qcmuseumweekQC Museum Week is quickly approaching! Have you started planning what museums you’re going to visit? Do you have your favorites picked out. QC Museum Week runs June 18-26th this year. This event is put on by the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau, as well as local museums.

This year’s theme is Quad Cities mysteries! Be sure to stop in to one of our many local museums to enjoy exhibits, events, special admissions, and learn more about some Quad City mysteries.

Visit the QC Museum Week website to learn more about the offers that each museum is running. You will also find the websites and contact information for each museum!

(Some of the museums are also participating in the Quad Cities Museum GeocacheGeocaching is a treasure hunt where participants are given a specific latitude and longitude that they have to travel to in order to find the treasure. )

Participating Museums

  • Afro-American Heritage Center
  • Augustana’s Fryxell Geology Museum
  • Augustana Teaching Museum of Art
  • Buffalo Bill Museum
  • Buffalo Bill Cody Homestead
  • Butterworth Center & Deere Wiman Houses
  • Catich & Morrissey Galleries
  • Colonel Davenport House
  • Dan Nagle Walnut Grove Pioneer Village
  • Davenport School Museum
  • Family Museum
  • Figge ARt Museum
  • German American Heritage Center
  • Hauberg Center – Historical Tulip Mansion
  • Hauberg Indian Museum
  • Iowa 80 Trucking Museum
  • Karpeles Manuscript Museum
  • Palmer Family and Chiropractic History Museum
  • Pine Creek Grist Mill
  • Putnam Museum & Science Center
  • Rock Island Arsenal Museum
  • Rock Island County Historical Society

turkeyGrowing up in the Quad Cities, I remember watching Bob Vogelbaugh, aka Mr. Thanksgiving, announce his annual Thanksgiving dinner on the news or the radio every year and wondering how he managed to cook up all that food by himself to feed more than 2,000 people. Now that I’m older I realize just how much he relies on donations and volunteers to make this event happen.

Vogelbaugh is a former Moline grocery store owner who began this tradition in his small grocery store more than forty years ago. His Thanksgiving feast was held at his store for seven more years until it grew so large that he had to move it to the second floor of the YWCA, where volunteers had to carry people in wheelchairs up the stairs because there was not an elevator! Now the event takes place at Southpark Mall where Vogelbaugh says volunteers are the backbone of the event. Volunteers don’t need to sign up, they can instead just show up ready to work. They also accept donations of pies at the mall office on Wednesday, November 25, or near the children’s play area at the former Deb space on Thursday, November 26.

This year is a special occasion. It is the 45th year of the Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner. As of November 12th though, the dinner was in slight jeopardy. Vogelbaugh, in an interview with KWQC, announced that to put on this dinner, he relies on donations of around $16,000 from the community and that he was only at $4,000. Check out his interview, the QC Online website, and the Southpark Mall event calendar for more information about where you can send monetary donations and how else you can help.

If you’re interested in attending the dinner, it will be served on Thursday, November 26th, from 4 to 6pm at Southpark Mall! Need a tide? Contact Metrolink at 309-788-3360.

happy thanksgiving

I love learning about local history. One of my favorite things to do is to do research and see if there are any local people who have become famous and have made it onto the national radar of notice. My newest local famous Quad City discovery is John Looney.

road to perdition dvd My journey into John Looney’s life began with the movie, Road to Perdition. This movie stars Paul Newman as John Looney, an Irish Gangster, and his adopted/surrogate son, Michael Sullivan, played by Tom Hanks. Sullivan is a hit man committing murders for his boss, Looney, who just happens to be in tight with Al Capone and the Chicago mobsters. Looney is highly involved with mobster scene in the “Tri-Cities,” which are Rock Island, Moline, and Davenport. (This is when my interest was piqued!) Mass confusion and violence happens when Sullivan’s son stows himself away in his father’s car and unwittingly witnesses a murder at the hands of his father and Looney’s biological son, Connor. After that murder, Connor feels the need to protect his father and sees the only option to be killing Sullivan’s entire family.. This movie is loosely based on part of the lives of John Looney and his son, Connor.

(This movie was based on a graphic novel, Road to Perdition, that was also written by a Quad City native, Max Allan Collins, born in Muscatine, Iowa.)

With my interest piqued after watching the movie and then reading the graphic novel, I citadel of sinwanted to learn more about John Looney’s real life. I found a biography entitled, Citadel of Sin: The John Looney story. In this book, Richard Hamer and Roger Ruthhart map out Looney’s life from birth to death. John Patrick Looney was the oldest boy of eight children born to Patrick and Margaret Looney of Ottawa, Illinois in 1866. His father moved to America in 1855 from Ireland and the family eventually settled in Ottawa, where John was born. John worked for the Western Union at the Rock Island train station in Ottawa as a telegrapher in 1881, before he moved to Rock Island in 1885 and became the head of the city telegraph station there.

In Rock Island, John’s life changed. He became interested in politics and wanted to become a prominent, wealthy, and respected member of the community. Before he turned 23, Looney was in charge of several precincts in Rock Island and was elected President of the Fifth Ward Democratic Club. Looney then passed the state bar exam and opened up a law practice. The law practice introduced him to many shady underground characters and that way of life eventually consumed Looney, leading him to manipulate the law to get what he wanted and descending into lawlessness. Check out this book to learn more about the infamous John Looney and the impact he left on the Quad Cities.

 

Hey Blog Readers! Don’t forget to comment on last Friday’s blog for a chance to win two free tickets to the Putnam Museum and IMAX Theater movie, Kilamanjaro: to the Roof of Africa. This breathtakingly beautiful movie will transport you to the exotic world of Africa as it follows a group of seven people who are climbing the largest free-standing mountain in the world. All that beauty and adventure can be yours – and you won’t even have to pack a bag or buy an airplane ticket!

To enter, simply tell us about your favorite local vacation spot – anyplace within a day’s drive (round trip) of the Quad Cities that is a favorite with you and your family. Maybe a mountain climbing excursion on a far continent isn’t in your budget, but a day’s getaway at a less exotic – but still fun – location could be just the ticket. (Also, less chance of getting eaten by a lion)

Be sure to leave your comment by midnight tonight. We’ll announce the winner on Tuesday, August 25.

Good luck!