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Photo: John Greenwood|
A view of East Moline's downtown business district at the intersection of 9th St. and 15th Ave.
This is a view of downtown East Moline in December 1950, looking east from 9th Street and 15th Avenue. The photo was published in the East Moline Herald and was provided by The Herald Printing Co. Inc.
Retired businessman Pat Danley remembers a vastly different East Moline downtown than what it looks like today.
"There were tons of businesses" in the 1950s and 1960s, said Mr. Danley, former owner of The Herald Printing Co. Inc., 824 15th Ave. "There was an army store, a clothing store, restaurants, a chocolate shop, grocery stores -- we had everything."
Now, the downtown has many empty storefronts, losing the luster it once had.
"There's no such thing as a downtown East Moline," Mr. Danley said. "You can't go down there and buy a pair of of shoes. You can't go down there to watch a movie. You can go get some drapes done.
"You can go to Potteramics. You can go get your dog trimmed. You can go to a tavern and get a drink and that's it. That's an awful shame," he said.
"I miss them days," Mr. Danley lamented.
During the 1950s and later, Mr. Danley worked for the East Moline Herald newspaper before he bought The Herald Printing Co. with his business partner, Leonard Schulte, in 1971.
"We quit the newspaper because the businesses were leaving, then turned it into a print shop," Mr. Danley said.
The company, now owned by Mr. Danley's son, Jon, customizes envelopes and prints stationery, wedding invitations and office supplies for schools and businesses.
Mr. Danley easily reminisces about the past.
"You went into a clothing store and they knew your name," Mr. Danley recalled. "It was a wonderful town. It was friendly."
His wife, Joyce Danley, remembered shopping there. She usually passed by a Ben Franklin's craft store, shoe stores, hardware stores and quite a few taverns.
But those stores wouldn't last.
"Gradually, the downtown disintegrated over the years. Buildings have been torn down," Mrs. Danley said.
Mrs. Danley is a member of Main Street, an organization that tries to promote the downtown with holiday events.
"I don't think we're the only small town that's died," Mr. Danley said. "Those box stores are killing us."
In the Quad-Cities area, many people get what they need at one-stop shop stores, like Wal-Mart, Target and Kohl's.
These retail chain stores may have popped up all over the place, but The Herald Printing Co. has been around since 1904 when it started as the Enterprise newspaper.
Ann's Upholstery, at 839 15th Ave., isn't going anywhere either.
The store opened in 1977. "It was altogether different than now," owner Ann Gladfelder said.
"This is where I'm supposed to be," Mrs. Gladfelder said. "This town's been good to us."