80 mph across the Rock River: NBD #TBT

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Welcome to this week's edition of "Throwback Thursday." WQAD has teamed up with the folks at Retro Quad Cities to give you a glimpse of the past. This week, some really great snapshots of how life used to be. 1

First up, 1897 Moline, Illinois. This is the view of the hillside of Riverside Cemetery. Just to the right of this view is the entrance to the cemetery. On the right side of the entrance, there used to be hand-dug earthen caves. These were used to store the bodies of the deceased in the wintertime until the ground thawed and "proper" graves could be dug. 4

Aside from the rolling hills, an allure of Galena, Illinois has always been the fact that the city hasn't changed much over the course of 150 years. This view shows downtown Galena in the 1950s. The streetscape and lights have changed, but we're wondering if there are any businesses that have survived since then...3

Here's a snapshot of the iconic twin-spans of the Memorial I-74 Bridge in Bettendorf, Iowa from 1972. What's weird is the fact that Iowa-bound traffic used to descend from the bridge onto city streets. In this view, the new connectors are being built which will allow cars to travel right across the bridge and up the bluff toward Middle Road. To the bottom right is Ross' Restaurant. "Retro Chuck" points out the similar traffic chaos that we have today in preparation for the new bridge.2

Finally, we've shared photos from the actual "chute" at Watch Tower Amusement Park in Rock Island, Illinois. This is a photo of the actual boat! The "Shoot the Chutes" ride was invented in 1888 and the very first was built where Black Hawk State Park sits today. A long wooden ramp angled upwards from the Rock River to the top of the bluff (a half block west of the current inn). Flat-bottomed boats filled with thrill seekers sliced down the greased track at speeds up to 80 miles per hour. At the bottom of the chute, the boats bounced across the surface of the Rock River. To return, the boat was pushed back to the ramp where an electric cable winched the boat back to the top.