Rockford Area Historical Society News and Updates for January 12th, 2017

By TERRY KONKLE – President

On Thursday, January 5, 2017, the Rockford Area Historical Society (RAHS) had their regular monthly meeting at the Community Cabin at 1:00 P.M.. Our scheduled speaker, who was coming from Frankenmuth, Michigan, could not make the trip because of weather conditions, but Frank Schaffer from the Rockford area took his place and presented an excellent program on World War I. He brought with him a collection of items which were displayed and discussed during his talk. Mr. Shaffer was well prepared and well received by approximately fifty people. He often gives talks to schools, and it was apparent that he enjoyed what he was doing. After he was finished, many spent time looking at what he had brought and talking with him. The RAHS was very lucky to have him fill in, and we expressed our appreciation to him.

One of our board members, Shirley Norman, has decided to continue to be active in the society, but to retire from her trustee position. She has been a knowledgeable, positive person who was our program chairperson before becoming a trustee. Shirley was part of the museum expansion project which she supported from the beginning. Because of her expertise and her willingness to help, she has made our group better. Our thanks to her for her efforts over the years! Long time RAHS member and hard working museum supporter, Jon Stamp, has consented to complete Shirley’s term of office. The RAHS is very fortunate to have Jon as a board member.

Once again, Carole Holden Christensen was the only person to answer the last “Nugget of Rockford History” quiz. It consisted of five statements that were either true or false. Here are the correct answers (1) False – the Rockford High School Athletic Hall of Fame does have more than one member from some families. (2) False – Rockford’s football team did qualify for the M.H.S.A.A. playoffs this past season. (3) True – The museum does have a letter written by Mike Farmer telling about starting “Squires Street”. (4) True – Bill Sinclair and Art Miller were RHS principals. And (5) False – Rockford High School has hosted many state championship athletic events.

Here is a new “Nugget”. The Rockford High School Athletic Hall of Fame does have members from the same family in it. In fact there are several. The question is “Name three (last name) families that are represented more than one time in the “Athletic Hall”. Contact me with your answers by e-mail at or by phone at 616-866-0530.

Several people have reminded me that the building that housed “Russells Café” used to be the police post in Rockford. That is true! I was asked if I knew if there was a jail in the building. Does anyone know if there was? Contact me with information if you know.

The granddaughter of 1944 Rockford High School graduate, Gene Burch, who passed away recently, contacted me asking to confirm some information to be used in his obituary. Gene was the co-captain of Rockford High School’s football team of 1944. The team won the Grand Valley Conference championship that year and was undefeated for the season. They were the first football team in our athletic history to not lose a game. They won six games and tied two. Jerry Fox was their coach. I am always happy to help with history if I can.

Finally, remember to contact me with questions, comments, suggestions, concerns and corrections. Have a great week!