The Mississippi River cuts through the heart of the Quad Cities—actually is the heart of the region. The cities stretch from the river’s banks up and over the bluffs that the Mississippi River excavated thousands of years ago. In the Quad Cities, downtown is literally the part of town that is down the hill. The Mississippi River is the reason that settlers put down their stakes here in the 1830s, and people still flock to its banks to fish, to walk, to gamble, or just to sit and enjoy the view. The Mississippi River unites these disparate cities into a cohesive region.