Rockford Area Historical Society: What businesses were here first?

By Terry Konkle – President

The Rockford Area Museum (RAM) now features several new displays along with the  rearranging of some artifacts. Three cases of Rockford postcards show some of our town and area history. One case is located in the entry hall to the right of the front doors while the others are in the south room. There is also a new display in the south room with old medicine bottles, antique perfume dispensers, men’s shaving equipment and tobacco containers. Some of them have Rockford business names on them.

The back hall area where composite school pictures of Rockford graduating classes are located on the walls now has a display case with information and pictures on Rockford Union High School which was destroyed by fire in February of 1922. Photos of the school after the fire are interesting as they depict the destruction. Visitors can read a “first hand” account written by Myrna Giles (Harger) who was a senior at the school in 1922. She wrote about watching the school burn. An anonymous poem entitled “Wail of a taxpayer” can also be read to get a person’s view of the school situation back then. Readers are encouraged to visit the new displays.

It is now time for the “Nugget” of Rockford history portion of the column. Bill Boyd, Carole Holden Christensen, Lee Paull, Gerald DeMaagd, Linda Schuitman and Ruth Reickard all responded with correct answers to the last matching quiz where readers were given ten businesses and asked to select a statement that went with it. Here is the answer key: 1. (G) the Hessler Building – had artists perform there, 2. (K) “Red Ribbon Hall” – Susan B. Anthony spoke there, 3. (I) Rockford Hotel  – located in Hotel Maine, 4. (A) RAM – located in former courthouse, 5. (C) Rockford Bike Shop – on site of former Texaco Gas Station, 6. (E) Morris Builders – old office building of Dr. DeMaagd, 7. (L) The Corner – Owned by Carl Hyde, 8. (B) Rockford Post Office – on site of Betts House, 9. (H) Independent Bank – on site of school that burned, 10 (F) Car Care Unlimited – in building that once was Pontiac Garage. I thank the responders for taking part!

Here is a new “Nugget” in the form of a ten question quiz. Each number will have two choices (A and B) and readers are asked to choose the letter of the business or school that has been in Rockford the  longest. Only consider the business and not the location when deciding. Please contact me by email ( or by phone at 616-866-0530 with your answers.

____  1. A. Jody’s B. Ramona’s Table

____  2. A. Grill 111 B. Arnies

____  3. A. Rogue River Tavern B. The Corner

____  4. A. Rockford Flower Shop B. Aunt Candy’s Toy Company

____  5. A. Independent Bank B. Young Insurance

____  6. A. Pederson Funeral Home B. Gliks

____  7. A. The Towers B. Parkside School

____  8. A. Valley View School B. Remax Realty

____  9. A. Maghielse  Realty B. Burger Shack

____10. A. Krause Library B. Family Fare

In closing, I remind all to contact me with questions, comments, suggestions, column ideas, donations, concerns and corrections. HAVE A GREAT, POSITIVE WEEK!