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Charles Atkinson and others successfully lobbied the federal government to get the first transcontinental railroad to pass through Moline and to cross the Mississippi over Arsenal Island.The railroad, which arrived in 1854, carried thousands of immigrants – at that time mostly Swedish, Belgian, and German, reflecting areas of economic problems in Europe – to Moline's borders.Extremes in temperature have ranged from 111 °F (44 °C), set on July 14, 1936, down to −28 °F (−33 °C), set on February 3, 1996; The average window for freezing temperatures is October 10 thru April 24, allowing a growing season of 168 days.
Moline's founding fathers were primarily ambitious industrialists from New England. Sears came to Moline from the Northeast by way of Cairo, Illinois, and Atkinson, John W. White, other prominent founding men, were also New Englanders.
When the war ended later that year, Black Hawk and his people were forced to leave the area and go north, paving the way for more European-American settlers to enter the Mississippi Valley. Sears and a group of associates built a 600-foot (180 m) stone-and-brush dam across Sylvan Slough, thereby connecting the southern bank of the Mississippi River to what is today called Arsenal Island.
The dam not only served as an access road between the island's settlements and the mainland, but it provided water power for a mill which Sears built to saw wood, grind corn, and card wool.
The Quad City International Airport, located on the southern fringe of the city to the south of the Rock River, is home to four commercial airlines providing non-stop flights to eight different cities.
This airport is the third busiest one in the state of Illinois, following Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and Midway Airport.