the wintertime. The most opportune locations are locks and dams.


The Quad Cities is home to a number of unique local chains. This is where the Happy Joe's pizza chain originated, a series of restaurants which deliver premium - but relatively expensive - pizza in a family-oriented atmosphere.

Whitey's Ice Cream provides numerous flavors of delicious premium grade hard-pack ice cream in a spotlessly clean environment, and should not be missed. A less expensive but no less excellent local soft-serve ice cream shop is Country Style. Both establishments can be found throughout the area, and any local would be happy to direct visitors to the nearest one.

The Iowa Machine Shed celebrates the American farmer, cooking from scratch right down to peeling the potatoes.

Anyone looking for family dining, family owned and operated Steakhouse, check out Tappa's Steak House located in downtown Davenport for 25+ years.

For those seeking something with a more unique flavor, The Filling Station provides delicious American fare at low prices. Visitors are strongly encouraged to pay it a visit.

The Blue Cat Brew Pub serves very good fare ranging from burgers to seafood. Be sure to check out a few of the beers brewed at in the in-house microbrewery.

Those seeking a more upscale experience can visit the Wood Fire Grill (previously called Centro), an italian-based restaurant in downtown Davenport. John Deere Commons in Moline also hosts an upscale dining establishment, Johnny's Steakhouse.

Moline Centre (which is located next to the John Deere Pavilion) is a host to a wide range of food, from Pizza to Thai.


The District of Rock Island is a pedestrian mall which serves as home to numerous bars, and should not be missed. It also plays hosts to local several local festivals.

Davenport's downtown plays host to several large upscale nightclubs. Visitors need only park their car and follow the crowds.

Davenport's "Rainbow District" is a (very) small gay village located on the outskirts of the city's downtown. It consists of a handful of gay-oriented bars, nightclubs and restaurants, and is known for its popular drag shows. As with many areas in questionable parts of town, visitors are advised to proceed with caution when visiting the area at night. A string of recent violent incidents has garnered greater police protection, but has also illustrated some of the area's downsides.

As with many other working class cities, Davenport has a number of small neighborhood pubs located among its residential developments.

The Moline Centre is a good place to park and walk. There are several bars including Bent River Brewery, try out there house beers. Also, Beir Stube located both in the Moline Centre and Village of East Davenport. Looking for outdoor music go to the River House.

Stay safe

Like larger cities, visitors to the Quad Cities should make an effort to avoid traveling on foot when alone at night, especially in the west ends of Davenport and Rock Island. That said, the area's greatest dangers tend to be experienced on the road; in the summertime deer make unfortunate moving roadblocks, and most locals know of someone who has demolished their car against one. The winter months proudly represent the Midwest's unpredictable weather and leave much of the area icy and unnavigable with little notice.

Get out

Peoria, IL, Cedar Rapids, IA and Rockford, IL are all nearby. The QC is also situated just a couple hours west of Chicago, connected by interstates 80 and 88.

Routes through Quad Cities
END  W noframe E  DixonChicago
Des Moines  W noframe E  Chicago
END  W noframe E  Indianapolis
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