Fort Armstrong Hotel
1900 3rd Avenue
Individual National Register Listing,1984; Rock Island's 100 Most Significant Unprotected Structures, 2009
One of the last surviving "grand" hotels in Rock Island.
Italian Renaissance Revival
Architect / Builder
Nicol, Charles W.
Guest Rooms and Apartments
Designed by Charles W. Nicol, a prominent Chicago hotel designer, the Fort Armstrong Hotel provided 160 guest rooms plus ten apartments on the top floor when it was completed in 1926. Other facilities included a banquet room, three dining rooms, a bar, bowling alley, billiard room, barbershop and seven storefronts. Jacob Hoffman was the first General Manager for hotel operations.
Center of Social Activity
Over $450,000 was raised from local stock purchases in one week toward construction of the much-needed “modern” hotel. Eventually the Fort Armstrong cost $800,000 to build. The hotel became the center of social and business functions, hosting Christmas parties, wedding and anniversary celebrations, Chamber of Commerce banquets and the annual May Day Dance.
Though named after the original Indian outpost on Rock Island in the Mississippi River, this hotel’s architecture has nothing to do with logs. This Italian Renaissance Revival building has nine stories with deep corner setbacks above the second floor. The setbacks keep the building from dominating the street and allow plenty of light into the rooms. The upper stories are trimmed in white terra cotta, while cast concrete is used for ornament on the lower two stories.
The public spaces of the hotel were restored in the 1980s and the hotel rooms were converted to apartments for senior citizens. The adjacent commercial buildings were demolished to provide green space for the residents.