Rockford Area Historical Society News & Update

Photo by Cliff Hill
Photo by Cliff Hill

Terry Konkle – President

I have talked to many in the last two weeks about “Big Bud” Lindemann. They not only knew that he operated a “Record Shop” in Rockford, but they also had memories of the business and the man who owned it. The shop was located on Main Street in a very small building whose entrance would have been where the southernmost door of “Sam’s Joint” is today. Several readers not only commented on the fact that the store was packed with music merchandise but also said that they often made purchases from the shop.

Current Rockford resident, Billie Hunt, called to tell me that she worked at the store. “I opened for business around 11:00 o’clock in the morning. I would work until school got out and then Ginny Mills, a Rockford student, would come in to replace me. Bud also had a store in Sparta, and perhaps another in Lowell. His wife, Kay, also worked and I remember that Bud drove a big convertible car.” Billie mentioned that Mr. Lindemann had a radio show on WGRD and also made television appearances. “He had a boat on Lake Michigan” she said.

Internet research showed that Mr. Lindemann was a well known figure in the auto racing area, and produced material on it. Readers knew that he was an announcer at the “Speedrome” in Comstock Park, and Bob Mellema, a driver at that racetrack, called to say “Big Bud” was a popular announcer. One reader thought he might have announced races at Berlin Raceway and Kalamazoo Speedway. His internet biography confirms that he did.

In the mid 1960’s “Big Bud” formed a company called Car and Track Productions. He had a television show on CBS entitled “Car and Track” (1968-1975). He continued in the production area by making racing features for “Wide World of Sports” and “CBS Sports Spectacular”. He died in 1983 and was inducted into the Michigan Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1991.

How long was the record shop in business? Most recollections recall it being around in the late 1950’s, and the 1957 and 1958 Rockford High School yearbooks have an advertisement for the business on one of its pages. Perhaps a reader can fill in when the shop was closed. I remember a barber shop in that location later.

My thanks to Diane Skiver, Ken Ploeg, Joan Bunn, Billie Hunt, Bernie Armstrong, Bev Rollenhagen, Joan DeMaagd, Shirley Havens, Bill Boyd, Bob Bowman, Bob Mellema, Carole Christensen, Chad Root, Susie Sullivan, Bruce Turner, Lee Paull and Beryl Bradley for contacting me with information. Your participation is appreciated and your knowledge is important.

Let’s conclude with a new “Nugget of Rockford History” question. In 1959 the Rockford High School yearbook was dedicated to the four Rockford High School custodians. The question is “Who were these four, positive, dedicated men?” Contact me with your answers (you can give me all four or only one, two or three) at 616-866-0530 (deadline – March 8, 2013). Please let me know your comments and corrections to information presented in this column, so that our history is accurate.


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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.