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The combination of energy and easy access to river transportation attracted entrepreneurs and industrialists to the Quad Cities for development.
In 1848, John Deere moved his plough business to Moline.
By World War I, the towns of Davenport, Rock Island, and Moline had begun to style themselves as the "Tri-Cities," a cluster of three more-or-less equally-sized river communities growing around the small bend of the Mississippi River where it flows west.
But with the growth of Rock Island County, during the 1930s the term "Quad Cities" came into vogue, as East Moline was given "equal status." Despite the fact that the region had earned the name "Quad Cities," the National Basketball Association had a franchise in Moline, Illinois, from 1946 to 1951 called the "Tri-Cities Blackhawks." Then, with the opening of an Alcoa (now Arconic) plant east of Davenport in 1948, the town of Bettendorf underwent so much growth that many people in the community discussed the adoption of the name "Quint Cities", But by this time, the name "Quad Cities" had become known well beyond the area, and "Quint Cities" never caught on, despite the efforts of WOC-TV (as KWQC-TV was then called) and others.
His business was incorporated as Deere & Company in 1868.
Deere & Company is the largest employer today in the Quad Cities.
Examples of revitalization and rebirth include: Over the years, several communities in the Quad City area have proposed or performed mergers.
John Hurd, the owner of the Effie Afton, filed a lawsuit against the Rock Island Railroad Company. After the Civil War, the region began to gain a common identity.
The Rock Island Railroad Company selected Abraham Lincoln as their trial lawyer and won after he took the case to the US Supreme Court. The river towns that were thoughtfully planned and competently led flourished, while other settlements, usually get-rich-quick schemes for speculators, failed to pan out.
Over time, a minor industry grew up in the area to meet the steamboats' needs.
Boat crews needed rest areas to stop before encountering the rapids, places to hire expert pilots such as Phillip Suiter, who was the first licensed pilot on the upper Mississippi River, to guide the boat through the rocky waters, or, when the water was low, places where goods could be removed and transported by wagon on land past the rapids.