Well now I guess it is official. As of April 8, 2019 I have become a Michigander.
Six months ago my husband and I moved from northern Illinois to St Johns, Michigan – just about 20 miles north of the state capital of Lansing. Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would spend the last years of our life in Michigan.
Both of us were born and raised in Illinois. My husband was in the USAF for 20 years so he spent much of his early adult life out of the state. However, upon his retirement he returned to what was home.
I spent a couple of years out-of-state also but most of my 71 years has been spent in Illinois.
boyhood home of Ronald Reagan
Major winter storms, deadly tornadoes and spectacular heat and cold waves.
The worst state in the union for financial stability
Last October we moved to Michigan and rented a small house. We were not sure we would like St Johns and did not want to make a commitment until we determined whether we liked it or not. We followed our daughter and her family here and said we would give it a year’s trial.
After six months we like Michigan, we discovered we like Michigan.
The Mackinac Bridge – one of the longest suspension bridges in the world
Battle Creek – cereal capital of the world
So we purchased a condo and on April 8 – my birthday – we signed the closing documents.
All this week we have been packing boxes and moving the smaller items. Since we moved only a mile away we were able to actually hang up pictures and put up curtains. Today family and friends helped us move the heavy furniture.
So now here we are – officially Michigander or Michiganian or whatever!
The past few weeks I have not written much or read my favorite blogs. The first of the month we loaded up all our possessions and headed north to a small town in Michigan.
We were moving from a fairly large metropolitan area. Known as the Quad Cities. the area is actually a collection of five cities located in Illinois and Iowa: Bettendorf and Davenport in Iowa and Moline, East Moline and Rock Island located in Illinois. Those five larger towns are surrounded by many smaller cities or villages. We lived in a town just south of Rock Island – Milan. You could drive from Milan through Rock Island, Moline, East Moline and then though smaller towns like Silvis and Carbon Cliff or Coal Valley without ever leaving a populated area.
The region has a population of 383,681 residents, per the most recent estimates. The region is spread across 170 square miles. There is a population density of 1,600 residents per square mile.
There are a lot of interesting places and people in the history of Quad Cities.
Between Davenport and Rock Island is Arsenal Island, which houses the Rock Island Arsenal, the largest government-owned weapons manufacturer in the entire United States. It is also home to a National Cemetery for veterans. During the Civil War there was a prison on the island for Confederate solders and many are buried in an area set aside for prisoners who died while in that prison.
A real-life Prohibition era mobster lived in Rock Island. His life was the basis for a feature-length comic book, The Road to Perdition, which was later made into a movie of the same name. Looney started with illegal gambling, bootleg liquor, prostitution and other illegal activities along the Mississippi River from Missouri to Wisconsin in the early 1900’s through the mid 1920’s. His huge mansion in Rock Island still stands today.
Ronald Reagan began his radio career at WOC in Davenport.
Walt Disney applied for his first job in Davenport… and was turned down.
Chiropractic medicine started in the Quad Cities also. Daniel David Palmer began what he called magnetic healing in Davenport, Iowa. He developed the theory that the basic cause of disease was misalignment of the bones in the body. In 1897 he opened the Palmer School of Chiropractic in Davenport. Today Palmer College of Chiropractic advertises itself as the first and largest chiropractic college in the country.
The large agricultural equipment manufacturer also got its start in the Quad Cities. Blacksmith John Deere, listened to local farmers near Grand Detour, Illinois that their plows which were designed for the sandy soil of eastern United States were not working in the thick prairie soil of the Midwest. He designed a highly polished steel mold board and began making plows for the local farmers. After ten years in Grand Detour, John Deere moved to Moline, Illinois which is located on the Mississippi River. That location gave him water power and with the river great transportation options. His factory quickly doubled production in this new location. Today you cannot drive anywhere in Illinois side of the Quad Cities without seeing a John Deere factory, transportation lot or offices.
I will miss:
The Mississippi River. For years I lived on the Illinois side of the Quad Cities but worked on the Iowa side crossing back and forth each day. My husband and I often cross the river to shop at stores and eat at favorite restaurants on the Iowa side.
Most of all, I have many friends I will miss. But with Facebook and cell phones thankfully we can stay in touch.
It has been quite a change this month as I have moved to a small town – population approximately 8,000. I was not sure how I would like moving to such a smaller place after living so long in the Quad Cities.
But I am loving it. I will blog soon on life in a small town, but for now, after a month here I say “Goodbye Quad Cities.”