Rockford Area Historical Society News & Update

Photo by Cliff Hill
Photo by Cliff Hill

Terry Konkle – President

For many years Kathy Cornwell was very active as the volunteer leader of our Rockford Area Museum. She was the director for some time and then the curator for awhile. Health issues slowed her down in recent years, but last week she called to give me some information concerning Russell’s Café. I asked how she was feeling and she said much better. That is great because her knowledge of certain aspects of Rockford history is second to none. Readers, who know Kathy, are aware of her love for the Civil War veterans from our area.

She wanted to tell me that she thought that Russell’s Café was located in a house on property that was once was the “Perry” farm. “I am almost certain” she said “that civil war soldier Peleg Perry was from that family.” I enjoyed speaking with her and am glad she was willing to share her knowledge. Thanks Kathy!

Each year the second grade students from Rockford schools tour City Hall, the Little Red Schoolhouse, the fire department and the Museum. These excursions usually occur in May or early June. This year we were hoping to have the new museum ready for the tours, but we did not make it, so the students and their teachers and chaperones are visiting the old museum. Our historical society volunteers, who so ably conduct and educate the groups, have had to work around the fact that some artifacts have been removed from the old museum. Most of the Indian lore and lumbering materials are at a different site being worked into a new display. Some other things are also not available for viewing right now. Many people help supervise the presentations and answer questions while Linda Critchell, Kathy Christensen and Carlene Stamp usually do the educational discussion. They are all volunteers helping to make our area a better place. Thanks to them all.

The last “Nugget of Rockford History” question dealing with the Ranger Company asked what the company made and then also wanted to know if readers knew which Krause family member attempted to buy the business in order to keep it going. Six readers knew that the Ranger Company made fishing reels and three of the six knew that Richard Krause was the one who wanted to buy it. Martin Vogel, Kathy DuPont and Joan DeMaagd knew both answers while Helen Powell Cook, Lue Hawkins and Gene Berry knew the company’s product. My thanks to all for responding and also for some interesting discussions. Readers can learn more about the company history and also view some of the reels by visiting the museum where a display area covers those things.

Here is some information leading up to a new “Nugget” question. The 2012 football season was number 100 for Rockford High School. During those years, we have played against many schools and been in, at least, five different conferences. The question is: “What school did Rockford High School play against the most times during the 100 seasons?”

Please contact me at 616-866-0530 with your answers. As always, I want to hear your comments, questions or concerns and especially your corrections. Please let me know if I have made an error because we want to have things right.


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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.