Daryl and Cynthia Empen
We have lived in the Broadway Historic District for over 20 years now, and are proud to call it home. We choose to live in Broadway because we believe strongly in historic preservation. There is a shared sense of purpose in our neighborhood, and we want to ensure that these beautiful historic homes remain preserved, to tell the story of Rock Island and our history. We are on our 2nd home in Broadway, and have loved fixing up both homes. But Broadway is more than just a collection of old homes. We have great friends throughout the neighborhood who look out for each other and share our love of preservation. We are within walking distance of downtown. We have loved living in Broadway and raising our boys here. There is a shared sense of being in this all together, and we get great satisfaction from knowing we’re doing our part to maintain this beautiful home and neighborhood for the next 100 years.
Dylan and Tia Parker
If there were ever a neighborhood where your neighbors represented the vast variety of skills, knowledge, taste and culture of humanity, Broadway is it! I’ve written about why I chose to purchase our home in the Broadway Historic District of Rock Island, Illinois, in the local newspaper before, so I won’t retell that reason—that’s right, folks, I could write for days on why I love living in Broadway! To me, Broadway represents the picturesque neighborhood: We know many of our neighbors on a first-name basis, my kids run around with the other kids on our block all through the summer and we participate in community events, both as an organized neighborhood and individual.
Never before have I known so many active and involved people in a single neighborhood! If you’ve got a question on how to fix that leaky faucet, we’ve got neighbors that can help. In fact, just the other week I walked over and helped my neighbor figure out why his motorcycle wasn’t starting. We’re not only handy. You’ve got a question on how to register to vote? Or even who the local candidates are this year? Well, you bet there’ll be a neighbor nearby that’ll talk your ear off on the history and recent news regarding city government (if you want). Yes, we’ve got stay-at-home moms that make the most wonderful crafts to younger crowds that’ll fill you in on the next cool music event down at Rozz-Tox. We’ve got a DIY underground poetry venue (ran out of my garage!) and sophisticated events, like the Wine Walk or parties at the Hauberg Civic Center. We’ve got it all here in Broadway.
When I bought my first home, I knew I wanted it to be in Broadway. We are lucky to live in such a vibrant community. Keep being fantastic, neighbors! Life’s better in Broadway!
Wendy and Bill Rowand
In early 1998, Bill and I were living north of Geneseo in an old farmhouse. Bill had his construction company, Renaissance Construction, and I was teaching at the Erie Middle School, about 20 minutes away. Bob Yapp, who was at the time involved with his PBS TV show, About Your House with Bob Yapp, asked Bill to suspend Renaissance Construction and come to work for him as Production Manager at a local landmark property, 536 23rd Street, the James Beardsley House. The dilapidated structure was in line for demolition by the city when Bob purchased it. He planned to film the 2nd season of his show locally, with much to be filmed at the house project. The pictures prior to the start of renovation will attest to the scope of what needed to be done. As the project progressed, Bill began to fall in love with the house. Sometime that summer he asked what I thought about buying it. I began to see the house through Bill’s eyes and I, too, thought this could be our “forever” home. The top to bottom renovation was completed in record time since the project was scheduled to be unveiled as a “Designer Show Home” in late September of 1998. September remains a fog as we, along with many, many friends and paid employees worked long into the night, every night right up to the deadline to complete the project. Some of the friends were new friends from the neighborhood who were excited to see this formerly elegant home restored. By this time, we knew we were going to purchase the James Beardsley house. There was no way it could belong to anyone else! We moved in on Halloween 1998, as Deb Kuntzi stated in her testimonial, the same day and year that she and Paul moved into the A.D. Huesing home. We didn’t know each other at the time, but eventually met and as we compared stories, became great friends. Old house people tend to stick together! Our children were almost 18 and 20 when we moved in with our 2 golden retrievers and 3 cats. The kids gave us grief for years about moving to a huge house with three bathrooms when they were close to leaving home! Oh well. We still have dogs and cats, although not the same ones we came with. Bill and I have rooms we hardly use except when we have visitors (which is often), but we still love our landmark home, Broadway neighborhood, living in Rock Island, and our old house friends. Many have left the neighborhood, but Broadway seems to draw friendly people. We have been blessed with many new neighbors and friends over the years. After almost 18 years, Broadway is still a great place to live!