Built on an island in the Mississippi River between Iowa and Illinois, Rock Island Arsenal sits on nearly 1,000 acres of land.
The area was first used by the government in 1816, when Fort Armstrong occupied the area. Toward the end of the 19th century and into modern times, the Army base has been one of the largest producers of armaments for the U.S. Army. The only operating U.S. military foundry, Rock Island Arsenal produces Howitzers and other towed artillery as well as small arms and even aircraft weapons.
During the Civil War, the Army base served as a prisoner of war camp for confederate soldiers. Almost 2,000 of them are buried at the site. In addition to producing an arsenal for the Army, the base is home to the Rock Island Arsenal Museum, which was formed in 1905.
It was shut down briefly a few times to make room for manufacturing during World War I and II, but it remains open today and a popular destination for people visiting the Rock Island Arsenal Army base. With a rich and varied history, Rock Island Arsenal is sure to be useful for the Army for many years to come.