ROCK ISLAND, Illinois (KWQC) - The final historic clock tower and eagle watch tours were this morning. The Rock Island Arsenal does the tours every year for a few weekends in January and February. Officials say it's about connecting as a community.
“It's not every day you get to tour this building as it is,” said Arsenal Park Ranger, Mike McKean.
The Arsenal is full of history, and the clock tower tours give you a chance to see the very first building on the Arsenal.
“As far as history, there's a ton of history when it comes to the Rock Island Arsenal in general of course, and this area. The clock tower building was the first building as part of the Rock Island Arsenal,” said McKean. “It was originally meant to be a store house, which it was store house A, and eventually it got converted into our Corps of Engineers headquarters.”
McKean says bald eagle watching at the top of the tower is what usually attracts tourists, but they tend to leave with more appreciation for the island.
“I think the eagle portion of the tour kind of brings folks in who are like, 'oh, cool we can see some eagles hopefully.' They kind of leave with a, 'Cool that was interesting history of the building.'”
They being to understand the building, and the island, history.
“There are some unique features of the building from when it was originally built. The hoisters are there and the upper levels where the clockwork is pretty interesting for a lot of folks,” added McKean.
The tours give arsenal workers a chance to teach people in the area some local history, while connecting as a community.
“We'd just like to enhance people's appreciation or the knowledge of what's on base here, how the corps relates, and open up people's minds to the other things the corps does as well,” said McKean. “It's not just about building locks and dams of course there's other stuff as well.”