RIA: Residence Tour

A Self-Guided Tour of Rock Island Arsenal

Residences Tour

The U.S. Government's presence on Rock Island reaches back as far as 1816 with the establishment of Fort Armstrong. From this point forward, there has been housing of some variety on the 946-acre plot of land that we now know as Arsenal Island. This tour contains just a few of these residences that have been situated on the island.

Though some residences have long-since been demolished, repurposed, and remodeled, this tour will serve as your accompaniment through a selection of homes at Rock Island Arsenal.

Please be aware that some of these homes currently have residents, and to be respectful to these occupants. Respect privacy and property as this guide takes you on a tour through time in a glimpse of the residences of the past and present.

Important Reminders

  1. The U.S. Army does not endorse nor recommend any third party applications for the purpose of this tour and is not responsible for any license that the user may enter with the developer upon the agreement to install.
  2. Please remember that Rock Island Arsenal is an active military installation. Note that some points on this tour can only be viewed from the outside and some can no longer be seen. Other points have regular business hours. Be security aware and do not wander into restricted areas or locations that are off limits.
  3. Remember to obey traffic laws and obey posted signage.
  4. Use of a mobile device while you are driving is strictly prohibited.
  5. For your own safety, and the safety of the artifacts, please do not climb on any macro artifacts that are shown on this tour.
  6. Pictures are allowed north of Rodman Ave.

To get started on the tour, click one of the tour or interest points on the left or in the menu above (depending on your device).  The number corresponds to the point of interest on your tour sheet.

If you do not have a copy of this self-guided tour, you can do so by clicking below.


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Quarters One is the former residence of 38 senior officers assigned to Rock Island Arsenal. It last served as a residence in 2008.

At more than 20,000 square feet, Quarters One was the largest house owned by the Army, and second largest in federal inventory, behind only the White House. Construction took place in 1870 and 1871, following the personal design of General Thomas Rodman, the "Father of Rock Island Arsenal." It was constructed using laborers under supervision of the Army.

Completed in 1872 under Major Daniel Flagler, General Rodman's successor as Arsenal commander, Quarters One is a three-story, 20,000 square-foot, Italianate Villa style house. Quarters One was designed as an aesthetically pleasing house befitting a commanding general, while also providing a functional space for community gatherings. It was also designed as a place for visiting distinguished guests, and traveling soldiers and families, to stay.

Like the other original buildings at Rock Island Arsenal, Quarters One is constructed of Joliet limestone. This limestone was also used to build the ten stone shops that make up the heart of RIA.

The first public gathering held at Quarters One was the funeral of General Rodman, who died in 1871. Over 100 wagons full of visitors came to pay their respects.

Over the years, Quarters One has had the honor of housing many distinguished visitors, including Charles Lindbergh, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and General John "Blackjack" Pershing.

Though no longer a residence, Quarters One today hosts many community functions, including weddings, receptions, meetings, parties, and other catered events.

This description of a home located on Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, is part of a series on the unique housing found on the installation. Information was provided by a joint effort the History Office of the U.S. Army Sustainment Command and the Welcome Club at Rock Island Arsenal.

Quarters Two was built under the direction of Colonel Daniel Webster Flagler. The architect is unknown; however, it resembles Quarters Three, which was designed by Captain Clifton Comly. It is modeled after Quarters One and is an excellent sample of High Victorian Italianate style.

A few years after the completion of Quarters Two, a second-floor addition was added to the south side and was made with Milwaukee brick. The home has approximately 6,110 square feet of floor space.

The house has a limestone foundation and exterior walls of ashlars masonry. The ornamental details, such as the grand foyer and the upstairs sewing room which juts to suggest a square tower, are often found on late Victorian residences.

The front of the house is spanned by a wide veranda with ten elaborate, cast-iron structural columns and architectural ornamental work with branching lines suggesting Gothic tracery from Rock Island Arsenal’s foundry. The iron work in the house comes from obsolete Civil War-era ordnance.

The front double doors are faced with walnut paneling and the ornate brass doorknobs were made at the arsenal’s foundry. The floor in the foyer is made with black- and white-checkered Italian marble. The shutters for the windows flanking the foyer are walnut, as are the beautiful baseboards.

On the ceiling in the foyer is a large plaster rosette ceiling medallion. A double front door with large panes of etched and frosted glass is found at the entrance to the center hallway.

The center hall has the original, striking combination of a light oak and dark walnut floor; the remaining floors on the first floor are made of narrow oak. At the end of the hall is a handsome walnut staircase with molded railings, elaborately turned walnut balusters, and an octagonal tapering newel post with a square base.

There is a rare original cast metal statue of a Renaissance soldier holding a torch on the newel post. The soldier is said to resemble Brigadier General Thomas Rodman, the “Father of Rock Island Arsenal,” and there is an identical statue in Quarters One. The original sword has been missing for years.

Walnut wainscoting with a chair rail goes up the main stairway. Woodwork and trim in the rest of the house are made of fine solid walnut.

On the first floor there is a dining room, living room, den (originally the servants’ quarters before the second-floor addition), a powder room under the main staircase, a modern kitchen with a butler’s pantry, and a laundry room.

The dining room has an elaborate cut and polished brown marble mantelpiece and hearth and narrow oak floors. It also has an ornate glass, brass, and copper chandelier that is old but not original to the house. The dining room has the original walnut window shutters and walnut baseboards.

The living room has a fireplace with an elaborately cut and polished white marble mantelpiece and hearth. The living room’s walnut window shutters have been painted white and the floor is narrow oak.

The den has a wood mantel shelf over a tan brick fireplace and hearth and a beautiful walnut bookcase.

At the top of the curved stairway there is a curved walnut window. This window is present in the house because it was the original outside wall before the upstairs addition was constructed a few years after the completion of the house. The upstairs foyer has a beautiful plaster ceiling rosette.

There are four bedrooms, a sitting area, a sewing room and three bathrooms on the second floor. The front two bedrooms, the sitting area, the sewing room and the two bathrooms are original to the house. The two southern bedrooms and bathroom were part of the second-floor addition.

The second floor’s northeast bedroom has an elaborately cut and polished white marble mantelpiece and hearth. The northwest bedroom has a green, marbleized slate mantelpiece with gold-filled, decorative, incised lines and a white marble hearth. The southwest bedroom has a brown, marbleized slate mantelpiece with black panels and gold-filled, decorative, incised lines and a white marble hearth.

The upstairs floors are oak, except for the narrow maple flooring in the north bedroom and sewing room. The rear hall has pine flooring. The house was plumbed originally. None of the original plumbing fixtures are still in the quarters today; however, the central bathroom contains an old, but not original, clawfoot tub.

Of the original pieces of furniture, only an antique curio cabinet remains. It is a beautiful walnut display case with three shelves behind curved glass for holding the owner’s precious collections. This piece features two distinct tiers. The top tier is supported by very ornate carved Gothic columns supporting another shelf. The curved front glass adds elegance, while the beveled mirrors on the back of the cabinet and the legs which feature the claw on ball add to the beauty of this incredible piece.

Quarters Two still contains a functioning servant call box in the kitchen. Located in several rooms throughout the house are doorbells that alerted the staff to the room that needed attention. After answering the call, the servant would pull the lever to clear the box until the next bell rang.

This description of a home located on Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, is part of a series on the unique housing found on the installation. Information was provided by a joint effort the History Office of the U.S. Army Sustainment Command and the Welcome Club at Rock Island Arsenal.

Quarters Three was built under the direction of Colonel Daniel Webster Flagler at a cost of $35,000. The architect was Captain Clifton Comly. He prepared the plans in 1871, while he was temporarily in charge of Rock Island Arsenal during Brigadier General Thomas Rodman’s illness. It is believed that Captain Comly was also the architect for the other quarters on the island.

The Italianate-style plan for this residence mirrors, on a less grandiose scale, the general style and detailing of Quarters One. It contains approximately 7,500 square feet of space; the foundation is limestone masonry, and the exterior walls are Joliet limestone.

The front porch is girded by grillwork forged on Rock Island Arsenal and supported by eight elaborate cast-iron columns. The decorative front fencing was also forged on the arsenal and made from captured ordnance and horseshoes.

The foyer features a black- and white-checkered marble floor, solid walnut doors to the outside, and double doors with frosted glass between the foyer and entrance hall. The foyer doors retain elaborate cast brass knobs with the silhouette of a Renaissance soldier.

Most of the doorknobs in the house are brass; however, several of the upstairs bedroom doors have the original white porcelain doorknobs. The main stairway is a straight-run staircase with walnut wainscoting and a chair rail on the left side. It is made of walnut with a molded railing, turned balusters, and an octagonal tapering newel post with square base and turned cap.

The floor in the hallway and dining room is varnished, alternating ash and walnut. The hallway floor was replaced in the summer of 2021.

The first floor plan is based on a typical Italianate residential plan with 14-foot ceilings. The center stair hall on the main block has a foyer to its north. The hall is flanked on its west side by a double parlor and on its east side by a dining room; a butler’s pantry and breakfast room are found at the northeast corner.

The breakfast room (formerly two small pantries) retains original tall wood china cabinets, now painted white. A small powder room is tucked beneath the main stairway. The wing extends south of the butler’s pantry and contains a kitchen and a laundry room. The kitchen had a large open fireplace that also opened to the laundry; the flue is six feet by eight feet. The fireplace was enclosed in the late 1980s.

The dining room has a painted, pressed-metal cornice and rosette in conjunction with a pressed-metal ceiling. The cornice has a running molding along the wall with a ceiling border of square panels. The rosette is a large square panel with running molded borders surrounding an inner square. Inside the square is an inner circle with twelve radiating segments.

The metal dining room ceiling is an ornate, late Victorian pattern of square panels with an anthemion (an ornamental design resembling clusters of narrow leaves) in each corner radiating from a central boss. It also contains a molded, varnished, walnut plate rail and large varnished walnut corner guards. Walnut shutters grace the 10-foot windows.

The dining room fireplace has an elaborately cut and polished gray Italian marble mantel. The floors of ash and walnut match the hallway. There is an old, but not original, china cabinet which may have been made at the arsenal featuring double doors with beveled leaded glass within a diamond pattern. A beautiful hunting sideboard (originally found in Quarters One) with elaborately carved animal figures on the front doors has been moved to Quarters Three; it may also have been made at the arsenal. A Tiffany style lamp is on the sideboard.

The front parlor fireplace has an elaborate cut and polished light gray Italian marble mantelpiece and hearth. It has a beautiful ceiling medallion. In the early 1900s, when electricity was installed, crystal chandeliers hung in the front and back parlors. They have since been removed.

A cabinet in the front parlor was made at the arsenal in the 1880s and is the only one remaining of the original five or six that were built. The back parlor has an elaborately cut and polished brown/gray Italian marble mantelpiece and hearth. Forged on the arsenal, the fireplace screen contains a brass bomb decoration representing the Ordnance Corps symbol.

Floor-to-ceiling windows in the front and back parlor room and dining room allow access to the porch. In the ceiling of the stairway is a skylight measuring about three by six feet which, at present, is filled with debris, keeping light from shining through. There are plans to clean it and install a light tube. At one time, there was an identical skylight in the roof. It has been replaced by a modern vent.

The attic in this house has a tin-lined redwood tank, three feet by five feet by four feet deep, which was used for a gravity-fed water system. It was filled with rainwater collected from the roof. The attic has a maze of chimneys for the many fireplaces in the house. The brass doorknobs and hinges were cast at the arsenal. Cabinets and closets also have brass drawer pulls; many are engraved with the initials “US.”

The second floor consists of four large bedrooms at the front of the quarters. The house was originally plumbed, and two of the bedrooms have an adjoining bath or contain a separate lavatory. The other two bedrooms share an adjoining closet.

Three of the bedrooms have elaborately cut and polished, white Italian marble mantels and hearths, all the same style but different from each other in small decorative details. A step down into the lower part of the second floor leads to two smaller bedrooms which acted as servants’ quarters, separated by a bathroom which contains an old, but not original, clawfoot tub. One of the small bedrooms has been converted to a walk-in closet.

A very narrow, steep stairway leads from this part of the second floor to the kitchen. The second floor has varnished narrow oak (not original) flooring. The back wing has varnished maple flooring.

This description of a home located on Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, is part of a series on the unique housing found on the installation. Information was provided by a joint effort the History Office of the U.S. Army Sustainment Command and the Welcome Club at Rock Island Arsenal.

Quarters Four is an excellent example of High Victorian Italianate style architecture, especially in its use of an asymmetrical plan, a primary design goal of the style which was rarely achieved.

According to Colonel Daniel Webster Flagler, who supervised construction on Rock Island Arsenal, the building site was selected in June 1871, and construction was completed during the summer of 1872. The architect was Captain Clifton Comly, who prepared plans for the quarters in the spring of 1871 while he was temporarily in charge of Rock Island Arsenal during Brigadier General Thomas Rodman’s illness.

Comly’s Italianate plan for the residence mirrored the general style and detailing of Quarters One on a less grandiose scale. This beautiful example of 19th century residential architecture contains approximately 6,985 square feet of floor space and has experienced relatively few modifications and alterations. The exterior walls are 24 inches thick at the foundation and are made of Joliet limestone. The roof consists of asphalt shingles covering a hipped roof of wood.

The “L” shaped screened porch across the front of the house is girded with grillwork forged at Rock Island Arsenal. The porch limestone piers support nine elaborate cast-iron columns. Between the columns are diamond patterns made from wood lattice painted tan. The bases of the columns are sets of cast-iron brackets. The entire porch is screened from floor to ceiling. The ceiling and floor are painted tongue-and-groove board, and the porch roof is covered by copper.

The massive front doors are solid walnut; the door knocker, locks, intricate hinges, and doorknobs are brass and were forged at the arsenal. The foyer doors retain elaborate, cast-brass knobs with the silhouette of a Renaissance soldier.

The floor in the entry hall is black and white marble block laid in a diamond pattern. The brass chandelier was installed when the quarters were converted from gas to electricity in about 1918. The hall tree with brass-plated umbrella stands on each side was built on the arsenal in the 1890s.

The stairway is of walnut construction with a molded railing, turned balusters, and an octagonal tapering newel post with a square base and turned cap. The walls going up the stairs have vertical board wainscoting with a chair rail. The first story flooring in the main floor has been covered with wall-to-wall carpeting, and is probably varnished alternating oak and walnut boards as in the other quarters.

The second story has a varnished narrow oak floor not original to the house. Throughout the first and second floors, there are wide, molded walnut baseboards; however, most are painted white. Elaborate white plaster ceiling rosettes are centered in the ceilings of the foyer, the main stair hall, the dining room, and the parlors.

The first floor plan is a high-style Italianate interior with an asymmetrical plan. The main block has a foyer in the center of the north side which flows into the main stair hall. A pair of parlors is located on the west side and the dining room fills the southeast corner.

The wing east of the main block contains a service hall and two pantries, a kitchen which at one time had a fireplace, a laundry room, and a service stairway. There is a powder room tucked beneath the main stairway.

The northwest parlor has 14-foot ceilings which are decorated with an ornate plaster medallion. This parlor has a beautiful, elaborately cut and polished white Italian marble mantelpiece and hearth.

The southwest parlor has a marble fireplace identical to the one in the living room. It is the only wood burning fireplace out of the six in the house, three on each of the main floors. The other five accommodate coal. None of the fireplaces are operational today.

The first floor pantries retain original, tall, wood china cabinets, which are now painted white. The dining room is large enough to permit a seated dinner for 20 or more. The rich, deep colors of the original walnut shutters that cover the two 12-foot windows have been painted white. The chandelier is brass and crystal. The dining room fireplace has an elaborately cut and polished brown/gray Italian mantelpiece and hearth.

The second floor plan corresponds closely with that of the first floor. The west wing contains three large bedrooms and the master bathroom, which overlooks the Mississippi River and has a large private bath measuring 90 square feet. A second bath is located between the other two rooms in this wing. This bathroom was updated in 2008.

The three main bedrooms have fireplaces with elaborately cut and polished white marble mantelpieces and hearths. The mantelpieces are the same style, but small differences in details make each unique.

The east wing contains two additional bedrooms and a family room, or sixth bedroom, and another full bath. This bath contains an old, but not original, clawfoot bathtub, and the walls are white wainscoting. The house was plumbed originally.

The original wooden water tank which was filled from rainwater collected from the roof survives in the wing attic but is no longer in service. A rear stairwell from this wing permits descent into the laundry and kitchen portions of the first floor.

This description of a home located on Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, is part of a series on the unique housing found on the installation. Information was provided by a joint effort the History Office of the U.S. Army Sustainment Command and the Welcome Club at Rock Island Arsenal.

The gracious lifestyle of the “Old Army” still lingers at Quarters Six on Terrace Drive. It is one of Rock Island Arsenal’s two residential buildings which distinguishes itself from the earlier officers’ quarters found to the west of Quarters One.

Although not of the same style and material as the earlier Rodman-influenced Italianate style quarters, this turn-of-the-century home was constructed in a style and scale that complements the earlier architecture of Quarters One through Four. The design that the architect selected for Quarters Six appears to be the “best in style,” with elements drawn from various sources.

When Rock Island Arsenal expanded its mission in 1899 by adding small arms production, additional residences were required for the officers assigned to the arsenal to guide manufacturing of the 1903 Springfield rifle. To help meet this housing requirement, Quarters Six was built in 1905 by Colonel Stanhope E. Blunt at a cost of $13,500.

Quarters Six is situated apart from Quarters Four to avoid contrast. The great divide between Quarters Six and its earlier counterparts also serves to diminish any possible sense of discord between the styles of the older and newer houses on Terrace Drive.

Quarters Six is a fanciful, eclectic building with a complex yet attractive skyline of hipped roofs and gables with curving slopes and dark eaves that contrast the light tan walls constructed of Milwaukee brick. Mansard roof covers and hipper dormers on the north and south sides add to the appeal.

The size and uprightness of this structure complement the earlier Italianate Quarters. Significantly, Quarters Six was the first officer’s residence designed with electricity.

A large porch wraps around the north and east sides of the house, catching summer breezes and beautiful river vistas. The porch around the north and east side of the house has Ionic columns complemented by railings and banisters made of wood painted tan. The porch adds variety and softens the strong lines of the structure.

The entrance has double doors crowned with a Palladian window. The leaded glass is beveled in a design of broken circles which is repeated in other parts of the house.

The large main foyer is characteristic of the era, and the hanging light sconces are decorated with oak leaves that are original to the quarters. Unlike the older quarters, Quarters Six was designed with coat closets built into the entrance hall with decorative windows that are right and left of the main double doors, adding to the overall detail and charm of the home.

The foyer has dark oak wainscoting and beamed ceilings. The leaded glass and the paneling make this gracious entrance to this old mansion a thing of great beauty.

The focal point of interest in the entrance hall is the dark oak staircase that rises to a landing at the rear of the structure. The varnished oak staircase is highlighted with open spinners, balustrades with turned spindles, and paneled newels with denticulate caps.

Echoing the design of the fanlike windows at the front of the house, a large window facing south illuminates the landing of the second floor. There is another window on the third floor that is arched, repeating the lines of the fanlike windows. When the sun shines, the walls, ceiling, and floor sparkle with dancing prisms of light.

The living room (front parlor) is a large and very light room because of its eastern exposure and painted white woodwork. One of the large windows in the bay area appears to be three long windows; however, the center window can be raised high enough to create a “door” to the porch.

The fireplace is set at an angle between the two walls and shares a chimney with the fireplace in the library. Faced with tile and framed by a white wooden mantel, it is decorated with Corinthian columns on either side joined with a flowering swag. The lining of the fireplace is metal and was forged on the arsenal. Pocket doors can be closed from the foyer.

Sliding pocket doors also divide the living room from the library (back parlor). This room is lined with oak bookcases made at the arsenal, as was the oak wainscoting. There is a picture molding around the edge of the ceiling. The library fireplace is faced with tile and is framed by a dark oak mantel.

The most beautifully detailed room in this home is the dining room. A huge Palladian window overlooking the Mississippi River dominates the north wall of the dining room. The top panels of the center arch and the side lights are composed of heavy leaded glass, which is beveled and in a half-circle fanlike design. This same design was used in the front door and in the two-story high window behind the stairway. The design and prism effect of the beveling can be fully appreciated in this room.

The wall opposite the window is equally interesting. The fireplace is faced with “Rose and Lemon” tile and surrounded by an oak mantel. The fireplace is centered between built-in oak china cabinets. These cabinets feature leaded glass doors in a “diamond design” with highlights of carved lion’s heads.

The breakfast nook was originally a serving pantry. The modernized kitchen is lined with oak cabinets. Although it appears to be short, the window behind the sink reaches down to the floor behind a false wall.

Originally, there was a chimney in the far west wall of the kitchen which was probably a vent for a wood burning stove. The servant’s stairs open off the rear hall that runs across the back of the house. A small cozy room behind this hall serves as a small study. The powder room under the stairway is original.

The second and third floors of the mansion have large center halls which are wainscoted with dark oak. All the bedrooms open onto these halls. The second floor has four bedrooms, two with fireplaces. There are also two full baths on this floor. At the west end of the second floor are the servant’s quarters with a full bath. The third floor has three bedrooms, one bathroom, and a recreation room.

Quarters Six contains two pieces of furniture built at the arsenal. The pieces were made primarily from walnut and include a freestanding chest with a white marble top and a long bench.


This description of a home located on Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, is part of a series on the unique housing found on the installation. Information was provided by a joint effort the History Office of the U.S. Army Sustainment Command and the Welcome Club at Rock Island Arsenal.

Quarters Seven is at the east end of the main row of quarters. It was built under the direction of Colonel Stanhope E. Blunt and is a fine example of late 19th century architecture

Quarters Seven was designed in a turn-of-the century eclectic style, meaning that the architect chose what appeared to be the best from diverse sources and styles. Quarters Seven and Six both fit closely in the Colonial Revival style, with gabled roofs and columns popular in 1895.

The home has a very irregular plan, including two-story bay windows and a porch across the main façade of the house. The wide veranda commands a sweeping view of the Mississippi River and the old golf course. It has a concrete basement with limestone walls.

The exterior walls are of wood framing, with bevel-clapboard siding up to the second-floor level and wood shingles above a flared belt course at the second-floor level. The roof includes gable and mansard sections with a detailed cornice along the second-floor ceiling level. The shingles were updated in the spring of 2021, which is believed to be the first time since the original build of the home. They cover a hipped roof of wood construction. Quarters Seven is the only one of these quarters with a wood frame construction.

This home, as well as Quarters Six, was built to accommodate new officers who were assigned to Rock Island Arsenal organize and supervise the arsenal’s small-arms plant during production of the new Army standard issue rifle, the Springfield 1903. With 4,300 square feet of living space, Quarters Seven has a more relaxed charm about it than the other quarters along the island’s north shore. There is a wide porch that surrounds the front and left sides of the house, which are supported by Doric columns.

The main entrance way has a double entryway. The outside glass doors are now painted white and there is a small vestibule. The front doors are walnut with intricate carving below the windows.

In the spacious foyer, there is a small alcove with a U-shaped seat by the window which covers a firewood box. The inside doorway directly opposite the front door is crowned with a delicate, curved, and detailed wood scroll work done on the Arsenal during the early 1900s. Over the years, the foyer’s oak paneling, molding, and banister on the main staircase have been painted white.

The original chandelier has been replaced. Beautiful beveled glass above the front door and windows throughout the house gives added brightness on sunny days. You can glimpse the other rooms from the foyer. Above the main entrance door is a leaded beveled glass window.

There are bay windows in both the den and living room and a blue tiled fireplace and hearth in the living room. The double mantel is supported by beautifully carved double Gothic Columns in the corner of the living room. This fireplace shows detail work in the columns and mantel. The brass andirons and ornate brass fender were made at the arsenal. There is an intricately detailed brass insert that frames the blue tile around the opening of the fireplace.

The den has a unique corner fireplace built with terra-cotta colored brick. The top of this corner fireplace has brick set in an Egyptian-style design. The unusual color and style it a valuable addition to this home. There is a similar, smaller version in the library of Quarters One. The fireplace screen was made by arsenal workers.

Three large windows at the end of the dining room include a middle window that was a door leading to the porch. Above the middle window is an elegant, beveled glass window with a commanding view of the Mississippi River. The original chandelier has been replaced. The oval table by the windows and the buffet sideboard are pieces that remain in the house.

The dining room leads to a laundry room and large butler’s pantry with built-in cabinets. A storage area with cabinets, shelves, and a half-bath are off the butler’s pantry. The large kitchen in the back of the house leads to a small porch with columns. The rear staircase or servant’s staircase is off the kitchen.

The grand main staircase leading to the second floor has three intermediate landings. The stairs, newel post, and baluster were light oak; however, only the stairs remain natural. The others have been painted white. The staircase has an elaborate turned oak baluster with six oak newel posts with denticulate caps. Two glass windows line the staircase walls and at the top of the stairs is a large window with diamond-pattern woodwork.

The upstairs has four large bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a small sewing room. There is a large bathroom off the master bedroom. Down the hall from the master bedroom is another large bedroom. Both the master bedroom and second large bedroom contain bay windows with a center large window which has a decorative, oval-shaped wood design and two small flanking windows with an elongated diamond-shaped wood design. All the upstairs windows have the decorative diamond-shaped pattern in the upper windows.

The second large bedroom has a great view of the Mississippi River. It is joined to a third bedroom by a shared bathroom. There is a fourth bedroom with a bathroom which was originally the servant’s room. The home has a large unfinished attic with a ladder that goes to a lookout point on the roof.

The doorknobs on most of the doors are oval and are either made of copper or brass. They are elaborate in detail with designed plates behind the doorknobs. The same pattern is on the window handles throughout the house.

This description of a home located on Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, is part of a series on the unique housing found on the installation. Information was provided by a joint effort the History Office of the U.S. Army Sustainment Command and the Welcome Club at Rock Island Arsenal.

General Thomas Jackson Rodman’s plan for Rock Arsenal called for the construction of ten large stone manufacturing shops which would be supplemented by various administrative, residential, and storage facilities. All would have similar Greek Revival architecture.

In 1888, the arsenal received funds from Congress to construct a headquarters. It was one of the last buildings erected under the scope of Rodman’s plan. This building was the first permanent structure at the Arsenal designed solely for administration purposes.

The building is now known as Building 360 and was constructed of Joliet limestone. It is situated west of the north row of shops lining Main Avenue (now known as Rodman Avenue). Though in a Greek Revival style, it shows an influence of Richardsonian Romanesque style in the asymmetrical massing and use of round-arched window openings for three pairs of windows.

Building 360 served as headquarters for Rock Island Arsenal from 1889 to 1922. It housed the offices of the post commander and his assisting officers, and also many other departments, including the mail and finance sections. During the time Building 360 served as headquarters, eight commanding officers ran the arsenal from its offices.

During the severe decline in military activity following World War I, the Arsenal consolidated its manufacturing processes largely into Building 220 and moved its headquarters to the building next to it. Building 360 sat empty or was used for storage through most of the 1920s and 1930s.

In 1934, the Arsenal received funding to convert this building to family housing. RIA Public Works Administration employees may well have done the conversion.

With the reorganization of buildings on Rock Island Arsenal in 2004, these quarters were returned to administrative usage and are no longer used as private residences.

This description of a home located on Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, is part of a series on the unique housing found on the installation. Information was provided by a joint effort the History Office of the U.S. Army Sustainment Command and the Welcome Club at Rock Island Arsenal.

Building 81 replaced an old wooden structure which served as the Union Army hospital. It contained a dispensary, an emergency treatment room and the surgeon’s office, and was the living quarters for the hospital steward.

On the first floor was the surgical room, two offices and the pharmacy. It has 10-foot ceilings and hardwood floors. Now only the dining room and a small kitchen dining area have wood floors. All the other rooms are tiled or carpeted.

The medical ward, dental room, squad room and veterinarian’s laboratory and offices were located on the second floor. Now, this area is divided into four bedrooms, each 15 feet square. The ceilings are 9 feet, 6 inches high.

The basement contained the diet kitchens, supply and stock room, and the drug room, and also functioned as the morgue. It has eight-foot ceilings. A Dutch door on the supply room and the framework of a huge cabinet from the drug room remain in the house.

The home has no fireplaces; it was built with a central heating system and originally was heated by the main boiler plant which heated all the stone shop buildings on the Arsenal.

After World War II the house was converted into Quarters 34.

Many people at Rock Island Arsenal are familiar with the Confederate Prison Barracks that existed here during the Civil War. But far fewer know about the role of Italian prisoners of war who lived and worked on RIA during World War II.

By June 1943, over 14,500 Italian POWs resided in camps throughout the United States. When Italy agreed to join the Allied Powers in October 1943, the U.S. developed a program that would allow captured Italians to assist with the American war effort. Under this program, Italian POWs would perform a variety of manual labor jobs in order to help ease labor shortages.

On July 16, 1944, the 38th and 40th Italian Quartermaster Services Companies arrived at Rock Island Arsenal by train from Pine Camp, New York. Their mission was to assist with the many labor-related projects on the installation.

The Italians were permitted to volunteer for non-combat duty in special service units of the U.S. Army. Each volunteer signed a pledge to perform any assigned duty except combat on behalf of the U.S. against the common enemy, Nazi Germany. These former POWs were often referred to as “signees,” having signed the pledge, though they were still detained in the custody of the U.S. military.

Upon their arrival, the Italian Service Units were assigned to the stone barracks, Building 90, and two other quarters. After they worked on the arsenal for a few months, and after demonstrating good behavior, Col. Norman Ramsey, commander of the arsenal, relaxed some of the limitations placed on the Italian Quartermaster Service Companies.

In September 1944, Ramsey established a limited pass policy for Italian signees. The Italians had to stay in groups of five and remain under the escort of an American Soldier while off the installation. Two groups of five each were granted passes each Sunday to visit local communities and attend Mass at Roman Catholic churches.

Throughout their stay on Rock Island Arsenal, the Italians assisted with a wide variety of projects. They packed and shipped tank and motorized gun carriage parts; crated tank motors; salvaged mechanized parts; painted vehicles; and loaded and unloaded the large volume of freight railcars that came onto the arsenal daily.

A report from Col. C.A. Waldmann, commandant of the RIA Ordnance Center on the arsenal, noted that 25 of the Italian workers at the center accounted for over 30,000 hours of labor and saved more than $14,000 of taxpayer money in the salvage of used lumber. Many other officers and leaders at RIA also noted the important contributions of the Italian Quartermaster Service Companies.

Of the 426 Italian signees assigned to Rock Island Arsenal, only 15 were returned to prisoner of war status for disciplinary reasons. Still, several local veterans organizations protested against the Italians being assigned to the arsenal. They expressed concern for the safety of the community and what they saw as the excessive liberties permitted to the Italians.

This opinion would persist throughout the duration of the Italians’ stay at RIA; however, with few negative incidents involving the workers, public opinion in the area remained largely positive.

On Sept. 22, 1945, the Italian signees departed Rock Island on a special troop train to begin their journey back to Italy, ending another unique period of history at Rock Island Arsenal.