Whether you have a few minutes or a few hours, you can enjoy the historic architecture of Rock Island's National Register listed Broadway Historic District. It’s a quiet residential area that is close to downtown Rock Island. Take a stroll and enjoy its tree-shaded sidewalks, or delve into the history and architecture in more depth.
Although its oldest home, a “southern mansion,” now used by a religious congregation, was built in 1855, most of the 500 homes in the historic district date from 1880 to 1920. Styles represented include Greek Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Carpenter Gothic, Stick, Queen Anne, Neo Classical, Prairie, American Foursquare, and Bungalow. There are a few low rise apartments, too, representing styles from Italian Renaissance to International.
In addition to inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, many homes are recognized as Local Landmarks. A full color booklet with suggested walking tours for most of these Landmarks is available at downtown library or downloadable from Broadway Historic District Landmarks
Other walking tour/informational booklets focus on specific streets within the Broadway Historic District. These were created in the 1980s. Since that time, much additional information has been found for many of the buildings described. These older booklets can be downloaded from the city website and include:
If your time is limited, we recommend that you start at 7th Avenue and 20th Streets and walk two blocks south to see a small area of Broadway that contains an amazing variety of historic architectural styles.
If you're part of a group, it may be possible to arrange a guided tour, either walking or on your bus. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact one of the Broadway Board members listed on the website.
The Broadway Historic District has a strong neighborhood association, which offers many events throughout the year. Home Tours on Mothers’ Day were an annual event for many years. More recently, those tours have been supplanted by an evening holiday tour in early December. A highlight of August, usually on the first Saturday, has been the annual Wine Walk. Wines to sample as well as substantial hors d’oeuvres are offered in the gardens at four homes. The ticket sales are limited and the event sells out quickly. For details of these and other Broadway events, tickets, etc., check the website http://broadwaydistrict.org/
The neighborhood association and homeowners within Broadway are deeply committed to historic preservation and there has been much restoration and renovation. In addition, the entire area was downzoned to permit only one and two family units, which reflects the history of the area. Most homes which had been converted to several apartments have been restored to single family use. This has attracted new young families to the area, too.
Broadway created the concept and name of “Great Unveiling,” which gathers neighbors together to help remove inappropriate surfaces from historic homes, unveiling the historic siding. Dozens of homes have been unveiled and the name and concept have spread across the country. We take pride in that. One historic home that was unveiled, even had an ornate tower rebuilt. This video shows that tower being put into place. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFEy8w0pQJ4 . What a transformation!
Broadway is also the home of the Karpeles Manuscript Museum, in a historic former Church of Christ Scientist building, and the Victorian Inn, a B&B, in a home occupied by the same family for 70 years. It also contains four church congregations.
It is indisputable – The Broadway Historic District is a great place to visit and to live.