by TERRY KONKLE President, Rockford Area Historical Society A major goal of the Rockford Area Historical Society (RAHS) is to preserve the history of our Rockford area and to make it available to people of all ages. One very important way of presenting our history is by collecting all kinds of material and then displaying or making it available in our museum. For years, RAHS has been active in supporting the museum through the volunteer efforts of many. The group has also raised funds to deal with most museum expenses. As readers know, we are now nearing the conclusion of a project like nothing we have ever done before. We are moving our museum to the 63rd district courthouse building because of the tremendous support of so many individuals, organizations and businesses. This support has come in many forms. Financial donations and pledges were and still are the backbone of our success. Since we still need more money to do our exhibits, those who have not contributed can still do so by contacting me for the needed materials at (616) 866-0530. Another form of support is the tremendous time commitments given by interested people. The hours put in by RAHS members and so many others has been unbelievable. Caring people have contacted us to offer their help. Currently, our fundraising auction needs your support. If you have an item or items to donate or want to help with auction efforts, contact us at (616) 485-4144. We have also received verbal praise for our project. Many have realized that our present museum has problems and that there are many benefits to moving. Although some people, at first, expressed doubts that our group could get it done, there was no big plan to stop our endeavor. We received positive support which is always good. Many have expressed their ideas and given their opinions. Many questions have been asked and answered. Here are a few examples: “You need to be open regular hours!” someone said. We know that it will be open at least 22 hours a week. “Can I research my Rockford ancestors at the museum?” an out-of-town donor asked. You can, and there is a good chance we have information on your ancestor. “Will Wolverine World […]
Great Northern Trading Company
Need is greater than ever by BETH ALTENA For the third year in a row one of Rockford’s oldest businesses is asking shoppers to give a little and get something great back—a discount on their total order but more importantly knowing they are making a difference to a child and family struggling this year. Starting Saturday, October 29 through November 6, folks who donate five dollars or drop off a non-perishable food item or new clothing for children, especially pajamas, sleep pants, t-shirts, socks and underwear, will receive 20-percent off their entire purchase at Great Northern, located at ? in downtown Rockford. “People with jobs probably don’t realize how bad it is,” said Stein of the growing number of residents right here in our community who are having a hard time making ends meet. “Help us help North Kent Community Services and their clients.” For years in a row the NKCS has reported record growth in the number of families who are experiencing financial hardship. The holidays can be even more difficult for families who don’t have extra money to spend on presents for their young ones. Stein said the center is asking for donations that can contribute to both Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, packages of jello, boxed potatoes, gravy and vegetables. Because the center has great spending power, receiving deep discounts from food providers, cash donations are especially appreciated. “If you buy an item to donate, the Center, for the same amount, can probably buy three or four of that same item,” Stein explained. Cash donations, as well as item donations, are tax deductable as well, and the staff at Great Northern will provide receipts for donated items or money. Stein said last year several large barrels of items as well as a nice amount of financial donations went to the Center, which services northern Kent County. “This is a good time to start Christmas shopping,” Stein said, noting that kicking off the season of giving can start with a gift to a family which is unable to celebrate the holidays the way they might like to. “We try to support the community we are part of,” she explained. “We are getting new stuff in every day and our selection is better than ever. […]
Barb Stein, owner-operator of Great Northern Trading Co. in Rockford, has been re-elected chair of the Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) Board of Directors for a second one-year term. Stein opened Great Northern Trading Co, a specialty gifts and home décor store, in 1977. She has been a member of the MRA board since 2001. MRA, the unified voice of retailing in Michigan, is the nation’s largest state trade association of general merchandise retailers. MRA provides services, including expert credit card processing, to retail and non-retail businesses, community banks, and state and national associations. MRA has members and accounts in more than 30 states.
Grand finale of ArtCapsule this Saturday—all over town For those who enjoyed generous and delicious samples of Rockford restaurants last year, prepare to multiply your experience by nine. A Taste of Rockford will now take place inside or in front of nine local eateries rather than in one location. A Taste of Rockford, live music and, of course, impressive art by nearly 30 artists will all be available on Saturday, August 6 in the grand finale of the second annual ArtCapsule by the Rockford Area Arts Commission (RAAC). RAAC’s answer to its mission statement of promoting art in Rockford will be everywhere in downtown Rockford this week via ArtCapsule 2011. This is the second year of the event and it has grown in both entries and venues. There are 30 artists featured in 22 venues with plenty of talent showcased in the three categories of 3-D, 2-D and photography. During the week, visitors may pick up ballots at any participating venue, check out the artwork and vote for their five favorite entries. During the week, ballot boxes will be at Frame and Mat Shop, Great Northern Trading Company, and A Charmed Life… Nail Salon and more ballot boxes will appear throughout the downtown area on Saturday. Add “A Taste of Rockford”—Rockford’s eateries offering samples of their fare for $1 tickets on Saturday, and you have a wonderful exclamation point on a great week of celebrating the best Rockford has to offer. The proceeds from A Taste of Rockford will be going to RAAC this year, so the commission is grateful to the restaurants taking part in this crowd favorite. Participating restaurants are preparing samples that will cost from between one and three tickets, so visitors are assured a taste of participating restaurants’ offerings for a fantastic price. Last year restaurants gathered at one location, while this year the samples will be located at the participating restaurant’s front door. For easier access, visitors may purchase tickets at tables strategically placed throughout town on Saturday, with the main location at the Welcome Center, located on Squires Street. “We’re looking forward to a great week’s worth of art that will culminate with a tasty ArtCapsule on Saturday, August 6 with music in the park, artwork in shops and […]
Book signing this Saturday at Great Northern Trading Co. The real diary of early pioneers who homesteaded in the wilds of Sparta was the basis of a book of historical fiction by author Dean Cumings. With imagination and the factual basis of the diary, Cumings tells the story of the difficulties the area’s first settlers faced, from cutting a wagon path through the dense forest to surviving harsh winters. Check out “Ellie” and talk to the author this Saturday, May 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Great Northern Trading Company in the Squires’ Street Square. “The story is typical of the way virtually all our ancestors first settled here, in what was then the Northwest Territory,” Cumings said. A review by Dennis Allen in the Historical Society of Michigan Chronicle Magazine, Vol. 34, No.1, Spring 2011, stated, “Ellie may be a fictional account of a young girl’s journey west, but it’s historically accurate to the place and times of rural Michigan in the antebellum period. In fact, author Dean Cumings was inspired to write the story after reading a distant relative’s journal, which described the family’s migration to the frontier of territorial Michigan in the 1840s. ‘Ellie’ sees the world through the eyes of a young girl, and Cumings channels that persona into an interesting mix of historically accurate fact and fiction.” “We are pleasantly surprised to note the majority of the purchases comes from adults,” said Cumings. “They tell me they appreciate all the detail we used to describe just how our people forged their way into the complete wilderness of that era, some fifteen years prior to the Civil War.” Cumings said the process of publishing a book was also interesting and he is in his third print of 500 books with only 40 left of the current printing. Cumings has spoken to and will be presenting at local historical societies, genealogical societies, library programs (such as June 30 at the Cedar Springs Library’s adult program). The book is the work of a Kent County author and reflects how the Rockford area was settled, and how the settlers prepared the way for our way of life: agricultural first, industrial, political, religious, economical, et al. The book is also available for purchase […]