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Organizers ready to rally to save Rock Island County Courthouse this weekend

One of the organizers said the building is vital to Rock Island's history. The rally is set to start at 11 a.m.

ROCK ISLAND COUNTY, Ill. — A group of advocates is hosting a rally on Saturday, June 11 to save the Rock Island County Courthouse.

The Rock Island County Courthouse has been gated off since early 2019. The county said it has plans to demolish the building — but groups across the county are fighting to keep the building standing.

"The building is really pretty special,"  one rally organizer Randy Brockway said. "It's built out of Bedford limestone. And it — it's really as strong today as it was when it was built in 1897. So it's a solid building, it may have a few blemishes, but structurally sound and ready to renovate." 

Brockway, who is also a landscaping architect, believes the courthouse is rooted in Rock Island history, starting with the man who built it.

RELATED: State of Illinois to require photos, records of old Rock Island County Courthouse be created before demolition

"The builder was a native of Rock Island [man] and his name was Charles Larkin," Brockway said. "Charles emigrated here from New York and prior to that, the family was in Ireland. So there wonderful story there with Charles Larkin, who built his building."

Brockway said if the county demolishes the building, the history would be destroyed with it.

"The history that we look back on, the heritage really informs us as to what kind of community and what kind of people existed here before us," Brockway said. "And it gives us a sense of pride and ownership, and being a good steward for the present by these important historic buildings for the future."

Now, Brockway is throwing a rally in another attempt to keep the courthouse alive.

RELATED: THIS WEEK: Abandoned courthouse to get federal inspection

"We're encouraging people to make homemade signs, and put them on a stick, and, or they carry them," he said. "And it will be a rain or shine event. We do expect good weather."

The rally is on Saturday at 11 a.m. The march will end in front of the Rock Island County Courthouse.

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