Documentary Premiere


5 pm and 7 pm Thursday, August 31
Complimentary appetizers and cash bar
Free admission 


River Action is bringing the premiere screening of the documentary East Meets West: The First Railroad Bridge to Cross the Mississippi River to the Figge Art Museum’s John Deere Auditorium. The film will be shown at both 5 and 7 p.m., and is free and open to the public.

Produced by Heritage Documentaries, a local non-profit organization, it is directed by Julie Wine Johnston with videography and editing by Denise Hollmer. The 51-minute documentary tells the story of the bridge that first connected Rock Island to Davenport in 1856, including how Henry Farnam led the effort to build the railroad and the bridge; the dramatic collision with the steamboat Effie Afton just two weeks after the bridge was completed; and Abraham Lincoln's successful defense of the railroad's right to cross the river in the trial that followed. The bridge was not only a symbol of conflict but a crucial link to the transcontinental railroad and settlement of the West. Both locally and nationally, its historic importance cannot be overstated.