The Times-Democrat from Feb. 11, 1972, carried a front-page story about Neil Armstrong's visit to the Quad-Cities.

Q. During the 1970s, there was an astronaut who visited the Quad-Cities. I can't remember his name. This has been bugging me since John Glenn died. Do you have any idea who it was? — Former Davenport resident

A. Is it possible it may have been Neil Armstrong? Armstrong was in the Quad-Cities on Thursday, Feb. 10, 1972, for an Augustana College seminar on space exploration. According to an article by Bill Wundram and Shirley Davis published on Friday, Feb. 11, 1972, in the Times-Democrat, Armstrong, the man who uttered the words, "One giant leap for mankind," put his footprints in the Quad-City snow that Thursday evening.

The article said Armstrong stepped off Flight 727 at the Quad-City Airport, milled with strangers in the lobby and strolled to a car in the parking lot. He went unrecognized, the article said. "Not a single person showed a sign of recognition for the hero whose feat has been likened to the exploits of Columbus, Lindbergh and Byrd."

"He sought anonymity, and he got it. His plane arrival time was guarded; even the motel reservation at the Stardust in Moline was not under his name," the article said.

Capt. Bob Enander, the pilot of the plane, told the flight engineer to invite Armstrong up to the cockpit. "I recognized him right away. He's a pilot's pilot," Enander said. "He stayed up here with us in the check pilot seat until the landing. I'll admit I was extremely nervous on what should have been a very routine Moline landing."

The pilot asked Armstrong if he could announce his name aboard the plane's public address system. The former astronaut rejected the idea.

"He didn't want any fuss, especially at the airport. United wanted to provide special guards, escorts and that sort of thing, but Armstrong didn't want it," said John L. Kindschuh, vice president of administration for Augustana College.

Armstrong smiled at a youngster and walked through scores of unknowing people to Kindschuh's waiting two-door Buick Electra in the airport parking lot. 

"I'm interested in science; I just want to talk to your students and faculty. That's all," Armstrong had told Kindschuh in a previous conversation over the phone, the article said.

To read more about Neil Armstrong's visit to the Quad-Cities, visit qctimes.com/askthetimes.

Q. I've noticed some new LED street lights. When will they be installed citywide? — Greg, Davenport

A. We contacted the city of Davenport to find out. Nicole Gleason, public works director/assistant city administrator, responded:

"Thanks for the question! The city of Davenport has been converting to LED lights as current lights burn out in partnership with MidAmerican Energy. There is $100,000 dedicated to accelerating this in Fiscal 2018 in areas identified by Public Works and Police. It will likely take several years to get to a 100% conversion."

Ask the Times appears on Thursdays and Saturdays. You can call 563-333-2632, email ask@qctimes.com or write Ask the Times, Quad-City Times, 500 E. 3rd St., Davenport, IA 52801.

 

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