Rockford Area Historical Society News & Update

Photo by Cliff Hill

Photo by Cliff Hill

Terry Konkle – President

I have been contacted by many people regarding the last “Nugget of Rockford History” question which asked for the last name of either of the two partners in the Pontiac Garage. The two men were Chuck Truax and Clark Carlson. Today, the building is the home of “Car Care Unlimited”, a well known and respected business.

One of the first to call me was John Oatley who added that the building originally was the location of a State Highway Department garage. At that time U.S. 131 ran through our town. Others who shared their knowledge were: Craig Holck, Shirley Havens, Ralph Gould, Edna Norman, B.M. White, Mona Root, Lue Hawkins, Kathy DuPont, Barb Zenk, Merri Beth Richardson, Willie Bradley and Dianne Skiver.

In talking with the responders, other areas of Rockford history often are mentioned. Ralph Gould told me that Henry Schumacher and Austin Carlson ran the Standard Gas Station on Main Street. At that time Rockford had four gas stations located roughly within a hundred yards of each other. There was one on three of the four corners on Main and Bridge Streets plus the Standard Station. Today, there is only one in downtown Rockford.

Lue Hawkins recalled that Tom Anderson had a lawyer’s office on Bridge Street near the bowling alley. The building had no electricity, so Mr. Anderson would buy kerosene from the Standard Station to use in his lamps for lighting. Several people now have also mentioned a bakery run by Johnny Green and his wife. It was located about where “Ward’s Barber Shop” is today.

Here is a new “Nugget of Rockford History” question. The idea for it came from Willie Bradley who gave me so much Rockford history that I will have to devote a future column to his contributions. Part of our discussion was about Bob Lindemann, a popular radio and car racing personality who went by the name of “BIG BOB”. Well, for a time Mr. Lindemann had a business in Rockford. Contact me at 616-866-0530 if you know what was sold at his location (deadline February 22).

Finally, do any readers remember when high school sport game schedules were printed on pencils. The pencils were usually sold as a fundraising project by school groups. Recently, I purchased a Rockford High School pencil with the 1938-39 basketball schedule on it. It shows a fourteen game schedule with seven home games and also seven on the road. The item is orange with four black stripes and black printing. It is not sharpened and still has an eraser (slightly used). The word “Rams” is printed as part of the heading and is one of the earliest times that our nickname was used. We did not become “Rams” until the 1937-38 school year. I imagine that most pencils that were sold were also put to positive use and were not around very long. I am donating this one to the Rockford Athletic Hall of Fame.

Please contact me with any additions or corrections to this column because we want our history to be accurate!




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  1. Robyn (Otten) Sturtevant says:

    Just wanted to add that Bob Lindemann was called Big Bud Lindemann at the Speedrome where he was the Announcer. It might confuse some of your readers who never knew him by Bob.

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