President, Rockford Area Historical Society

Terry Konkle Photo by Cliff Hill

I will begin this week by adding Kathy Dupont and Ray and Karen Fought to the list of those who knew that Zell Gill was the answer to my last trivia question. I also got a call from a young girl who, along with a few of her friends, did some research at the Kent District Library to find out who Mrs. Gill was. They did not know her, but now they do.

All of the comments about Mrs. Gill were very flattering this week, as were all of those I received last week. In fact, I have decided after all of the positive responses I have gotten to several of my questions to NOT call them “trivia questions” in the future. How can answers like Zell Gill, Bob Boyer, Ruth Streeter and others be called trivia? From now on I will present “history questions” unless a reader can give me a better title. My thanks to all who have taken the time to call me with answers over the last few weeks!

Before I give a new history question, I need to provide the reader with some information about a man called Lyle Bennett. He was a 1923 Rockford High School graduate and one of our top athletes of that time. After college at Central Michigan University, he came back to our town to teach and coach at the high school and was the driving force behind establishing our first “homecoming” football game in 1929. The tradition of having a homecoming contest still exists.

When Bennett left Rockford, he went to Alma and then back to Central Michigan, where he was the head track coach for many years. The track at Central Michigan is named for him. He never forgot his Rockford roots and later suggested that Rockford hold an event each year to honor certain graduates.

The question is in three parts, so I need three answers: “What is the name of the event; What month does it occur; What group is especially honored each year?” Contact me with your answers at (616) 866-0530.

On Saturday, May 5, 2012, the Big Green Egg Cooker raffle was held at Herman’s Boy in Rockford with the drawing at 3 p.m. All of the 200 tickets were sold ($25 each) and the winning ticket belonged to Alvin E. Kraker. The event, sponsored by Herman’s Boy, was very successful with the proceeds ($5,000) going to the Rockford Area Museum project. I was there along with many others for the emotional drawing, and, as a Historical Society representative, I thank Floyd Havemeier and his business for the donation. Our thanks, also, to the Rockford Rotary Club for helping to sell some of the tickets. What a positive event!

Presently, the society is planning an auction to take place as soon as the courthouse is renovated. It will take place in the remodeled building before any exhibits are present. The exact date will be known soon, but organization is underway and I encourage everyone to think about items that might be donated to our project. All of us have nice things that we don’t use or need and could be perfect for someone to bid on. More information is coming, including details about donating items. The money raised by the auction will help fund our exhibits and operation.

Finally, donations and pledges are still coming in (over 300 individuals, businesses or organizations). The response is very positive and greatly appreciated. Please consider joining our cause if you can. Donations and pledges can be sent to: Rockford Area Historical Society, PO Box 781, Rockford, MI 49341. Any questions can be directed to me at (616) 866-0530.

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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.