I love winter! It’s truly one of my favorite seasons. There is such beauty in the winter. From the pristine look of new fallen snow to the intricate snowflakes that fall from the sky. I suppose winter is one of the reasons that I enjoy living in the Midwest. I created several new winter photo mandalas using my nature photography to celebrate my love of this season! Hopefully, these new winter photo mandalas will help to shake away some of those winter blues!
I love mandalas. And I love photography. Therefore, creating beautiful mandalas from photographs is something that I really enjoy. I love how combining photographs can create something completely different from the original. Basically, I created several templates using Illustrator to combine my photographs into a mandala.
Consequently, I created several new winter photo mandalas in celebration of the beauty of winter. These winter photo mandalas use photographs of icicles, ice sculptures, winter icons, and other elements found within my nature photography. I placed these photos into the various photo mandala templates to create these new digital artworks.
Reminisce about childhood and building snowmen on those fun winter days with this photo mandala. Ice Snowman uses a photograph of an ice sculpture. I love how this photo mandala forms into a snowflake design. Yet, it still retains the details of the ice sculpture. In addition to the art print that is available in the Adria Black store, I also have this mandala available on a number of home decor products through Society 6.
Another fun photo mandala for winter is Snowflake. I created this piece using a photo of a white, lighted Christmas tree. Again, this photo mandala forms a glowing, white snowflake design! The art print is available in the Adria Black store. Additionally, I have this winter photo mandala available on a number of home decor products through Society 6.
Another interesting artwork, this photo mandala features holly berries that had fallen onto some brick pavers. The details that were captured in this photograph are amazing! Additionally, the geometric patterns in this piece are very interesting. The art print is available in the Adria Black store. Additionally, I have this winter photo mandala available on a number of home decor products through Society 6.
Another holly themed photo mandala. Holly uses a photograph of an actual holly bush, capturing a festive and wintery feel. In addition to the art print that is available in the Adria Black store, I also have this mandala available on a number of home decor products through Society 6.
Another winter photo mandala that used a Christmas tree photograph is Merry Christmas. This photo mandala truly captures the traditional feel and colors of the Christmas season. The art print is available in the Adria Black store. Additionally, I have this winter photo mandala available on a number of home decor products through Society 6.
I hope these new Winter Photo Mandalas have helped you see some of the beauty of winter in a different way. I know that we all get a bit blah due to the winter blues. Plus, dealing with the yuck that comes with this season. But let’s not forget that there is beauty in winter, as well. I’d love to hear what you think of the new winter photo mandalas in the comments below! To purchase any of these pieces, simply click on the photos above.
In honor of Veteran’s Day this year, I wanted to showcase several of the Veteran Memorial sites located within the Quad Cities area of Iowa and Illinois. The three sites I focused on are the Veteran Memorial Park in Bettendorf, Iowa; the Hero Street Memorial & Park in Silvis, Illinois; and also the 74 Bridge.
Veteran Memorials in the Quad Cities
Truly, Veterans are an important part of our society. These people have chosen to risk themselves for our benefit and our freedoms. It is important that our communities honor these people and acknowledge their part in our history. Thankfully, we have several sites within the Quad Cities area of Illinois and Iowa, devoted to honoring these Veterans. I’ve included one Veteran Memorial site for each side of the Mississippi River, so there is one accessible to you no matter where you live or visit in the Quad Cities.
The Veteran Memorial Park in Bettendorf, Iowa
The Veteran’s Memorial Park in Bettendorf, Iowa honors those who have fought for our freedom. The Veteran’s Memorial Park is located on 23rd street between Middle Road and Lincoln Road. The memorial’s pillars list about 800 names of local Veterans. 43 of Scott County’s soldiers died fighting in the Vietnam war.
The Veteran’s Memorial Park has several interesting amenities, such as the Bill Bowe Memorial Bandshell and a playground for children. Additionally, the Bill Bowe Memorial Bandshell hosts concerts by the Bettendorf Park Band and ice cream socials during the summer. The playground was updated in 2013, moving it from it’s previous location near the Bandshell. The playground was moved due to frequent flooding from the nearby Duck Creek. Also, the new playground is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, including a surface made of rubberized tiles. It is wheelchair accessible and, truly, a lovely playground for kids. Moreover, the park has a movie in the park series throughout the summer that features popular children’s movies.
Not only is it important for adults to remember and honor these brave people, but it is also important that we, as parents, educate our children on these matters as well. Additionally, it is our duty to inform our children, so these Veterans are not forgotten. We honor these Veterans so that we may support those who died, and those who came home.
Hero Street Veteran Memorial Park & Monument in Silvis, Illinois
The Hero Street Veteran Memorial Park & Monument in Silvis, Illinois honors those citizens of Second Street who chose to defend the United States. Notably, over 100 men and women from Second Street in Silvis, Illinois have given service to the United States military. There is no other street, of comparable size, that has had as many men and women give service to the Armed Forces of the United States of America than the 1 and 1/2 block long street in Silvis, Illinois.
Fallen Heroes at the Hero Street Memorial
Ultimately, six of these 100 Military men and women were killed in action during WWII and two during the Korean War. In May 1967, the former Mayor of Silvis, William Tatmen renamed the street to Hero Street USA in recognition of these men and women’s contributions to our country. In addition, the city decided to build a park dedicated to honor the eight deceased service men from Hero Street USA in 1971. The park has a pictorial monument, a Grotto, a playground and a Pavilion. The monument has pictures and biographies of the eight-deceased veteran from Hero Street. Also, the Grotto displays the names of all war dead from Silvis.
Furthermore, a group of men and women met in January of 1993 seeking to propose the building of a lasting granite and bronze monument for the park on Hero Street USA. The Hero Street Monument Committee formed and committed themselves to oversee this project.
The Hero Street Memorial is a Tribute to all Veterans
Ultimately, the Hero Street Monument serves as a tribute to all American veterans who have served proudly in the Military Forces of the United States of America. Therefore, it is important that we pay homage to all those young men and women who answered the call to defend their country. To all those who shed their blood and paid the supreme sacrifice, so that we may enjoy the rights and freedom that our country holds so dear.
The Hero Street USA sign in Silvis, Illinois. Hero Street is a Veteran memorial site in the Quad Cities. Photograph by Adria Black Art. Prints and other products are available with this photograph at Society 6.
The Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge (also known as the I-74 Bridge)
Another Veteran Memorial in the Quad Cities area is the Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge, often called the Twin Bridges or the I-74 Bridge. This is Veteran Memorial honors those Veterans from World War I to the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Originally, the I-74 bridge was dedicated in November, 1935, in the memory of Iowa’s and Illinois’ World War I Veterans. A re-dedication occurred with the building of the second span of the bridge (1959) to honor local Veterans of both World Wars. Finally, The Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge was dedicated to include local area veterans from the World Wars and those who served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars when it was opened to Interstate 74 traffic (1970s).
Veteran Memorial Park Events for Veteran’s Day 2017
Additionally, there are events occurring this weekend to honor our Veterans at some of these Veteran Memorial sites.
10 a.m., Saturday, Hero Street Memorial Park, 145 2nd St., Silvis, with a speech by Maj. Gen. Edward Daly, commanding general, U.S. Army Sustainment Command.
10 a.m., Saturday, Hero Street Monument, 1st Avenue and 2nd Street, Silvis, with members of Mexican American Veterans Association (MAVA) offering a gun salute and taps. Also participating will be members of the Patriot Guard Riders.
2 p.m., Saturday, Veterans Memorial Park, 1645 23rd St., Bettendorf, U.S. Army Colonel Bradley J. Cook, will speak. Mayor Bob Gallagher, Alderman Greg Adamson and the commanders from the VFW, VVA, and American Legion will attend.
As we go into this weekend, let’s remember our Veterans. Do not let them be forgotten, nor let others forget them. After all, these brave men and women have fought for the freedoms that we often take for granted. Ultimately, our Veterans are an important part of our society, our history, and our local communities today. Show them the support that they deserve for the sacrifices they have made for our country.
I’m always fascinated by old, historical buildings and the mix of architectural styles that you can find in the Quad Cities area. So with Easter coming up, I decided to go in search of some of the historically important local churches in the city of Moline, Illinois. These churches began in the early days of Moline’s history. These three churches continue to operate, serving the local community, in their original locations in the downtown area.
I was immediately drawn to these three churches because of the similar brick architecture and their early impact on Moline’s religious history. Despite the various ages of these three churches, they have a timeless feel, which I think is due to their use of brick materials. All of these churches have a massive presence, gorgeous windows, and architectural features that make them unique. These three churches have also become landmarks in Moline.
Moline’s Early History
The Sauk and Meskwaki Indians were the first permanent settlers in the Moline. These Sauk and Meskwaki Indians founded the village of Saukenuk in 1720. The village of Saukenuk was along the Rock River. A factory and industrial town started along the Illinois shore of the Mississippi River in 1843. This town was originally called Rock Island Mills. When the town incorporated in 1848 the name changed to Moline.
Moline’s founding fathers were primarily from New England and their efforts attracted Swedish, Belgian, and German immigrants. Additional waves of immigrants came after World War II from France, Eastern Europe, and Mexico. This mix of diverse, cultural heritage has created an eclectic and broad range of cultural experiences to this local community.
First Lutheran Church in Moline, Illinois
For over 165 years, the First Lutheran Church has been an important part of the Moline community. The First Lutheran Church began as The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church. In 1850, Swedish pastor, Lars Paul Esbjorn, organized the church. Construction began on the church in 1851. The church completed the building of a wooden church, measuring 24 feet by 36 feet in 1852. The First Lutheran Church was the first Swedish Lutheran church completed west of the Appalachian Mountains.
The church completed several more expansions and further construction projects to meet the demands of the community. Finally, the Church decided to build a new brick church in 1875. This is the current building that First Lutheran Church resides in today. Planning for the new church began a month later. The new church had a mix of Swedish styles, Gothic style windows, and the contemporary style of American Protestant churches in the 1870s. The traditional Swedish architectural styles added to the new church were the barrel ceiling, the semicircular shape of frescoes, the doorways, and even the hymn boards.
The original mission of the First Lutheran Church was to attract the growing population of Swedes that were moving to the Moline area and their descendants and help them in their worship of God. Today the First Lutheran Church attracts people far more multi-cultural than its original Swedish roots. The theme of the ministry is “Faithful, Liturgical, Beautiful: First Lutheran Church”, and the First Lutheran Church seeks to worship God, serve others, support one another, and invite all people to share in the Christian ministry.
Christ Church in Downtown Moline, Illinois
The Christ Church in Moline, Illinois is over 100 years old. According to the history explained on the Christ Church website, this church was originally dedicated in 1895, and the congregation still worships in the original building today! This Episcopal church was a late arrival in Moline’s early history, but the planning for this church began in the 1850’s when Moline was still a fledgling community. The Episcopalians first worshiped together in family houses and then later in other denominations’ churches. In an effort to build their own church, in 1868, a building committee formed and began fundraising efforts to create the Saint Paul’s Church. Unfortunately, funding was not readily available and the building of Saint Paul’s was not completed.
Next, the people of the Moline church met with Bishop Burgess in the Diocese of Quincy in 1891, and they organized a mission church with their first priest, Father Robert Hewitt conducting services. Over the next four years, the congregation began fundraising efforts, eventually purchasing a lot. The church constructed a simple frame building. This building was 35 feet wide by 75 feet long. The people dedicated this church as The Christ Church. Within ten years, The Christ Church acquired a rectory, added the vestry and a parishioner donated the awesome rose window.
The Christ Church began extensive renovations in 1948. During these renovations, the Church bricked the exterior frame, constructed the bell tower, and added an apse behind the original altar. The Christ Church remains committed to staying a downtown Moline, Illinois church, fulfilling the hopes and dreams of the original congregation, and ministering to the local community through the sharing of God’s word.
St Mary’s Catholic Church in Moline, Illinois
The St. Mary’s Parish was the first Catholic parish in Moline, Illinois, as well as opening a Catholic school at the parish in 1884. While I couldn’t find much information about the history of this Catholic Church, I did find some related information about the Catholic school from Illinois High School Glory Days. According to Richard Soseman, Catholic worship began in Moline as early as the 1600’s due to the visit of Fr. Marquette and Joliet in the area. The local area Catholics built the Saint Anthony parish during the 1850’s. This parish was later replaced in 1878 with Saint Mary of the Assumption.
The Catholics of Moline asked the Sisters of Charity to open a school for the children. Saint Mary’s built a one room school-house in 1884. This school quickly began to educate children in all grade levels. The school continued operating for some time until the community built additional Catholic schools. The Archdiocese decided to close the high school portion of St. Mary’s in 1949 when a new Catholic high school was built in Rock Island (Alleman). The school continued for some time with educating at the grade school level, although this eventually stopped as well.
The St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Moline, Illinois still operates today. The old school is still used for various parish purposes.
I’d love to hear from you if you’ve been to any of these churches. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions on other historical buildings or churches that I should photograph for my Documenting the Quad Cities project. Let me know in the comments below! All of these prints are available on Society 6, simply click on the photo of the piece you like and it will take you directly to the shop!
Vander Veer Botanical Park is a place you simply must visit when in the Quad Cities area. Currently, Vander Veer is hosting the annual Spring show, Spring in the Conservatory, until June. We’ve checked out the Spring show for the last three years, and it is always a delight to visit. Atizle loves to see the different flowers and play throughout the Botanical Park.
8 Awesome Reasons to Visit Vander Veer Botanical Park this Spring
There a ton of fantastic reasons to visit Vander Veer Botanical Park. First, it’s a beautiful area and very well-maintained. Also, Vander Veer Botanical Park is amazing for both children and adults. You can take in the beauty of nature, get in some fitness activities, feed the ducks, have your kids play at the park, check out the various gardens, or relax by one of the fountains on the grounds. There is a ton to do at Vander Veer Botanical Park!
#1. Admission to visit Vander Veer Botanical Park is Free!
The only area that charges admission in the Vander Veer Botanical Park is the Conservatory. However, the cost for adults (17 and older) is only $1.00 and children are free. The Conservatory is simply beautiful with a mix of local Midwestern plants in the current season, as well as tropical plants. The Conservatory is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm, and admission is completely free on Tuesdays. Also, the Vander Veer Botanical Park is open daily from sunrise to a half hour after sunset. Consequently, this makes the Vander Veer Botanical Park one of the cheapest attractions in the Quad Cities area for both children and adults to visit!
#2. Don’t Miss the Midwest Spring Blooms and Tropical Plants in the Vander Veer Conservatory
The Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory is currently hosting the annual Spring show, Spring in the Conservatory. These displays are a part of Vander Veer’s history for over 100 years. These annual floral shows continue the tradition of exhibitions from the 1860s, when Vander Veer Botanical Park first started featuring tropical flowers and rare plants in the Grand Exhibition Hall. Currently blooming in the Conservatory for March are Azaleas, Powder Puff Plants, Daffodils, Hyacinths, Genistas, Camellias, Cymbidium Orchids, and Primrose. The annual Spring show will continue through June when the Summer Tropical Plants begin to bloom. These gorgeous flowers make a visit to the Vander Veer Botanical Park entirely worth it!
#3. Vander Veer Botanical Park is a Place for Both Kids and Adults
The Vander Veer Conservatory has several features that will draw the attention of your children. For example, there are several really interesting topiaries that Atizle loves to check out every time we visit. Plus, there is a small playhouse inside the tropical garden area for children to enjoy while the adults are checking out the beautiful flowers. Also, the Vander Veer Conservatory has a small koi pond that both children and adults will love!
Another feature that children will love is the playground near the Vander Veer Lagoon. Close by (and within shouting and visual range) is a meditation pathway where adults can take some me-time while the kids play. These bright, colorful stones are the perfect place to recenter yourself as you walk the circle after a long day!
#4. Visit Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Lagoon and Feed the Ducks
Another awesome feature about Vander Veer Botanical Park is the Lagoon. The Lagoon is nearby the children’s playground. It is the home to the a variety of water fowl. There are vending machines that you can buy corn to feed the ducks. And the ducks are very, very friendly. Especially during this time of the year when the park is not getting the number of the visitors that it typically brings in during the summer months.
When we visited the Vander Veer Botanical Park the ducks were actually chasing my car! I actually got a little nervous that they would climb into the car with me if I didn’t hurry up and give them a treat!
The Lagoon is also stocked by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for catch-and-release fishing. Consequently, the Lagoon is another awesome feature that both children and adults will enjoy while visiting the Vander Veer Botanical Park!
#5. Vander Veer Botanical Park is Perfect for Fitness Enthusiasts
Another reason to visit Vander Veer Botanical Park is the trails and pathways to walk or jog. The outer perimeter of the Vander Veer Botanical Park has a 0.9 mile lap for those seeking a beautiful place to walk, jog, or even walk the dog. It’s a great place to take in the beauty of nature while getting in some fitness activity.
#6. Vander Veer is the Quad Cities Area’s Version of Central Park
Originally, in 1885, when the City of Davenport purchased the land to be used as a park it was named Central Park. Thus, the design of Vander Veer Botanical Park was modeled after Central Park in New York City. Also, the park featured one of the first conservatories west of the Mississippi with the building of a Lord and Burnham palm house in 1897.
The park was later renamed in 1912 in honor of A. W. Vander Veer, who was the first secretary of the Davenport Park Board of Commissioners. Additional features and expansions have kept the Vander Veer Botanical Park current and interesting for visitors. In 1910, the Vander Veer Botanical Park added heated greenhouses to house flowers and plants throughout the year. The Grand Allee was also built, creating a pathway to the Main Street entrance fountain from the Conservatory and Garden areas. The current Conservatory at Vander Veer Botanical Park was built in 1954.
#7. Numerous Gorgeous Gardens to Experience
The park itself has numerous garden areas like the Rose Garden (established in 1948), the Hosta Glade (established in 1998), and the Children’s Sculpture Garden (established in 1999). The Rose Garden features a fountain area, a cool walkway, and over 60 varieties of roses. The Hosta Glade hosts a collection of over 600 varieties. The Hosta Glade has been designated as one of the first National display Gardens of the American Hosta Society. The Children’s Sculpture Garden is home to Amber, Adam, and Cole: Grammy’s Flower Children by Ted McElhiney, a set of bronze sculptures along with some of Vander Veer’s dwarf conifers. There is also a giant Praying Mantis sculpture that was donated by Dick Southwick, which Atizle loved (even though she hates anything that might be a bug..).
#8. Visit Vander Veer Botanical Park and You Will Always Find Something Fresh and New
Finally, there is always something new at Vander Veer Botanical Park. This 33.8 acre park has so many features that it is incredibly difficult to take it all in on one visit! From the Grand Allee to the Lagoon and various Gardens, Vander Veer Botanical Park will take several visits to fully appreciate this beautiful spot in the Davenport, Iowa. Plus with the Conservatory’s rotating seasonal flower shows, there is always something new blooming at the Vander Veer Botanical Park!
Additional Photographs from Vander Veer Botanical Park
I’d love to hear what your favorite spots to visit in Vander Veer Botanical Park are. Let me know in the comments below! All of these prints are available on Society 6, simply click on the photo of the piece you like and it will take you directly to the shop!
I am constantly trying to expand my skills in photography, and recently I’ve been working on learning my way around Adobe Photoshop to create digital artwork. For the March Mixed Media collection, I wanted to really emphasize Spring. Once I started playing around with my spring photographs, I discovered a very interesting way to create a compilation of photographs that look almost like they came from a child’s Kaleidoscope. I really love how these Kaleidoscope photographs turned out, and now I just can’t stop making them! The geometric designs are just so cool!
Creating Spring Kaleidoscope Photographs
All of these photographs were taken at Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory during their free Spring Show preview. The Conservatory is an amazing place to visit in the Quad Cities Area. Atizle and I try to make at least a couple of visits every year to watch the flowers and blooms change through the seasons.
Next, I arranged 16 – 20 of the original image onto a canvas in Adobe Photoshop. I continued to work with the images through the rotation features until I had a composition that I loved. For these pieces, I focused on creating geometric patterns that felt balanced.
Geometric Patterns on Society 6 Products
These images turned out so beautiful and unless you look very closely you cannot see the original Spring floral images, but they still have that bright, Spring feel! These new Kaleidoscope photographs look so cool on their own. But I think they look amazing when applied to the Society 6 products (which you can do with the majority of my photographs and artwork). Check out this Kaleidoscope photograph on some of the Society 6 products.
Spring Photographs from The Vander Veer Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa
Therefore, I created several of these kaleidoscope photographs using photographs from the Vander Veer Spring Show. I loved all the brightly colored flowers at the Conservatory, as well as the pattern of the skylights. Below you can see some of the other spring photographs that I captured at the Vander Veer Botanical Park Conservatory’s Spring Show in Davenport, Iowa.
Spring Kaleidoscope Photographs
Finally, I also created kaleidoscope photographs from these images, which you can check out below. All of these prints are Giclee prints and therefore keep those vivid, bright colors that make Spring so special after the long Winter. You can also get these Spring kaleidoscope photographs on all the other products that Society 6 offers, such as bedding, beach towels, pillows, tote bags, and cell phone cases.
I would love to hear what you think of these new Kaleidoscope photographs. Do you love them and want to see more photographs in this style? Let me know in the comments below! Also, don’t forget to check out the abstract tie dye patterns from last week, which are also part of the March Mixed Media Collection! All of these prints are available on Society 6, simply click on the photo of the piece you like and it will take you directly to the shop!
Farming is a huge deal, not only within the Quad Cities, but for Iowa and Illinois at large. Farming has a huge impact on the local economy of the Quad Cities with local jobs coming from actual working farms or other farm related areas and companies, such as John Deere. If you’ve ever driven through any of Iowa, I’m sure you’ve noticed a ton of corn fields and soybean fields.
Atizle was napping in the car for this photography session, however, the day was gorgeous and bright with a ton of cool clouds so I just couldn’t resist going for a drive through Bettendorf, Iowa’s country roads to check out some of the local farming fields, buildings, and equipment.
5 Facts About Iowa Farming
A fabulous source of information on the farming history of Iowa is the Living History Farms of Urbandale, Iowa, which is an interactive outdoor history museum devoted to educating and connecting people to the Midwestern rural life experiences. Farming has been a part of this area’s history since the Ioway tribe began tending small gardens of corn, beans, and squash in the 1700s.
1. Iowa is #1 in corn, soybeans, pigs and eggs than any other state in the United States.
According to the Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa grows more corn and soybeans than any other state in the country. In addition, Iowa raises more pigs and produces more eggs than anywhere else in the country, as well. Iowa also ranks #4 for cattle, #9 for turkeys, #10 for sheep and lambs, and #13 in milk production.
2. Iowa has approximately 88,000 farms
The Iowa Farm Bureau states that Iowa has approximately 88,000 farms and 129,000 farm operators, and more than 97% of Iowa farms are owned by Iowa families.
3. 1 in 5 Iowans Work in Agriculture
Not only is farming itself a huge source of Iowa work, but Iowans also work in a ton of agricultural related fields. This is also evident in the Quad Cities area, where John Deere is one of the largest employers in the area. According to the Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa agriculture and related industries contributed to 418,777 jobs in 2012, accounting for about 21% of total jobs in Iowa.
4. Iowa is the 5th Windiest State
The Washington Post published an article in 2014 that lists the top 5 windiest states in the United States. The windiest state is Nebraska, followed by Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota and Iowa. Since Iowa’s wind is so strong, Iowa has been able to capitalize on this through wind energy. Now Iowa farmers help generate more than 35% of its electricity through wind power, which is the best in the nation, according to the Iowa Farm Bureau.
5. Iowa has farmed corn throughout it’s history
According to The Living History Farms of Urbandale, Iowa, the people of Iowa have been farming corn since the 1700s. The Ioway tribe farmers began this tradition by farming corn, beans, and squash and would raise just enough to feed their families throughout the year. Once the pioneer farmers arrived in the 1840s and 1850s, they began to farm corn, wheat, and potatoes. The corn was used to feed the animals on the farm, while the wheat was sold to mills to make flour for bread. Potatoes were a large part of the pioneers’ diet. By the 1900s, farmers in Iowa were raising mainly corn, hay, and oats to feed the animals on the farms. Soybeans also became a major crop for Iowa farmers around 1930.
Farming has always been important to Iowa
So as you can see, farming is an important part of Iowa today, and has been vital throughout its long history. I simply couldn’t continue with my project of Documenting the Quad Cities, without including this part of our area’s history and culture.
Here’s a few more photographs of local Bettendorf, Iowa farms:
Did you learn any new facts about farming in Iowa? Tell me in the comments below! All of these prints are available for purchase at Society 6, simply click on any of the photos that you love and it will take you directly to purchasing options.
Atizle and I often go on road trips when nap time is approaching. Driving along in the car is one of the only sure-fire ways for her to get a nap anymore. We discovered the Centennial Garden at Middle Park in Bettendorf, Iowa during one of these driving-around-hoping-for-a-nap days. Despite being in the middle of winter, this garden was still beautiful to walk through and was quite awesome in the design and landscaping.
History of the Centennial Garden
The Centennial Garden was developed to celebrate Bettendorf’s Centennial in 2003. According to a Quad Cities Times’ article, Sue Laimans came up with the idea for the Centennial Garden at Middle Park, while she was serving as the Beautification Committee Chairman, because Mayor Ann Hutchinson wanted to create something permanent to mark the city’s milestone. The idea was to fill the garden with plants that were popular during each of the decades of the city’s first century.
The Landscape Architect, Todd Wiebenga of Aunt Rhodies Design Studio, created the garden in a flower shape so that each petal of the flower would represent a decade in Bettendorf’s history. Each petal has been planted with perennials that were introduced or available during that specific decade. There are 228 different species in the Centennial Garden, so the flowers in the garden are constantly changing throughout the seasons as the different perennials bloom.
The center portion of the garden is dedicated to the 2000’s and hosts the memory stones, which individuals or businesses could purchase to commemorate a special event or person . A gorgeous metal structure called the Decagon of Honor encloses the 2000’s garden and shelters the memory stones. Another unique feature of the Centennial Garden is the Steps of Progress that have all of Bettendorf’s Mayors names and term dates engraved on them.
Highlights from the Centennial Garden
The Decagon of Honor is a really cool, unique feature to this garden. It adds such an interesting design element to the garden that I tried to capture it in a variety of ways while we were there. It also contrasted with the brown of the plants in winter in a really interesting way. Atizle loved the memory stones, as well as the Steps of Progress. It was another grey, wet, rainy day that we were out photographing, and it gave the stones throughout the Centennial Garden a really cool look in the photographs.
We will definitely be returning to the Centennial Garden again once the flowers start to bloom! Have you been to the Centennial Garden at Middle Park in Bettendorf, Iowa? Let me know in the comments below what your favorite parts of it were!
All of these prints are available for purchase at Society 6, simply click on any of the photos that you love and it will take you directly to purchasing options.
There are many iconic landmarks in the Quad Cities. But the I-74 bridge is the one that defines the Quad Cities area to me. It showcases this area’s relationship and connection with the Mississippi River and how it has greatly affected the area through economic, cultural, and technological advances. Whenever I am shooting photographs along the riverfront, I try to find a way to capture the I-74 bridge within some of the shots, as well.
Atizle almost always joins me in my photography sessions and she was super excited about this one, because we got up close and personal with the Mississippi River. Check out the quick vlog that we did during this shoot below!
10 Facts You May Not Know About the I-74 Bridge
During my research on the history of the I-74 Bridge, I found a fabulous article from the Iowa Department of Transportation that details the entire history of the I-74 Bridge. This bridge has an 82-year-old history and will not be around much longer, as the bridge is not up to the latest Interstate standards and cannot keep up with the current daily crossing capacity of the vehicles that use it on a regular basis.
#1. The I-74 Bridge is actually the Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge
The I-74 bridge is officially known as the Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge, although it is often called the Twin Bridges or the I-74 Bridge. It was originally dedicated in November, 1935, in the memory of Iowa’s and Illinois’ World War 1 Veterans. When the second span of the bridge was built (1959), the bridge was rededicated to local veterans of both World Wars. The Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge was finally dedicated to include local area veterans from the World Wars and those who served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars when it was opened to Interstate 74 traffic (1970s).
#2. The I-74 Bridge is a Pair of Suspension Bridges
The Twin Bridges are actually a pair of suspension style bridges that carry Interstate 74 across the Mississippi River and connect Bettendorf, Iowa, and Moline, Illinois. These bridges display classic details that are shared with many of the suspension bridges associated with their designer and engineer, Ralph Modjeski, who also designed the Delaware River Bridge (later renamed to the Ben Franklin Bridge).
#3. Ralph Modjeski designed the I-74 Bridge
The Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge was designed by the engineer, Ralph Modjeski, who was born in Poland in 1861. His first commission was in 1893 when he designed a bridge that would combine a railroad and highway bridge. This bridge is also in the Quad Cities area (The Government Bridge) in Rock Island, Illinois. His last project was the design of the second span of the Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge. So Modjeski started and ended his career in the Quad Cities area.
#4. The I-74 Bridge Began as a Toll Bridge
The first span of the I-74 Bridge opened as a toll bridge in 1935. Traffic studies indicated that creating a toll bridge between Moline, Illinois, and Bettendorf, Iowa would effectively pay for itself. The tolls remained in place until the bridge came into the Interstate System in the 1970’s. The last toll was taken on December 31, 1969. The toll rates were 15 cents for cars, 5 cents for pedestrians, and trucks varied based on size and weight.
#5. The I-74 Bridge has a Capacity of 48,000 Vehicles
The Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge was built for a daily crossing of 48,000 vehicles. While the daily average is 80,000 vehicles according to a letter sent to the Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, in December of 2015 by Cheri Bustos, a Congress Member for the 17th District of Illinois.
#6. The I-74 Bridge was one of the Public Works Administration’s Projects in the Quad Cities during the Great Depression
The I-74 Bridge was original funded by the Public Works Administration (PWA). The PWA was created and directed by Harold L. Ickes under the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933. The goal of this project was to focus on major infrastructure and other large-scale projects, such as building dams, bridges, irrigation systems, in order to stimulate the economy and provide permanent improvements for the United States’ Citizens. The first span of the I-74 Bridge cost $1.45 million, which was paid back to the US government through the tolls that were collected.
#7. The Twin Bridges are Almost Identical
Despite the two spans of the Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge being built at different times (1935 and 1959), the two spans are virtually identical. Modjeski’s original design plans for the first span were used, with slight modifications, when the second span needed built to accommodate the increased traffic.
#8. The I-74 Bridge had to Undergo Significant Changes to Join with the Interstate
When the Twin Bridges were brought into the Interstate in the 1970’s, a number of changes had to be made to the original designs so that it fit current Interstate standards. Some of these changes were the removal of sidewalks, replacement of railings that had been along the sidewalks, removable of the tollbooth, construction of new on-and-off ramps on both sides of the river, and no longer allowing pedestrians across the bridge.
#9. The I-74 Bridge was the Third Way Across the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities
Before 1935, when the first span of the Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge was built, the only way to travel between Moline, Illinois and Bettendorf, Iowa was by ferry or (after 1896) by crossing the Government Bridge between Rock Island, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa.
#10. The I-74 Quickly Became an Iconic Landmark
The Twin Bridges quickly became an icon for the Quad Cities after their construction. Images of the bridges immediately appeared in local business advertising, as well as on Quad Cities postcards. The Twin Bridges continues to be an iconic landmark of the Quad Cities area even today!
We also captured a few shots of the Mississippi riverfront and the stairs to the marine.
Did you learn any new facts about the Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge? Tell me in the comments below! All of these prints are available for purchase at Society 6, simply click on any of the photos that you love and it will take you directly to purchasing options.
One of my favorite settings for shooting my photography is in crappy weather. Rain or snow, or even those icky gray days that make you not want to get out of bed. Those are totally my days. I simply love the even tones of light and the sense of calm and peace that the weather can have on the mood of a photography session. I also love to create contrast through my composition choices and the even lighting helps my photographs to still feel cohesive. It was one of these crappy, gray days that Atizle and I stumbled onto the Architectural Sculpture Park in Davenport, Iowa, near the Village of East Davenport.
The Architectural Sculpture Park
The Architectural Sculpture Park in Davenport, Iowa may be a little known secret to many visitors and residents. This park has some really cool sculptures based on local Davenport architecture, history, and proximity to the Mississippi River. The project was originally facilitated by the Quad City Arts, and it was a community wide partnership with nearly 50 citizens and three local artists with the goal of creating a collaboration that focused on visual interpretations of the industrial, environmental, or human heritage of the Mississippi.
All of these architectural pieces are unique, educational, and allow for children to interact with them. Atty loved exploring the various buildings and was quite upset that the Queen Anne style tower did not have a door that she could go into.
The two pieces that we really loved were the Queen Anne style turret and the block house scene based on the block house at Fort Armstrong on the tip of Arsenal Island. While we were at the Architectural Sculpture park we learned that the Queen Anne style can be found in a lot of the architectural designs in the Village of East Davenport, which is merely a couple blocks away from the Architectural Sculpture Park.
Also, we learned that Fort Armstrong was originally built-in 1816 to establish closer ties with the local Indian tribes (Sauk and Mesquaki), as well as to aid in the fur trade along the Mississippi River. I loved all the informational signs that were placed throughout the park to add educational value and learning to this exploratory adventure.
The Mississippi Riverfront
While Atty was playing and running through the building structures, I turned around and saw a gorgeous view of the Mississippi River. Despite the coming storm, the Mississippi River was fairly calm, but it was also partially frozen. This gave the scene a vintagey mood and made me think of times gone by when this area would have been bustling. I was able to capture a few photos of the distant Interstate 74 bridge, along with the boat marina before it started to rain on us. Thus, ended our adventure at the Architectural Sculpture Park with us both looking a bit like drowned rats.
Have you ever visited the Architectural Sculpture Park in Davenport, Iowa? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below! All of these prints are available for purchase at Society 6, simply click on any of the photos that you love and it will take you directly to purchasing options.
There is something magical about falling snow. Especially when there is fog and the snow is still falling. I love capturing snowy speckles across my photographs. This winter we haven’t had many snow days. I think this was the third or fourth snow of the season. So I knew that I definitely wanted to take advantage of this gorgeous day to go out and shoot some photos.
I decided to head down to the Rock River in Colona, Illinois. The rivers around our area have a huge impact on our community as a whole. Already this year, we have had massive flooding from the Rock River and the Mississippi River across the Quad City Area. And since I grew up in Colona for part of my childhood, I have a certain attachment to the Rock River and watching it’s different cycles throughout the year.
A Brief History of Colona
Colona is actually a merged, small rural city that combined the City of Green Rock and the Village of Colona in 1997. Green Rock was named for it’s location between the Green River and the Rock River. Where the name Colona came from is still rather elusive, but Colona has had settlers in the area since 1835. Colona is the currently the home of one stop light and 5,000 people. The Green River, Rock River, and the Railroad have all had a large impact on this community. And Dairy Queen was apparently started by John McCullough in this area (Green River, Illinois).
Hennepin Canal Park
Another body of water that connects this area in the Hennepin Canal. This is an abandoned waterway between the Mississippi River and the Illinois River. It was originally opened in 1907, but it ended up being abandoned because of railroad competition. The idea behind the Hennepin Canal was to reduce the travel distance between Chicago and Rock Island, Illinois. Today, the Hennepin Canal is used strictly for recreational purposes.
I began this photography session with taking photos of the snow-covered road headed to the Hennepin Canal Parkway and the boat launch for the Rock River. I couldn’t help but stop and snap a picture of some fallen trees, along the gravel road, that had already been covered with snow in the few minutes since it had begun snowing. Atty was also not very happy with this little detour to the boat launch, because we passed the Hennepin Canal Park, and she really wanted to go play. She did not understand why we couldn’t go slide just because it was snowing and it was cold. Ah… to be three years old again!
I also found a fabulous group of geese that were swimming along in the Hennepin Canal, completely undaunted by the snow falling around them. It was a pretty cool experience to see them so closely, without them being in a hurry to fly away from me.
The Boat Launch and Rock River View
The Hennepin Canal feeds into the Rock River near the boat launch. It was pretty cold that close to the river and the wind blowing the snow froze my fingers pretty quickly. The Hennepin Canal was pretty much a block of ice and snow this close to the river, but the Rock River itself was smooth as glass. The effect of the fog coming off the Rock River gave the entire scene such a soft and dreamy feel to it. It was absolutely silent at the river. No birds. No animals. Not even the water lapping up on the shore. The only sound was the wind blowing through the channels.
The entire scene left me feeling calm and serene. Let me know in the comments how these photographs made you feel! Do you love the beauty of snow? Also, if you’re a local Quad Citian, tell me about any experiences you have with the Rock River. I’d love to hear all about them!
Every year in January, I sort through my various art-related interests for a project to kind of focus on for the year. For 2017, I decided to tackle a rather large project. Atizle and I have been exploring various parts of our local area, the Quad Cities in Iowa and Illinois. The Quad Cities is a unique area with the Mississippi River joining two states (Iowa and Illinois) through jobs, businesses, economies, tourist attractions, and local events. The Mississippi River plays a huge role in how this community operates, as well as connects with one another. And my project for the year is to try to document these experiences and explorations through the Quad Cities that Atizle and I take together through photography. The Quad Cities is traditionally defined as Rock Island and Moline in Illinois, and Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa. However, there are numerous small towns that play into this area as well such as Colona, Illinois; Milan, Illinois; Silvis, Illinois; Dixon, Iowa; Eldridge, Iowa; and Buffalo, Iowa. There are also several small cities that tend to get left out of the traditional grouping such as LeClaire, Iowa and East Moline, Illinois.
During this project, I am looking to capture the parts of the Quad Cities that make this community so special and unique to those who live here, have been here to visit, and those who have lived here in the past.
Documenting the Quad Cities Project
This project is a series of photographs focusing on the traditional Quad Cities areas, as well as some of the smaller communities that don’t get as much recognition in this area. My goal with this project is to compile a collection that can later be printed into a coffee table style book with information about these areas and specific sites within the community that make the Quad Cities so special to those of us who know this area. This project also allows my daughter and I to explore the area a bit deeper than we have before and to find new locations that we love and enjoy. I want to document a large range of topics within this project, from unique restaurants and foods that have originated here to landmarks in the area to sights along the rivers than connect our community (such as the Mississippi River, Rock River, Green River, etc).
I seek to deepen our connections to this fabulous community that we live in. I want to showcase what makes our little spot in the United States so very special. I want to highlight the way that these communities, small towns, and cities have worked together to create a beautiful thing that has the ability to mix urban beliefs, suburban beliefs, and rural beliefs and still function together as one amazing community. Farming has a huge impact on our local area, as does the Mississippi River, and the cultural offerings of the Quad Cities. The Quad Cities is an amazing art and cultural community from music, such as bluegrass, and various art forms, and the Quad Cities is also a melting pot of different ethnic traditions from Native American Indians to German and Polish heritages to Mexican and other Hispanic origins to African heritages to Asian origins.
These photographs and art prints are designed with the purpose of showcasing these connections that Quad Citians make with this amazing community that we live in. It is a glimpse into a very unique world where all three of these categories of people (urban, rural, and suburban) can come together, form lasting relationships, and create a fabulous community. We live in a gorgeous area and I seek to showcase some of that beauty that you might not have discovered if you have been here (or live here) and also to give you the opportunity to capture a peek at some of the beauty that may be around you, going unnoticed within your own area.
When I was working on my Bachelors in Photography at Southern Illinois University (in Carbondale), I took a class called small town documentary. And I loved it. The whole premise of the class was to find a small town in rural Southern Illinois (there’s a lot of those there) and to spend the whole semester documenting the town you chose through photography and written notes. One of the requirements for choosing the town that you would work in for the semester was that it could not have a Wal-Mart within 30 miles, I believe. I choose to document an amazing town called Coulterville. And it such a cool experience! I was able to go down into a working coal mine and experience a working auction house and all kinds of really cool things that I would not have ever done otherwise! So when I was trying to think of the major project that I would focus on for this year, I was reminded of this class from my college experience. However, I didn’t want to document another small town. I wanted to increase the scale a little bit more to create a larger body of work that I felt would affect more people on a larger scale. That’s why I decided to document the entire Quad Cities area. By the way, we have four Wal-Marts in the local area. So it’s definitely a bit larger than the college project!
Local Area Connections for Learning about Our History
I also loved the idea of taking my daughter (3 years old) with me to experience this really cool area that we live in. It allows us to show some of the places that have really made an impact on the people who live here. It also creates connections and helps you to relive some of those special memories. When you see a picture of a cornfield, you may remember doing the corn shucking (what was that called) in highschool for some extra money in the summer or when you see photos of the Mississippi River, these photos may call to mind boating with your family or going to Buffalo Beach in the summer and looking for various shells along the beach.
Increased Cultural Awareness
I also want to highlight local area businesses, because we have a really awesome small business sector in the Quad Cities. From the mom and pop shops that grown immensely in their time here such as Happy Joes, Azteca, Hungry Hobo, and Whiteys Ice cream to the awesome ethnic grocery stores that help connect our various ethnic communities within the Quad Cities. It is truly these places that bring us together and build our local community.
I want to hear from you!
What are the things in the Quad Cities that define this special area to you? When you describe the Quad Cities or have visitors what are the places that you have to tell them about or take them to see/visit? What simply defines the Quad Cities for you? And if you’ve moved away – what are those things that you miss whenever you think about this special place? And if you’ve never been to the Quad Cities, tell me what images are brought to mind when you think of the Midwest?
Let me know in the comments below! I would love to hear from you.