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With the Mighty Mississippi River to the north and west and the Rock River flowing through the center, Rock Island County offers a varied landscape ranging from rich agricultural fields to rolling bluffs. Besides the largest three cities - Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline - the county offers a number of other great destinations for those looking to take a break from it all.
Nestled between the Mississippi and Rock Rivers just east of East Moline, Silvis is home of Hero Street USA. It has been documented by the US Department of Defense that this small 1 1/2 block street sent more men and women into the US Armed Forces than any other street its size in the US. A monument and park has been built to honor the men from this street who died while serving their country - six in WWII, and two in the Korean War. Many of these men were of Mexican descent.
Carbon Cliff got its name in the early 1900s when this area was an important coal-mining center. The coal mines were located in the hills along what is now Highway 84. The town was incorporated in 1907. In 1865, Argillo Pottery Works was founded in the town. Clay from the nearby hills was carried by wagons drawn by horses and mules to make clay tile. Kilns were hand-fired by coal. Bricks and 12-inch paving bricks were the first products made at the "Brick Yards." After the mines closed, the pottery provided work. Argillo Works was sold to Tri-City Brick in 1922. Now, Carbon Cliff is a unique small town with fishing and outdoor recreation and a trading post and antique stores in the downtown.
Aledo. Located just 20 miles south of the Quad Cities via US Highway 67 and other state routes, Mercer County was part of the old Northwest Territory. In the county seat of Aledo, a true small town atmosphere can be found. A recognized Illinois Main Street and Sesquicentennial Community, you can stroll throughout the historic downtown that is filled with wonderful antique shops, unique gift shops, galleries, a bakery and several restaurants. Don't forget to view the eight outdoor murals throughout the downtown.
Have a unique bed and breakfast experience at the former Mercer County Jail, now the Slammer Great Escape Bed and Breakfast (309-582-5359; 309 S. College Ave). Enjoy a movie at the historic Aledo Opera House (309-582-1162; 108 S.E. 2nd St). Tour the Essley-Noble Museum with vintage farm equipment, one-room school house and historic artifacts (309-582-2280; 1406 S.E. 2nd Ave).
Aledo is host to several annual events: Rhubarb Festival in June; Mercer County Fair in July; Blue Grass Festival on Labor Day weekend; Antique Days in conjunction with Bike 'n Barn in September; and Aledo's Holly Days Christmas Walk the first weekend in December.
New Boston. New Boston features Lock and Dam 17, Boston Bay Conservation Club, New Boston Museum, and Surgeon Bay Park.
Keithsburg. Keithsburg is near the Big River State Forest and is home to Riverside Campground, the Sharon L. Rason-Keithsburg Museum, Lincoln Military Trail, and Pioneer Cemetery.
Annual events. Edwards River Antique Tractor Show in New Windsor, Firemen's Fish Fry in Sherrard, and New Windsor Fair and Rodeo.
Henry County communities feature natural beauty, grand traditions, colorful heritage and friendly folks who know how to enjoy life. Offering a fascinating National Historic Landmark, Bishop Hill, Henry County also has many fascinating historical museums - Ryan's Round Barn, Jenny Lind Chapel, the Robert & Marcella Richards Museum, plus many more located within the county.
Every summer the county communities highlight some of their favorite attractions featuring local festivals like Colona's Memorial Day Celebration, Andover Colonial Days, Bishop Hill's MidSommar, Galva's Freedom Fest, Orion's Music Concerts, Kewanee Hog Days, and Atkinson Heritage Days. Cultural activities bring a special spice to the county's lifestyle. Communities offer coffeehouses, art shows, music festivals and author gatherings. Come enjoy the arts, experience history and shop for authentic antiques, arts, crafts and original pottery. Dine in the many local restaurants; enjoy the bakeries and coffee shops that line the communities' streets.
Venture out to bike the back country or Hennepin Canal State Parkway. Fish for your big catch at Johnson Sauk Trail State Park. Delight on one of the seven golf courses and swim at one of the many pools.
Explore the county, have a great time and come back often. You will find everything you need - from history to heritage to food and fun in a visit to Henry County!
Step back in time at Monmouth's South First Street shopping district. Anchored by the incredible Maple City Candy Company, the district features unique shops and restaurants. Diners can sample the adventurous cuisine of Coconuts, a Caribbean-style restaurant housed within Maple City Candy, or lunch at the popular Monmouth Soda Works and Mercantile. For more formal dining, Cerar's Barnstormer Restaurant features tasty steaks and seafood around the ambience of early aviation memorabilia. If you like to shop, be sure to visit such shops as A Touch of Country, Cedar Creek Candles, O'Fleeting Time, and Bev's Flowers Are Us.
As you stroll the downtown take a moment to read historical markers highlighting area history and stop in at The Buchanan Center for the Arts to view works by local, regional, and international artists, as well as interesting historical displays. More history can be found at the Warren County Historical Museum, located 12 miles south of Monmouth in Roseville. You'll enjoy the turn-of-the-century school room, doctor's office, and locally manufactured farm implements, military regalia, and memorabilia.
In addition, Monmouth was the birthplace of Wyatt Earp. Visit his home at 406 S. 3rd Street. The two-story museum features furniture, antiques, and memorabilia. (Open by appointment only. 309-734-3181).
Monmouth College, nationally ranked as a private liberal arts college, enrolls 1,200 students. The college's lovely, scenic campus was the birthplace of the first-ever Greek letter organization for college women - Pi Beta Phi. Holt House, where the "sorority" was founded in 1867, is located at 4012 East First Avenue. Another historic property, Stewart House, at 1015 East Euclid Avenue, is the birthplace of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Both homes are open by appointment.
Monmouth and Roseville are home to a number of festivals, the oldest being the Warren County Prime Beef Festival held in Monmouth the first Wednesday after Labor Day. Other festivals include the Warren County Faire in Roseville in late July, the Monmouth Fly-In Breakfast, at which pilots and the public converge on Monmouth's historic airport for a home-cooked breakfast, airplane rides and stunts, and an old-fashioned band concert. Also don't miss the annual "Cruise Night" on the first Friday in August. More than 1,600 cars fill the downtown area.
Henderson Coutny is a rural county along the Mississippi River about 75 miles sourthwest of the Quad Cities. Many parks hug the river here including Big River State Forest, Delabar State Park, the Henderson County Conservation Area, and Lock and Dam 18. The county seat is Oquawka which is home to the Henry County Courthouse, the Alexis Phelps House, and the Oquawka Museum. One of the nation's most unusual memorials is locaed in Oquawka - the Norma Jean Memorial. Norma Jean was a circus elephant that was tragically struck by lightning, killed and was buried at the spot where she fell. The circus also plays a role in the Oquawka Museum which is the home of Justice Schlotzhaur who was an advance man for the Ringling Bros. Circus.
Big River State Forest is home to the Lincoln/Sac Indian Trail and Pioneer Cemetery. Here you will find a segment of early pioneer trail used by Abraham Lincoln and the militia during the Black Hawk War of 1832. Henderson County is also home to the Henderson Covered Bridge built in 1866 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1983, the bridge was washed downstream by flood waters but was reconstructed on its original site. The history of Henderson County is recounted in its many other small towns, churches and cemeteries.
Northern Scott County in Iowa is just minutes from the Quad Cities on Highway 61. Enjoy one of the great festivals including the Moonlight Chase Run and Eldridge Summer Festival (both in July), and the Long Grove Strawberry Festival in June.
Drive past some of the richest farmland in the nation, enjoy scenic Scott County Park, the historic Pioneer Village, and two great golf courses, and stop and enjoy a leisurely lunch in Eldridge. Looking for a new bike route? Begin in Eldridge and follow the Cody Trail Bike Route. It is a 25 1/2 mile scenic route through northern Scott County that includes Walnut Grove Pioneer Village, the Buffalo Bill Cody Homestead and the future site of Lost Grove Lake.
LeClaire, Iowa is a quaint river town located north of the Quad Cities at the intersection of I-80 and the Mississippi River. This town is full of historical surprises, unique shopping, and restaurants. LeClaire is the birthplace of the famous "Buffalo Bill Cody" and features a museum in his honor. If you would like to cruise the Mississippi, board the Twilight Riverboat which offers a two-day river cruise and overnight in Dubuque, Iowa.
Church steeples, Victorian mansions on the bluff, and red brick warehouses are the images of Muscatine, Iowa, located 30 miles south of the Quad Cities via US Highways 22 or 61 and I-80. Visit the century-old business district, drive through historic neighborhoods and enjoy Pine Creek Grist Mill, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Discover Muscatine's early days, when button manufacturing was the main industry. Nearly 37% of the world's fresh water pearl buttons were provided here. Relive the history at the Pearl Button Museum.