Rockford Area Historical Society News and Updates: August 3, 2017

I received an e-mail from Betsy Mroczkowski concerning the Rockford school song “The Orange and the Black”. She was not originally from Rockford and was surprised to read the words because they were the same as those of the high school she attended in Harbor Beach, a small town in the thumb. She said “My school colors were orange and black and we had the same song – same words. We still sing the song at our reunions and I remember the words! Fond memories.” I thank her for sharing that and wonder if perhaps other schools had the same song. Readers thoughts are welcome!

In checking through a folder containing photos of Rockford from the 1920’s, I found one of six Rockford students kneeling, squatting or standing on a sidewalk. Research placed the six boys on the east side of Main Street and on the west side of the high school at that time. In the background is downtown Rockford. Five of the six are identified with the boy in front the one not known. From front to back the following are identified starting then with the second person. They are: Hoyt Stocum, Arnold Hunting, Ron Finch, Shelby Graves and Lyle Bennett. The five identified people were all athletes who graduated from Rockford High School in 1923 and were outstanding football players which makes me think the sixth boy might also have been an athlete.

The school was destroyed by fire in February of 1922, and the football team in the fall was one of the best in early Rockford athletic history. Finch, Graves and Bennett are members of the Rockford High School Athletic Hall of Fame. The fence on the right side of the picture was probably just south of Maple Street on the east side of Main.

A reader commented to me a couple of weeks back that she had visited the Rockford Area Museum (RAM) and thought the class graduation photos located in the back hall were very interesting and educational. This area has been added in the last year and many visitors have been in to see it and often they find relatives in the photos which are hanging on the walls on both sides of the hallway. Stop in and view them!

Plans are in place to begin our new Rockford Area Historical Society (RAHS) season on Thursday, September 7 at the Community Cabin. The meeting will begin at 7:00 P.M. and everyone is welcome to attend. There is no charge and one does not have to be a member to participate. More information will be coming in future columns.

The RAHS and the city of Rockford have reached a mutually beneficial agreement that will satisfy the society’s need for storage space. The Rockford City Council approved the idea at their July meeting and a lease very similar to the one for the RAM will cover the particulars. The RAHS will not need to move our stored material to a different spot for at least forty years. What a positive relief that is to all of our dedicated movers!

Please contact me with your questions, concerns, suggestions and as always corrections. I can be reached by e-mail ( or by phone at 616-866-0530. Have a great week!