The Government realized this island’s importance in 1809. At the time, an act of congress appointed it as a military reservation.
The Rock Island Arsenal has played a crucial role in every military clash since the Black Hawk War of 1832.
In 1969 it was listed on the National Register Of Historic Places and in 1989, its buildings became National Historical Landmarks.
Rock Island Arsenal provides support in the areas of law enforcement, housing maintenance, security management and crime prevention services. Telecommunications services are a priority. All branches of the military are represented at Rock Island Arsenal including Army Reservists and National Guard troops.
The installation is considered to be primarily a civilian base and has a population of just over 8,100 civilian employees who call Rock Island Arsenal home. Active duty military compose about 800 members of the population, including active duty Navy, Coast Guard and Marines stationed on the west side of the Arsenal. The Army Sustainment Command, Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center, Joint Munitions Command and the First Army are also at Rock Island Arsenal.
Rock Island was awarded the City Livability Award by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2007 for being one of the best mannered cities in the U.S. and for its strong history of sustainable neighborhoods. Rock Island is known for festivals like Gumbo Ya Ya-Mardi Gras Festival and a Reggae and Jamaican festival in summer. There is a huge go-kart street race held every Labor Day weekend and an Irish Folk Festival in September. Costume contests for kids round out fall activities along with a scavenger hunt and Fright Night.
There is one commissary on post and one post exchange, along with golf and a gym. Rock Island features many sports opportunities with two beautiful golf courses and riverfront trails for hiking or biking. The Great River Trail traverses for 62 miles for adventurous hikers. In summer, residents are treated to a water ski show. Rock Island boasts an exceptional quality of life.
There are no schools on post. Students attend schools in the Moline School District. Elementary students go to Franklin Elementary while others attend Wilson Middle School or Moline High School. The post does have three Child Development Centers to care for children from ages 4 weeks to 12 years. There are also licensed family care options available.
Medical care services are offered by the U.S. Army Health Clinic which sees active duty members regularly. Care for dependents and retirees at the clinic depends on availability. Many people choose medical care off post.
Housing for Rock Island Arsenal is very limited on post with only about 50 homes for everyone from junior enlisted to Officers and Generals. There are about 75 homes off post that are leased by Rock Island Arsenal for use by residents. There is no temporary lodging facility. Local hotels are used and lists of those that offer discounted rates to military are available. For these reasons, most active duty and civilians assigned to Rock Island Arsenal choose to live off post.