Rockford Area Historical Society News & Update

Terry Konkle Photo by Cliff Hill

Terry Konkle – President

As I mentioned in last week’s column, the Rockford Area Historical Society (RAHS) has produced a limited edition dated Christmas ornament to be sold as part of our fundraising efforts for our museum. The idea is to continue with a new ornament each year giving people an opportunity to collect them. This years’ offering features a picture of the old museum which was opened in 1976. It was decided to limit the number made to two hundred and fifty for our initial effort. They have arrived and are on sale for $15.00 each. They can be purchased at Great Northern Trading Company or people can call 616-866-0530 or 616-485-4144 for more information.

One of my hobbies is collecting postcards of the Rockford and Grand Rapids area. I am going to use one of downtown Rockford in this column to lead into a “Nugget of Rockford History” question. It shows Main Street looking north from the corner of Bridge Street. I am guessing the picture was taken in the 1940’s with many of the buildings still around today (December 2012). In most cases the structures are the same but the names on them are different.

All right readers, here are two questions. Question one: What business now occupies the building with the “Jack’s Grill” sign on it? Question two: When the postcard was taken, what business name is on the sign just to the right of the Standard Oil sign (get out the magnifying glass if you want). If you can answer one or both, contact me at 616-866-0530. Responses will appear in the column just after Christmas.

The last “Nugget of Rockford History” question concerning the two new Rockford Streets added because of a housing expansion brought not only several answers but also lots of interesting historical information. The streets were Adolph and Elizabeth which became part of the “new addition”.

Bill Boyd was an early caller with not only a correct answer but a trip down memory lane as he rattled off the names of people who lived in the houses. Versa Stoner called to tell me that she and her husband Ken built their house on Elizabeth when there were few houses there in the early 1950’s. Others who knew one or both streets were Lois Jorgenson, Mary and Barry Bell, Joe Sharpe (my cousin), Sharon Berry, Nancy Simonis, Lee Paull, an anonymous (???) White Pine Trail dog walker, and Bob Boyer. It was great to talk with all of you.

In closing I want to especially thank the members of the Courtland township board for their support of our museum project and also for the warm welcome and response given to me and the historical society at their last meeting. What an impressive group of people!

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