Terry Konkle – President
The Rockford Area Historical Society (RAHS) continues to make progress on our new museum project. Last week it was announced that Al Pratt will be our museum manager. He is already working even though his official contract will not begin until January 1, 2013. The RAHS pledged that we would hire a director and that the museum would be open regular hours on a year round basis and having a manager will meet that obligation. Exact hours and days will be announced later and will take effect when the new museum opens. If all goes as planned, that should be in late April or early May.
Renovations on the courthouse are moving along with the insulation and drywall completed. The electrical system is in place with the lights and ceiling tiles on site and ready for installation. Painting of the walls and removal of old carpeting and putting down new will follow. There is some cement removal still to be done. The heating system is working well and the the overall progress is encouraging.
Recently the RAHS sent out a mailing to all members detailing our new membership fees along with information regarding our society programs. There was also material on our Christmas fundraising effort. Through the leadership of Al Pratt and others, a 2012 Christmas ornament has been designed to honor our old museum. Two hundred and fifty will be produced and sold for $15.00 each. The wooden ornaments depict the old museum and will be the first of what will be an annual event. Each Christmas season a new ornament will be featured. We are not numbering the individual pieces, but they will be dated. They will become a part of our history and should be a tradition each year. Readers who have not seen ordering information can call 616-866-0530 or 616-485-4144 to get specifics.
I have been receiving responses to last week’s “Nugget of Rockford History” question. Readers can still contact me (616-866-0530) if you know either one or both of the new streets added to our town because of the building of several new houses starting about 1923. The answers and responders will be in the next column. I have to admit that I got the idea for the question from Homer Burch’s book “FROM SAWMILL TO CITY”. By the way, readers who might want to purchase a copy of Homer’s book can find them for sale at our museum (616-866-0530). They are $10.00 each.
A funeral last week in our town prompted hundreds of people to stand beside Rockford streets to honor a fallen soldier. United States flags were in place beside the curbs. They waved in the breeze and were joined by other U.S. flags carried by people of all ages. Why were the flags and people there? They could not bring the young man back nor feel the tremendous loss felt by his loved ones, but they could be present to show respect and appreciation for his service and compassion for his family and friends. Sometimes areas, and the people in them, want and need to show that they care. The Rockford area did that last week!