More renovations on the way at Rock Island’s Douglas Park | Local News

As workers went about their tasks of renovating the playing fields at Rock Island’s Douglas Park on Tuesday, city leaders and members of The Friends of Douglas Park stood outside the old Fire Station No. 5 and spelled out the vision for Phase III of the park’s renovation.

The old firehouse will be made into a museum that will have two components: one dedicated to the history of football in Rock Island, and the other to the sacrifices firefighters have made over the years.

According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, located in Canton, Ohio, the first game played by a team of the American Professional Football Association, which two years later became the National Football League, was played Sept. 26, 1920, in Douglas Park. A crowd of 800 watched as the Rock Island Independents defeated the St. Paul Ideals 48 to 0.

Steve Grubbs, CEO of Victory Enterprises, which has a virtual reality development component, said he could see the firefighters at Station 5 watching the historic game. And it is that game that will be played again in virtual reality.

Outside the fire station he said, pointing to the east, “there will be a walkway where we will have the giants of the game by which people can take their photos,” Grubbs said.

After getting their photos taken, people can then pay a small fee to enter the museum where, through the use of augmented reality, they can don a pair of special glasses, stand on the balcony that will be attached to the museum and watch a recreation of that first football game.

The museum also will feature the story of that first game.

Located at 901 18th Ave., Fire Station 5 became operational on Feb. 2, 1915, according to the city of Rock Island website. Rock Island Fire Department Capt. Terry Smith said building was no longer used as of 1974.

After it could no longer be used as a firehouse, the…

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