History of the Industrial Commission
Following a wide spread movement among cities and towns to develop their commercial and manufacturing importance and recognizing that this could best be attained through an organization whose efforts would be con-fined to this field of activity the Industrial Commission of Rock Island was created. The first step necessary thereto was accomplished through the contribution of a fund of $10,000 intended to meet the expenses incidental to the work for a given period, and upon the attainment thereof an organization was effected by the creation of five committees, namely: The manufacturers, the railroads, the jobbers, the conventions and the board of control, of which F. C. Denkmann was elected first president, Charles McHugh, vice president; T. J. Medill, treasurer; and Mayer Levi, secretary. Soon after the completion of the organization it became evident that something more was necessary if Rock Island would compete with other points in an effort to secure the location of new industries, and in recognition thereof impetus was given to a movement to raise a fund of $100,000 to be employed in: providing sites and buildings and in such other ways as would meet the approval of the board of trustees. The mere suggestion was sufficient to awaken an interest in the plan outlined and within less than thirty days there was subscribed a total of nearly $150,000, known as the Greater Rock Island Development Fund. Nothing speaks more loudly of the loyalty, unselfishness and progressive spirit of the people of Rock Island than the success that marked this undertaking. This fund has since then been complemented by a donation from Weyerhaeuser and Denkmann, Charles H. Deere, and the J. F. Robinson and Morris Rosenfield estates, of fifty acres of land exceptionally well adapted to manufacturing purposes and admirably situated with respect to shipping facilities, both by rail and water. Coupled with these concrete conditions there has been a spirit awakened to the consciousness of the possibilities that lie before Rock Island and a determination to grasp them in furtherance of the ambition to become what nature ordained and which is already evident in our wonderful growth as a successful manufacturing center.
Source: Historic Rock Island County, pub. Kramer & Company, Rock Island, Illinois, 1908