A Magnificent Sense of Place
Broadway Historic District, Rock Island, Illinois, is a grand Victorian neighborhood where old houses are regarded as treasures.
Great architecture, a commitment to preserving the past, and welcoming neighbors make the area an enviable place for old house lovers.
More than 550 homes make up the Broadway collection, which has numerous examples of Queen Anne, Italianate and Colonial Revival architecture. The earliest residence is from 1854, with most of the homes built between 1890 and 1915.
Broadway Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has more Rock Island landmarks than any other neighborhood.
The name Broadway comes from the original name of 23rd St., which was changed in 1876 when the city went to numbered streets and avenues. Broadway is the only street name from the old system in use today.
Many of Broadways' homes were custom built for people with professional and managerial occupations in downtown Rock Island. The neighborhood was a thriving area until the 1980s when a steep economic downturn prompted many people to leave the area.
Deteriorated properties became a common site alongside well-maintained homes that had stayed in the same family for decades. Many homes were purchased as investment properties and divided into multiple apartments.
In 1988 residents formed the Broadway Historic Area Association to stimulate neighborhood revitalization and educate people about the area's special historical features. The group successfully changed the city zoning of the neighborhood from multi-family to R-3 (one- and two-family residential). This concentrated effort helped stabilize the area and encouraged residential investment.
Becoming a National Historic District
In 1998, the Broadway Historic Area received designation on the National Register of Historic Places. The association's name and logo were updated to reflect the new status, and the neighborhood was renamed to Broadway Historic District.
A Success Story
Today, the neighborhood thrives and serves as a success story for other areas of the city and beyond. Its points of pride are its residents, architecture, and the sense of community felt by those who call Broadway home.