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Island in the Mississippi

Island in the Mississippi, Rapids City, Illinois. (Contributed)

Port Byron Village Clerk

Q. My family lives in LeClaire and my six-year-old son refers to the island just off of Rapids City, Illinois, as his island. There is a house built on the island and he loves to imagine how they brought the supplies out to build it. Could you tell us when it was built and if someone still lives there? — Erin, LeClaire, Iowa

A. The owner of the island is listed as Kent M. Faulkner according to GIS map of tax parcels provided by the Port Byron, Illinois, Village Clerk. An article written by Barb Arland-Fye published on Monday, Aug. 23, 1999, in the Quad-City Times contained a photograph by Larry Fisher of "Shearer's Island" near Rapids City, Illinois. The photo caption said that Ken Faulkner purchased the island in 1965.

An article was published Oct. 13, 1965, in the Moline Dispatch with the headline," 'New' Kent Island To Be Retreat From Busy World."

"A new island will appear soon in the charts of the Mississippi River," the article said. "At least, the island will be 'new' as far as its name is concerned. The 'new' Kent Island will be remembered by thousands of Quad-City residents as Shearer Island, that island about 1,000 feet from the shore at Rapids City, the one that motorists traveling along the Mississippi often point to because to the abandoned house."

The article said the island had been purchased by Kent M. Faulkner, then 27, of Moline. At that time Faulkner was working in the investment department of Royal Neighbors of America and had "plans to make the two-acre island 'his retreat' from a busy world," the article said.

"Of course, this is a big project," Faulkner said in the 1965 article. "I look at it as a three-year project."

The 1965 article does mention the house at that time on the island. "The present 35-by-49 foot brick structure was built on the island in 1928 by B.A. Shearer, a Moline insurance agent," the article said. "The bricks were transported to the island in a rowboat," Faulkner said.

"Mr. Shearer retired to the island," the article said. "After he died, a caretaker took care of the home until probably about 1955-56. Later the island was given to Mr. Shearer's daughter. The island has been abandoned for several years. Faulkner purchased the island from the estate," the article said.

Faulkner had several problems to solve before his own island home could be completed the article said. "For example, he isn't sure if he'll restore the well on the island or pipe water in from Rapids City. He's even thought about using the river to generate electrical power for his island. He's thinking about a swimming pool on the island also."

B.A. Shearer passed away at the age of 61 in Moline on March 3, 1951, of a heart attack according to his obituary. He was buried in Riverside Cemetery, Moline.

We contacted the Village of Rapids City to see if there was a way to contact Kent Faulkner for more information. They said the only information they could provide was that it is a private island.

To read more about the island in the Mississippi River, visit qctimes.com/askthetimes

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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