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Q: When did the slide that went down into Rock River at Black Hawk State Park close? My father told me about it.

A: Marlene Gantt, author of the ``Images of the Past'' column that appears weekly in The Dispatch, fixed the date at ``around 1925.''

Quad-Citian Reva Winters, then 89, was quoted in a 2000 feature story about the Rock River as saying, ``I went on the chute its last year, in 1923.''

The ``Shoot-the-Chute'' slide was constructed in the 1890s, and was part of an immense amusement park that also included a figure-8 roller coaster, hot-air ballon rides, shooting galleries, a 1,000-seat theater and a steady stream of speakers that included such luminaries as William Jennings Bryan and Gen. William Sherman.

Ms. Gantt, who had access to the memorabilia of developer James F. Lardner, found this contemporary description from a Clinton newspaper: ``Here you start at 500 feet above the water on the inclined plane. After the descent begins, the speed increases and the wind whistles past like a tornado. You hang to the boat with one hand and grasp your hat with the other, and hold your breath to prevent it getting away from you. Then you strike the water and the boat gives a big jump, landing 25 to 50 feet distaant right side up with care, and the boatman guides you back to the foot of the chute, where an electric motor hauls it and ocupants to the top.''

The amusement park was developed and operated by local trolley-car company owners to promote weekend and evening use of the trolleys. They also promoted trolley parties featuring the park.

The July 4, 1896 festivities were reported to have drawn more than 15,000 people.

The park's popularity faded with the decline of trolley use; and local citizens in 1927 convinced the state to buy the site and return it to nature.

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  Today is Monday, April 21, the 111th day of 2014. There are 254 days left in the year.

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1889 -- 125 years ago: Members of Everts Commandery No. 18, Knights Templar, under Commander H.C. Cleaveland, marched from the Masonic Temple to Trinity Episcopal Church for their annual Easter services.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Nate Hultgren pitched the Augustana College baseball team to a 10-3 victory over Carthage, striking out 11 men and allowing only four hits.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Marvel Leonhardi, a Rock Island High School senior, was the winner of an essay contest on advertising sponsored by The Argus and Advertising Age, a national advertising publication.
1964 -- 50 years ago: The Augustana College band drew a crowd of 1,200 people for its annual home concert in Centennial Hall. The size of the crowd was indicative of the fact the band is rapidly approaching the stature of the Augustana Choir.
1989 -- 25 years ago: A benefit to raise money for extracurricular activities in the Rock Island Milan School District will be April 27 at the Quad City Downs harness race track. People buying $17.50 tickets to the second annual "Night at the Quad City Downs" will be entitled to an evening of harness racing and dinner.

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