By Wade Ellett, Let’s Move QC Outdoors Blogger
This Veterans Day, a visit to the Rock Island Arsenal affords both a history lesson and a good walk, with tanks and cannons and cemeteries. Check it out!
Just past the entrance to the island you’ll find the Rock Island National Cemetery. Here we stopped and stepped along the Memorial Walkway.
I highly recommend that you take the time to visit this spot and pay respect to the men and women who have served in our military.
It is a somber walk, but also an inspirational one.
Please keep in mind that this is an active National Cemetery and mourners may be present; be courteous and respectful to everyone present.
Further along on the island, on the south side of Rodman Ave, you’ll find the the Rock Island Confederate Cemetery.
This is the only remnant of the prison camp that opened in December 1863 and came to hold thousands of Confederate soldiers.
The prisoners who died while imprisoned are now interred here. You can identify Confederate tombstones by virtue of their pointed tops, in contrast to the curved tops on the graves of United States soldiers.
The National Park Service has a wonderful web page on the history of the war camp located on the Aresenal. Check it out.
If you’re still on Arsenal Island, you can also consider visiting Memorial Park and checking out the Memorial Field Guns before leaving the island.
There are a number of tanks, howitzers, and guns on display here.
My favorite is the atomic cannon, which was capable of firing nuclear shells in addition to conventional artillery.
You can also consider visiting the Rock Island Arsenal Museum while on the island.
Just remember that you will need to bring identification and get a visitor’s pass, as this is an active U.S. Army facility.
Fort Armstrong is another cool lookout point on the west side of the island.
Kids love to explore the fort and watch the river and native birds.
This historically accurate replica was rebuilt in the early 20th century to commemorate the establishment of the original Fort in 1816, 2 years before Illinois became a state!
|Meet Wade Ellett, Let’s Move Quad Cities Outdoor Blogger. Wade is an outdoor adventurer who shares his passion for QC outdoor adventures here! Read his other posts by clicking here.|