Rockford Area Historical Society News and Updates

September 3, 2015 // 0 Comments

On Wednesday, August 26, 2015 the Rockford Area Historical Society (RAHS) held their first board meeting for our 2015-16 year. Because we do not meet in June and July, there was a lot of catching up to do. At every board meeting one of the agenda items is “museum news”. Several museum items were covered with emphasis on our new website and also on the purchase of a new microfilm reader-printer for museum use. The reader-printer is set up and ready to go and should be a major asset to those looking for items in our newspaper films. The museum also purchased two new computers which are a big improvement. Museum staff have been trained on using the new acquisitions. A major portion of our meeting covered the fundraising raffle, silent auction and Grandma’s Attic sale taking place on Saturday, September 26, 2015. Donations of items has been happening and ticket sales are ongoing. Our museum storage area has been carefully organized and some things have been put aside for auction or sale. Readers are still encouraged to contact us with items that could be used during this important event. Simply call me at 616-866-0530, Dick Johnston at 292-5091 or the museum at 866-2235. Also discussed at our board meeting were the programs for our regular meetings which begin on Thursday, September 3 at the Community Cabin. Mike Cuneo, Rockford school’s assistant superintendent, is our first speaker and will bring us up to date on all the construction projects and future plans for our school buildings. The meeting will start at 7:00 P.M. with everyone welcome. The board spent some time talking about a project to honor Rockford’s only Medal of Honor recipient, John Shogren. Readers have probably seen the news release from the city on this endeavor. More information will be available in the next couple of months. The board went over having a booth at the “Farmer’s Market” on September 5. A final exciting discussion covered the positive opportunity given to the RAHS to obtain some important memorabilia from Blakeslee’s Shoe Store. All board members expressed their appreciation to the Blakeslee family for thinking about the museum. It is now time for the “Nugget of Rockford History” questions. Two weeks ago I asked […]

Rockford Area Historical Society News and Updates

July 30, 2015 // 0 Comments

by Terry Konkle – President My friend, Bill Boyd, called last week to help me get a portion of the last “Nugget” corrected. As a lifelong Rockford resident who spent a lot of time on Main Street (Boyd’s Recreation), Bill knew that the location of “Bow Dacious” was not in the building that used to be “Vern’s Two Way Market”. Actually the “Corner Bar” expanded into the “Two Way Market” building. I should have known that because the photo in the 1968 Rockford Paper shows the “Corner Bar” only about half the size as it is now (2015). The “Nugget” quiz had ten matching questions, so readers who still respond to it can have number ten correct (answer E). A couple of readers have already figured it out by process of elimination. There is still time (August 1) to get answers to me. Thanks Bill for your kind correction. I appreciate it! In last week’s column an August 15, 1968 special edition of the “Rockford Register” was used as a source of information about the Rockford area during the celebration of the town’s one hundredth and twenty fifth birthday. Of course, a lot has changed since that time including the amount spent to purchase many items. Here are some prices on several things in 1968: 100-5-grain aspirin – 15 cents; 100 vitamin C 100mg tablets – 59 cents; a home with four bedrooms, three full baths, family room with fireplace, kitchen, full basement and breezeway – $23,500; box of 48 crayola’s – 59 cents; 500 count package of filler paper – 88 cents; a ten pound bag of Idaho Potatoes – 69 cents; a cello package of carrots – 10 cents; a 20 x 24 foot pre cut garage kit with a complete booklet giving step by step instructions to put it up – $695.00; a heavy duty aluminum storm and screen door – $29.50; five pound bag of sugar 49 cents; fourteen ounce bag of potato chips – 49 cents; sixteen ounce bottle of Faygo pop – 10 cents; a 14 inch portable color television – $299.95 and a 1968 Ford Impala Sport Coupe $2847.00 plus taxes and license fees. The Lowell Show Boat had six days of operation featuring Dinah Shore and the […]

Rockford Area Historical Society News & Update

July 16, 2015 // 0 Comments

by Terry Konkle – President The Western Michigan Genealogical Society, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, publishes a quarterly magazine called “Michigana”. Their current issue (Volume 61 – Issue One) has several pages devoted to the Rockford Area Museum (RAM). The cover has a picture of the outside of the building along with two smaller photos of inside exhibits. The author of the very informative and complimentary article, Mary Rasch Alt, visited the museum and included comments on what she saw. There are also many photos mixed in with the text. She did an excellent job of presenting information that gave readers a positive view of the “RAM”. One of her paragraphs stated “The museum certainly has the WOW factor. You can follow a path of very well done displays with excellent photo reproductions. There are large display panels and graphics that are now backdrops for the museum’s artifacts and admission is free! Do consider a donation when going through this well designed museum”. She mentioned that the Rockford Area Historical Society (RAHS) operates the RAM and that the museum has “For Kids Only” areas that help children interact with history. The magazine’s editor, Ruth Waybrant, sent complimentary copies of the magazine to the museum and they are available in our research room. The RAHS is very proud of the RAM and to see our efforts be applauded in the “Michigana” was rewarding. Rockford has an outstanding facility that helps our area. Thanks go to Mary Rasch Alt and Ruth Waybrant and their helpers for their efforts to let readers and others know about our museum! Of course thanks also always go to all those who worked so hard and donated time and money to make the new museum project a success. Because of the efforts of many, our community is a better place. To be recognized for excellence in the “MIchigana” magazine shows that! Makes one feel “pretty good” doesn’t it! About two weeks ago, Merri Richardson dropped off for the museum a dedication program for the new Rockford Senior High School of 1960 (now Rockford North Middle School). The dedication and open house took place on December 4, 1960. On December 12, 1958 the voters approved two ballot proposals. One increased the mills used […]

Rockford Area Historical Society News and Updates

June 25, 2015 // 0 Comments

by Terry Konkle – President Let’s start with a “Nugget of Rockford History” four part question. Each part consists of two things and readers are asked to decide which of the two occurred first in Rockford history. So, number your paper from one to four and put down the letter (either A or B) of the earliest thing. Contact me by e-mail at tnjkonkle@hotmail.com or by phone 616-866-0530 with your answers. ____ A. Corner Bar Building, B. Hessler Building ____ A. Sigsbee Street, B. Fremont Street ____ A. Rockford Register, B. Star Theater ____ A. Ten Mile Bridge, B. Parkside School This Saturday, June 27, 2015, the “Golden R” will meet at Rockford High School for their annual reunion. The members of the Rockford High School class of 1965 will be featured as they have now been out of school for fifty years. The reunions have been a positive part of Rockford history since 1987 when the first gathering was held at the former high school on North Main Street. The idea for the reunion came from well known Rockford graduate and coach Lyle Bennett, and the Rockford Area Historical Society helped sponsor the initial meeting. This year the group will celebrate their twenty ninth gathering. My curiosity caused me to wonder about what happened in 1965 involving the seniors of fifty years ago. Using the 1965 yearbook, “Rams Tale” for help, I found out that the seniors put on a play entitled “The Night of January 16TH”. It was directed by Mrs. Carlene Stamp, who today is a loyal volunteer at the Rockford Area Museum. The Rockford Band performed a post-game show at a University of Michigan football game. Teachers Clint Lindhout and Dave Thompson were the class advisors while Steve Ohnsman-President, Dan Jenkins-Vice president, Maxine Dunn-Secretary and Phil Smith-Treasurer were the elected officers of the class. The valedictorian was Laura Wells. Salutatorians were Carole Clark and Barb Smith. The top ten scholars that year were all girls with Faye Dow, Linda Buth, Sue Lawson, Sharyl Waldron, Maxine Dunn, Gail Paepke and Sue Platt joining with Laura Wells, Carole Clark and Barb Smith to form the group. Erkki Wirta, Tore Lind, Tade Risius and Ursel Maas were exchange students. Neil Huizenga was the high school principal and […]

Rockford Area Historical Society News and Updates

May 28, 2015 // 0 Comments

Terry Konkle – President Let’s begin this column by answering a question that was asked recently by a friend. We were talking about Rockford history and the friend asked:   Is Homer Burch’s book “From Sawmill To City” still available to the public? The book, which I am sure many readers already know, covers Rockford area history up to the year 1967. Over the years it has been reprinted and sold by the Rockford Area Historical Society (RAHS). Recently it was reprinted again and copies may be purchased at the Rockford Area Museum (RAM). When our new museum was being designed, a lot of thought went into not only what would be featured in our displays but also into the reading content that would accompany the exhibits. Fortunately, the research area of our museum contained information that could be used. Along with that, Homer’s book and his weekly newspaper columns contained a lot of our area history. Research is made easier when someone has already written about some of what is being sought. Bobbi Schirado’s book on Rockford was also a valuable work with its many photos and written content. Her book is also for sale at the RAM. “From Sawmill to City” contains the answer to this week’s new “Nugget of Rockford History”. According to Homer Burch, Rockford created its first public park in 1907 and dedicated the “Old Soldiers Monument” at the location. It was called “Rockford Village Park”. The new question is: “What building is located today on that piece of property?” Contact me by e-mail at tnjkonkle@hotmail.com or by phone at 616-866-0530 with your answers. The last “Nugget” consisted of a six part matching quiz. Readers were given six dates and had to find the event that occurred on that date and use the letter of the event as an answer. Here are the correct responses: (1). A – 1965 is the class to be honored at this year’s Golden “R”, (2). E -1954 – The Rockford Lions Club was formed, (3). F – 1970 – Squire Street Square was started, (4). – C – 1947 – Lewis Street football field gets lights, (5). – B – 2002 – New ambulance facility is built on Shaner, (6) – D – 1937 – […]

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