In June 1981, the newly formed Rock Island Preservation Society (RIPS) held their first Tour Yesterday on 20th Street in the Broadway Historic District. The event encouraged appreciation and understanding of the homes, creating a festival atmosphere complete with Victorian costumes, antique fire engine, horse drawn carriages and educational placards in front of each building. The Rock Island Preservation Society went on to host many more Tour Yesterday events, Old House Workshops and educational seminars. The beginning of the Broadway Historic District Association was even as a geographical spin-off from RIPS.
Notably, several members of the Rock Island Preservation Society, led by Diane Oestreich, approached city leaders in 1983 about creating a Preservation Ordinance for the city. This ordinance would have the ability to designate and preserve significant structures in the City. A task force was created to review ordinances across the nation and propose an ordinance suitable for Rock Island. The ordinance was drafted by planning administrator Alan Carmen, in conjunction with the committee. On February 13, 1984, the Preservation Ordinance was passed by Rock Island City Council and approved the next day by Mayor James R. Davis.