Rockford Area Historical Society News & Update

history2Terry Konkle – President

Our June 6, 2013 picnic meeting was the final one of the 2012-13 historical society year. Over thirty people enjoyed the pot-luck meal and the always pleasant companionship. As we do each year at this time, we had an election of officers for the 2013-14 year. The following were elected: President-Terry Konkle, Vice President-Jack Bolt, Recording Secretary-Kathy Christensen, Corresponding Secretary-Carla Blandford, Treasurer-Dianne Skiver, Trustees-Shirley Norman, Bob Winegar, Joan Bunn and Bob Boyer and Program/publicity director-Janette Konkle. This group make up our board of directors. In addition, Al Pratt is our hired museum manager and Kathy Cornwell is the museum curator. Pat Frye is the museum research director. With the exception of the museum manager, all positions are of the volunteer variety.

During the months of July and August there are no regular monthly meetings, however the society board could meet if needed. The next regular meeting will take place on September 5, 2013 at the Community Cabin at 7:00 P.M. All of our meetings are open to the public, so one does not have to be a member to attend. This past year our meetings were very well attended with record crowds a couple of times. This should continue in the coming year as the group continues to grow and to be active in our community. The Rockford Area Historical Society is committed to preserving our history and to being a positive force in making our area (and the world) a better place.

With the support of hundreds through donations and pledges and the hard work of many area volunteer workers, Rockford has a new museum. In the last two weeks, quite a lot of research room material has been transported from the Burch Room in the old museum to its new locations. For instance, all of the old newspapers are now stored safely in the room that once was the “holding cell” in the courthouse. Many other things have also been moved and are being placed in the research areas.

Jerry Adams, our consultant from MEDIA RARE, along with his helpers moved many newly constructed units into the new museum last week. He will finish them and add graphics to make some great new display areas. It was very exciting to see his work.

Last week, the last of the tours for second grade Rockford students was completed, so we can begin moving more artifacts from the old museum. Over five hundred people went through on the tours including students, teachers and parents. Our tour leaders did a nice job of working around some of the uncertainties and confusion surrounding the timing of our museum project. Once again, a fine group of volunteers stepped up and did the job.

For many years Rockford has had a player piano in the museum. It has always been a popular part of the school tours, but hasn’t worked for quite some time. Through the efforts of my wife, Jan, a player piano restorer was found. He looked it over and was impressed enough with it that he felt it could be put back into working order and be used for years. Our museum board accepted his generous bid ($1,100) to restore it. He has taken many parts with him to his shop in Hastings and estimates about 4-6 weeks to fix them. If readers are interested in helping with this expense, contact me (616-866-0530) for more information.

Finally, we have decided that each Tuesday and Thursday afternoon at 1:00 P.M. will be set aside for museum work days over the next few weeks. Volunteers, who would like to help move things or put things away, can be assured that those times will be used on a regular basis. Other times will occur also but on a “needed” or “spur of the moment” schedule. These are exciting times, so do not be left out. Contact Al Pratt (485-4144) with questions.

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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.