Page 18 - Rockford Living Magazine 2017-18
P. 18

By Karen Gentry
Did you know that Rockford was originally called Laphamville? A main highway once traveled through downtown Rockford where there were four car dealerships and gas stations to serve the busy traf c. A devastating  re destroyed Rockford’s only school in 1922. Get a glimpse of everyday life in the early days of Rockford. It’s all a part of the history of Rockford that can
be discovered at the Rockford Area Museum (RAM).
Whether you’re new to Rockford, moved here a decade ago or a third generation native, you might not realize that Rockford has an impres- sive museum that is open six days a week. Museum consultant Jerry Adams designed the rooms and built the displays at RAM’s new location.
“It sets new standards for small city museums that includes profes- sionally designed exhibits and many, many interesting artifacts from the entire Rockford area dating back as far as the mid 1800s,” said Al Pratt, co-director of the museum with Dick Johnston. The family friendly museum features exhibits that will appeal to all ages from preschoolers to senior citizens.
The Rockford Area Historical Soci- ety spearheaded the fundraising for the expansion of the museum that relocated to the former courthouse on 21 S. Monroe Street in 2013. There’s 2,500 square feet of exhibit space divided into two sections, one
Early view of Main Street in down- town Rockford. Date unknown.
chronological from Rockford’s early days as a logging town with a saw- mill to the present, and the second divided by subject area including military, scouting, school and ath- letics. It encompasses Rockford and Plain eld, Algoma and Cannon townships.
“You will enjoy seeing photo- graphs and what the town looked like a 100 and 50 years ago. It’s much more than you would expect in a small town museum. There’s a great deal of depth in terms of local history. It’s very dedicated to Rock- ford,” said Neil Blakeslee, a Rock- ford attorney with roots in the area dating back to the late 1800s.
Historic photos courtesy of Rockford Area Museum
Rockford Living Magazine 2017/2018
Postcard showing view of Rockford from the west bluff in 1921.
Learn. Explore. Discover our History at the
Rockford Area Museum

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