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February 22, 2006

Splashy plans for a bridge celebration

Stopped by the third annual Henry Farnam Dinner at the River Center, organized by the folks who're busy planning for this year's 150th anniversary of the completion of the Rock Island-Davenport railroad bridge, the first to span the river.

Mark Schweibert and Ed Winborn were there, symbolizing the ancient R.I.-Davenport cooperation that brought first a railroad and then the bridge to the Quad-Cities. Main speaker was Dennis Suttles, from the new Lincoln library in Springield. Gave a brief and interesting overview of the lawsuits that arose after the Effie Afton crashed into the newly opened bridge and burned part of it.

Most interesting thing was the announcement there's hope of building a 1,400-foot wide wall of water on the river to be used as a video screen during the big bridge celebrations being planned for next fall. Wall would be just downstream from the dam, and run from Davenport to the lock chambers. Giant pumps would maintain the wall, and back-projectors mounted on the dam would turn the water into a movie screen for anyone looking from downstream.

Lots of work already done; lots more to do, and the expense may shrink the wall to half the hoped-for width or whatever. But it sounds like they're serious about getting it done.

Here's an oddity: One of the door prizes was a copy of Climbing the Mississippi Bridge by Bridge, by Mary Costello. Three hundred or more people present. The holder of the winning ticket: Mary Costello. She graciously declined, and a new winner was drawn.

Posted by jcb at February 22, 2006 10:33 PM


An idea similar to the water theater was discussed some time back, on this entry on The Inside Dope

Posted by: jcb at February 23, 2006 11:14 AM

Weekend will also include the return of the 261, the huge Milwaukee Road steam engine that was here for the 2004 Grand Excursion, complete with vintage passenger cars. Current plans include trips to Iowa City to the west and the Illinois River on the east, both on Iowa Interstate tracks. Trips to Muscatine and Savanna are possibilities. Stay tuned.

Posted by: Sally Heffernan at February 24, 2006 02:00 PM