This was not the route I had initially planned for today. But when I found out that the people from St. Joseph the Worker House would be working in the garden to get it ready for summer, I decided to change my plans and stop by.
The starting temperature at 8:30 this morning was a cool 45° and windy, but the bright sun and blue skies more than made up for it. I had already traveled most of the first mile along 17th street. I happened across a man who was setting up for a yard sale. At the intersection of 18th avenue and 17th street, there is a small island to the northeast. On this island are some lilac bushes, a clock and a metal sculpture; a photo of this sculpture is shown above.
After this, at the beginning of the second mile, I started headed down 20th street hill, toward the river. This is where the Looney mansion is. This house was owned by the notorious Rock Island gangster, John Looney in the early part of the 1900's. A bit further down the road, I came to Lincoln Court on my left. This court is interesting in that it is a circular road, so I entered on the east side, ran all the way around the circle, and exited on the west end to turn right down 17th street hill for a block. I continued to weave my way down the hill between 17th and 20th streets, going east or west on each of the intersecting avenues.
At the end of mile 2, I found the St. Joseph the Worker House garden. There was already a group of people there and more coming. One guy was tilling the large vegetable garden, some brought tools out of the shed, and others still brought flowers and baby vegetable plants. I promised to stop back by on my way around.
I started mile 3 heading west on 9th avenue and continued to weave between 17th and 20th. I went past Word of Life church and the AT&T building and turned south on 19th street. I completely missed the one block stretch of road on 8th avenue between 18th and 19th streets. Oops.
I did stop back by the garden on my way back and found more people helping; I decided they didn't need my help, but chatted with a few of them. One woman's grandparents used to own a vegetable stand in Moline and helping here brought back memories. A group of three young ladies from the Epsilon Sigma Alpha sorority at Augustana College were there to help; I discovered that this sorority was created specifically to volunteer in the neighborhoods around the college. Cool.
When I reached the end of 19th street, I turned east to 20th street to find two ladies picking up garbage from the side of the road; I thanked them and started the long run up the hill. At 16th avenue, I turned east up one of the last brick streets in Rock Island. At the top of the hill I turned into the parking lot of the Center for Math and Sciences, a new elementary school on the location of the Villa de Chantal. The Villa was a Catholic boarding school until 1978 and burned down in 2005.
Here in the Highland neighborhood, I started mile 5 as I ran the brick streets that are part of the history and atmosphere of the neighborhood. This is one of my favorite areas to walk my dog in the evenings.
From here, I headed back to 17th street and the starting location. Happening across the yard sale again, I decided to stop and see what was available: nothing I couldn't live without.