Rockford Area Historical Society News & Update

Terry Konkle – President


If any readers happened to be in downtown Rockford Tuesday (August 13) afternoon, they would have seen a sight that does not occur very often. Two stoves were moved on red dolly carts from our old museum to the new location. They were very heavy and hard to lift up on a truck, so we put them on the carts and pulled and pushed them the two blocks to their new home. They were part of many items moved that day as most of the kitchen and part of the living room areas were transported that afternoon. They will be placed in two newly constructed rooms at the new museum.

This week the rest of the living room and some showcases are scheduled to be relocated. When all of the artifacts are in place the right history room of the museum will be complete, and we will be open to the public (September 3). I will be providing more information in next week’s column.

Last week, I mentioned that we had extra Rockford High School yearbooks available to sell. Several were purchased but there are still many left (mostly from the 1950’s and 1960’s). If interested, contact me at 616-866-0530, and I will be happy to show them to you. The cost is $5.00 each or a larger donation if desired. The museum also has extra copies of our hometown newspaper THE ROCKFORD SQUIRE. We have most of the issues from the 1990’s. If readers could use them, we will sell them by year for $10.00. Again, contact me for more information or to purchase a year or more of them.

We are now seeking items for our silent and live auction fundraiser on Saturday, September 28, 2013. Please contact us (Roger Humbert – 616-755-2582, Al Pratt – 485-4144, Terry Konkle – 866-0530, Rockford Area Museum 616-866-2235) if you have something to donate. Also, please let us know if you have questions, suggestions or comments. Proceeds from the auction will go toward running the museum.

It is time for the answer to the last “Nugget of Rockford History” question where I asked for the name of the person who managed the Kroger Store in Rockford. The answer was Howard Morehouse. I received replies from Ruth Graves, Pam Crawford (she said she used to call Mr. Morehouse and his cashier Mr. and Mrs. Kroger), Dave Baker, Mona Root, Bob Boyer, Gene Berry, Lue Hawkins, Helen Hessler, Gayle (Woodworth) Wernette, Terri (GoGo) Byrne, Joan Bunn, Charlie Hyde, Bernie Armstrong and Harold Christiansen. My thanks to all for taking an interest in the question and sharing your answers and experiences with me.

Several mentioned other things about Mr. Morehouse. Gene Berry knew that Howard later had a men’s clothing store on Courtland Street where Gene purchased a suit for his wedding. “I wore that suit for years” Gene stated. Several also knew that Howard was a member of the Rockford School Board for many years. Bob Boyer knew that Howard’s son, Dean, was a successful boys’ basketball coach at Fremont and currently is an assistant coach in girls’ basketball at Hope College, and that Howard’s daughter, Sally, was an administrative secretary for Rockford Schools for several years. I knew Howard quite well, and he was always a positive supporter of Rockford school activities including athletics.

Ironically Howard’s daughter (now Sally Judson) recently sent me many potential “Nugget” questions, and I am using one this week (thanks Sally). Here is a new question to ponder. Keith Newman and Lawrence Price (has a nickname but I am withholding it because it would be too much help in getting the answer) were well known and often very busy Rockford businessmen. “What was their profession? “ Contact me with your answer!

I will close with some educational information from Helen Hessler who informed me that a man named Thomas owned some stores and that he sold them to Kroger, so we had a Thomas Grocery before Kroger. Good to know! Isn’t history fun?

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