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The Quad Cities 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. 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". 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 Molinemarker 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 Quad Cities is located approximately west of the Chicagomarker 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 Molinemarker, respectively.

The Davenport-Moline-Rock Island Metropolitan Statistical Area consists of four counties: Scott Countymarker in Iowamarker and Henrymarker, Mercermarker, and Rock Islandmarker counties in Illinoismarker. The Quad City Metro population is 377,625.

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 Eldridgemarker, Long Grovemarker, Park Viewmarker, Blue Grassmarker, Buffalomarker, Montpelier, Walcottmarker, Maysvillemarker, McCauslandmarker, Mount Joy, New Libertymarker, Pleasant Valleymarker, Princetonmarker, Le Clairemarker, Panorama Parkmarker and Riverdalemarker. The Illinois communities are Silvismarker, Milanmarker, Andalusiamarker, Carbon Cliffmarker, Coal Valleymarker, Colonamarker, Geneseomarker, Hamptonmarker, Port Byronmarker, Orionmarker, Kewaneemarker, Aledomarker, and Rapids Citymarker.

The Quad Cities area is one where the telephone companies cooperate with regional phone calls. Iowa and Illinois have different area codes (563 and 309marker 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 Airportmarker, located in Molinemarker. The airport also markets itself to surrounding areas as an alternative to larger airports, such as those in Chicagomarker. The smaller Davenport Municipal Airportmarker 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. The last passenger train in the area, the Quad Cities Rocket, ran between Chicagomarker and Rock Island by the Rock Island Railroad until December 31, 1978.


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 Sitemarker 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. (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 Molinemarker. 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 Molinemarker 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. Molinemarker-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 Museummarker opened or were completed during the 2000s decade.
  • Molinemarker has also attempted renewal of what was once a robust downtown. The "John Deere Commons" facility and i wireless Centermarker (then the "Mark of the Quad Cities") both opened during the 1990s.
  • In 2007, Davenportmarker and Rock Islandmarker 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 as one of the ten best places to buy a house in the United States.


Noteworthy Companies

Colleges and Universities


FM Radio

AM Radio

Analog Television




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 Airportmarker, 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 famermarker Red Auerbach coached the Blackhawks during their first NBA season. After the 1950-51 basketball season, the team moved to Milwaukeemarker, becoming the Hawks. After a second move to St. Louismarker, 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 Molinemarker. Then, starting with the 1993-94 season, The MARK of the Quad Cities (now the i wireless Centermarker) 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 Parkmarker 1960 4
Quad City Mallards IHL, Ice hockey i wireless Centermarker 2009 0
Quad City Steamwheelers af2, Arena football i wireless Centermarker 1999 2
Quad Cities Riverhawks PBL, Basketball Wharton Field Housemarker 2006 0

See also

See also



External links

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