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Moline's Prospect Park pavilion highlighted as a historical landmark in dedication ceremony

Designated as a historical landmark back in the January, the 130-year-old pavilion was honored in a ceremony Friday afternoon.

MOLINE, Ill. — Officials from the City of Moline held a dedication ceremony honoring one of the city's newest historical landmarks: the Prospect Park pavilion.

The structure was and refurbished prior to its designation as a historical landmark in January 2021, and now, several months later, it was commemorated in a ceremony at 2 p.m. on Friday, July 16.

Moline officials are dedicating the city's new historical landmark, the Prospect Park pavilion, in a 2 p.m. ceremony.

Posted by WQAD on Friday, July 16, 2021

The pavilion was built in 1891 by Prospect Park's original owners, the Moline Centrail Railway Company, and saw many renovations and attractions over the years, even after the decline of the trolley system and the eventual sale of the park to the City of Moline in 1911.

At various points throughout its lifespan, Prospect Park has been home to a switchback roller coaster, mini-zoo, various other rides, and the centerpiece of the day's ceremony, a Victorian-style dance pavilion overlooking Echo Lake; which, back then, only cost $1,950 to build.

The pavilion went through many forms and uses over the years, including the dance floor, a bathhouse for lake swimmers, and event space for picnics and weddings.

The pavilion underwent a major renovation in 1975, which included major changes to its architecture, losing many of its distinctive Victorian traits and decorative accents, as well as a change in color to dark brown, which was lamented by guest speaker Barbara Sandberg, a member of the Moline Historic preservation.

The pavilion was updated again in a series of renovations made in 2000-2005 made to revitalize the park, which included returning the pavilion to its classic  Victorian design and re-painting.

In 2017, it came to light that the building was facing disrepair and structural issues, and after investigation and resulting renovations completed in 2020, was brought back to its full glory as an event space and historical landmark. 

The landmark designation provides protection to its architectural integrity and artistry, requiring reviews by the Historical Preservation Commission whenever changes to the pavilion's exterior structure are proposed. 

Sandberg, as well as former Moline mayor and Park Board Vice President Don Welvaert and former alderman Michael Carton, applaud the City Council's move to preserve the imperiled pavilion and continue investing in it rather than tearing it down, and thank all the organizations and members of the public that have contributed to the project over the years.

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