Happy Sesquicentennial to the Rock Island Arsenal!

On July 12, 1861 Senator James W. Grimes of Illinois presented Bill S. 19 in the United States Senate.   It read as follows:

A Bill      

To establish a national armory on Rock Island, in the State of Illinois.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there shall be, and hereby is, established on the property belonging to the United States on Rock Island, in the State of Illinois, a national armory for the fabrication and repair of arms and other munitions of war, in which shall be employed one superintendent and one master armorer, who shall be appointed by the President of the United States, and as many workmen as the Secretary of War may, from time to time, deem necessary; the said superintendent and master armorer to receive the same compensation as is now allowed by law to similar officers in the national armory at Springfield, in the State of Massachusetts.

Sec. 2 And be it further enacted, That for the purpose of carrying this act into effect the sum of one hundred thousand dollars be, and the same hereby, appropriated, out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated.

1861 – July 12. Read twice, and referred to the Committee on Naval Affairs.
July 23. – Reported without amendment.

One year later, on July 12, 1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed the following act:

Chap. CXLVIII – An Act for the Establishment of certain National Arsenals.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there shall be, and hereby is, established a national arsenal at Columbus, in the State of Ohio, at Indianapolis, in the State of Indiana, and on Rock Island, in the State of Illinois, for the deposit and repair of arms and other munitions of war.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That for the purpose of carrying this act into effect, the sum of one hundred thousand dollars for each arsenal named in the preceding section be, and the same is hereby, appropriated out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated

Approved, July 11, 1862.

From its early days as Fort Armstrong to the Rock Island Arsenal, this military installation has had a major impact on the development and lives of those in the Quad Cities.

We wish the Rock Island Arsenal and all its workers and soldiers, past and present, a Happy 150th Sesquicentennial (or Anniversary)!

For more posts about the Arsenal, please type the word Arsenal into our search engine. It is amazing how many of our stories include the Rock Island Arsenal. This island has truly been a large part of our local history.

(posted by Amy D.)

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