East Moline History

1856 - Henry McNeal, Alonzo Nourse, and Alfred Sanders platted the settlement of Watertown east of the present 19th Street in East Moline. Despite plans for waterpower and industry, Watertown grew slowly, incorporating as a village in 1905. In 1914 residents voted to annex the village to the City of East Moline.

1890 - Bailey Davenport, son of Col. George Davenport, died, leaving several hundred acres of land available for development. Included was Port Byron Junction, earlier known as Rock Island Junction, consisting of a depot surrounded by frog ponds located near Ninth Street and Fourteenth Avenue in the present City of East Moline.

1895 - Edward Guyer of Rock Island and George Walker and Charles Pope of Moline formed a land syndicate, the East Moline Company, later renamed the East Moline Land Company. A plat map of the town site of East Moline, drawn by Henry G. Paddock, included plans for a harbor, parks, schools, a library, an artesian well, and a bridge across the Mississippi River. On September 12 the company held a barbecue featuring free food, music, entertainment, and a sale of residential lots, attracting a crowd estimated at 8,000-10,000. At the auction only 5 lots of approximately 2,000 were sold; the financial disaster delayed the development of East Moline for several years.

1898 - The Western Illinois Hospital for the Insane in Watertown accepted its first patients. After many name changes the East Moline Mental Health Center closed in 1980 and was converted to the East Moline Correctional Center, a minimum-security prison.

1900 - Deere & Company established its first large factory in East Moline when the Union Malleable Iron Company began operations with several hundred employees. In 1901 the Root and VanDervoort Engineering Company began the manufacture of gas engines in East Moline. In the next few years, manufacturers of automobiles, agricultural equipment, scales, and other products located in the city, bringing economic prosperity and immigrants of many ethnic backgrounds to live and work in East Moline.

1903 - East Moline was incorporated as a village in February with Walter H. Ammerman elected as the 1st village president. The village grew rapidly through large annexations and the development of industry. The streetcar, which had reached East Moline in 1902, was extended to Watertown and in 1904 to nearby Campbell's Island which, though not a part of East Moline, became a popular recreation area featuring a bathing beach and inn.

1907 - The village of East Moline was incorporated as a city in April with Dr. G. F. Johnson as its first mayor. The population grew from less than 300 residents in 1900 to 2,665 in 1910.