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Full text of "Rock Valley College student local history research, Spring 2002"

The Birth and Development of Logli Supermarket 



Maria G. Aldana 



14 May 2002 



ENG. 101 DX 



Rock Valley College 



Maria G. Aldana 
ENG 101 DX 
27 April 2002 



The Birth and Development of Logli Supermarket 

The story of Logli Supermarkets began in the early 1900's, when the world started to 
meet its biggest changes and tragedies. A married couple, Joseph and Irene Logli from 
North Italy, immigrated to the United States in 1907. Like many other immigrants, they 
also came to make true an American dream (Nelson 1 19). 

When they arrived in the United States, a job was waiting for Joseph in the coal mines 
in Tuscany, Illinois, near La Salle. Their hometown was Tucca. Consequently, Irene was 
alone for a long time while Joseph worked in Tuscany. However, Irene did not like being 
alone, and she did not like the idea of Joseph working in the coal mines. So, in 1909, two 
years after their arrival, they decided to move to Rockford. Joseph opened a meat market 
on Morgan Street in South Rockford. Shortly before World War I, Joseph sold his market 
to the Salomone family and returned to Italy (Nelson 119). 

Even though Joseph and Irene's plans were to stay in Italy for the rest of their lives, 
the outbreak of war made Joseph and Irene change their minds, hi 1916, they were back 
in Rockford, and back in the grocery business. Their second store was located at North 
First Street west of State Street and Johnson Ave., where they had established their home 
at 1 10 S. Johnson. This store was also located where many immigrants from Italy had 
settled to be close to their jobs in furniture factories. This location gave Joseph a better 
chance of success (Nelson 1 19 and ''Logli Family. . ."). 

Joseph and Irene Logli had five children. Their three sons were named Angelo, John 



Aldana 2 

Sr., and Albert, and their two daughters were named Nellie and Mary. The three sons 
went to public schools and all three graduated from college. Angelo graduated from Notre 
Dame University, and Albert and John graduated from the University of Illinois. The two 
daughters went through parochial schools, but none of them graduated from college 
(Nelson 1 19 and "Logli Family. . ."). 

Instead of keeping his children in his own business, Joseph Logli encouraged them 
to start out for themselves. Albert chose a career in the industry, but the other four 
children chose to open their own food stores. For at least five years, there were five 
separate stores, each owned by a different family member. Joseph, the father, opened his 
store on North Main Street; Angelo, the oldest child, along with his wife, Mary, opened a 
grocery and meat market and established their residence at 819 Kilburn Ave. and School 
Street. Nellie and her husband, Eugene C. Wilson, opened and managed "Logli's Finer 
Foods, Groceries, Meats and Frozen Foods" at 605 Kishwaukee Street. Mary and her 
husband, Clarence Druger, opened their store on Forest Ave. John opened his market at 
2019 Broadway Street (Nelson 119; "Logli Family"; "St. Louis. . ."). 

John Logli Sr., was destined to become the most venturous of Joseph and Irene's 
children, because he was the only one who kept his store. In 1951, he formed the 
Pacemaker grocery store chain with other local supermarket owners. He opened his 
second store in 1958, at 3150 N. Rockton Ave., which is still operating today 
("Logli Family..."). 

John Logli Sr. opened his third Logli store in 1963 at 8010 North Second Street, in 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/rockvalleycolleg12na 



Alclana 3 

almost a virgin territory, which is today's Machesney Park. In 1971, the original store on 
Broadway was closed, and a new supermarket was opened at 5830 E. State Street. This 
last store was the ultimate in Rockford's independent mega-food markets. In 1973, John 
Logli Sr. pursued a more aggressive marketing strategy under the name of Logli 
Supermarkets, while at the same time retaining the corporate name of Pacemaker Food 
Store, Inc ("Logli Family. . ."; "St. Louis. . ."; Schnucks). After the three stores from the 
Pacemaker chain became Logli Supermarkets, Logli started to undergo its biggest 
changes. These changes included expanding, moving locations, and selling to a bigger 
company. 

In 1977, the East State Street Logli store expanded from twenty- five thousand square 
feet to forty thousand square feet ("St. Louis..."). The reason for the expansion was to add 
more grocery aisles and expand the other departments. There were not many problems 
with this expansion because Logli remained open in order to still serve its customers. 
There were only some disturbances such as the store had dust everywhere, and every 
employee had more work to do. Back in that time, Logli Supermarket had only the 
following eight departments: Grocery, Liquor, Produce, Deli, Meat, Frozen Food, Dairy, 
and Bakery. Also, Logli had a different schedule from what they have now. Their hours 
were Monday thru Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Saturdays from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 
p.m., and Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Sherman). 

In 1980, Logli added thirty thousand square feet to the Machesney store ("St. 



Aldana 4 

Louis..."). In order to make this store bigger, they had to take space from the parking lot. 
They added loading docks to the store and they added more space to the back room also. 
They did not close the store while they were expanding it, and just like the one on East 
State, they also had a lot of dust everywhere. With this new expansion, they added two 
more departments to the store, the Liquor Department, and the Bakery Department. 
During 1980 Logli changed its schedule. They were open 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. 
seven days a week (Sherman). 

The East State Street store expanded in 1985, to seventy-five thousand square feet by 
taking space from the parking lot. They also added the Pharmacy Department, the Sea 
Food Department, and a carry out restaurant to this store (Sherman). The year 1986 
brought with it sad and good times. In September of 1986, John Logli Sr. died at Saint 
Anthony Medical Center ("Rockford's Grocery..."). Also, in 1986, the Rockton Ave. store 
added eleven thousand square feet. This new space allowed the Rockton store to have the 
following departments: a Sea Food Department, a Salad Bar Department, and a Video 
Department (Sherman). 

In 1988, the Machesney Park store expanded to sixty thousand square feet ("St. 
Louis..."). They took this space from the parking lot of the store. They made all the 
departments a little bit bigger, and they added: a Salad Bar Department and a Video 
Department. In 1991, they added ten thousand square feet to the bakery of the store 
because the old bakery was too small and outdated. This last addition to this store gave 
more room to the Deli Department (Sherman). 



Aldana 5 

Logli's East State Street location relocated about one mile east and became Logli's 
largest store in 1995. It was considered the biggest supermarket in Illinois. The biggest 
difference between the old store on 5830 East State, and this new one on 6410 East State 
was that the new one doubled the size of the other one, going from seventy- five thousand 
square feet to one hundred and fifty thousand square feet. It also doubled the space for 
groceries, from forty thousand square feet to eighty thousand square feet. The new 
parking lot made space for eight hundred and fifty cars, three hundred more than the 
original location. The store went from seventeen checkout lanes to twenty-four 
("St. Louis...") 

This new store included three more departments: a flower shop, a pizzeria, and a 
restaurant. Also, at the front of the store they had some rental spaces. This radical 
change allowed Logli to have a bank, First of America, an optical shop, and a dry 
cleaners inside their grocery store (Sherman). 

In 1996, Logli announced its plans for a one hundred and sixty thousand square foot 
store at 1810 Harlem Road in Loves Park. Once finished, it had the same structure as the 
East State Street store, but it had a bigger backroom and a restaurant. They decided to 
move to this place was because it was a better location to have a grocery store and Loves 
Park offered them better benefits than Machesney Park (Sherman). 

Another big change Logli Supermarkets underwent that benefited the Rockford 
community was the introduction of scanners in the checkout lanes. "This new 
system saved time for the customers checking out because the checker did not have to 



Aldana 6 

punch in the price of each item on their register" (Kleindl). In September of 1997, Logli 
was also able to accept Link cards. These cards gave Logli customers (users of Link 
cards) a very convenient reason to go to Logli ("Logli Able..."). 

When Schnucks Markets, Inc. of St. Louis, MO. came to Rockford to buy a good 
supermarket chain, they first thought about purchasing the Hilander Stores. Hilander 
wanted Schnucks to buy the real estate too, but Schnucks decided to talk to the Logli's 
family (Kleindl). The Loglis did not want to sell the stores, but a good offer from the 
Schnucks Market Inc. made them change their minds (Sherman). In 1998, Schnucks 
Market Inc. announced the purchase of the Logli Supermarkets, and the deal was effective 
on March 30 of the same year ("St. Louis...") 

After purchasing the Logli Supermarkets, Schnucks Market, Inc. decided to keep 
those stores under their old name, because the customers were more familiar with Logli 
than with the name of Schnucks Market, Inc. Some of the biggest changes that Logli had 
after it was sold, were that Schnucks had more regulations than Loglis. Schnucks gave a 
lot more benefits to the employees than Logli used to do. Merchandise orders changed 
because Logli now had to order its merchandise directly from the Schnucks warehouse. 
Logli used to buy its merchandise from local distributors (Sherman). 

In February 2000, Schnucks Market, Inc. opened its fourth store in Rockford on 
Charles Street, under the name of Logli Supermarkets. Some differences between the new 
store and the other three were that it was divided into two sides. One side of the store had 
a big market area, and the other side had the grocery department and a big general 



Aldana 7 

merchandise department. Because of the size of this store, people found it easier to shop 
and find products (Sherman). 

This author has personally experienced some of the benefits of the changes that Logli 
Supermarkets has undergone. The best benefit for part-time employees is that once they 
have worked for a full year at twenty-five hours per week (for the last six months), they 
can be covered by health insurance. Another benefit for this author involves the 
opportunity for employees to collect five blue cards (a type of thank you card the 
employee receives for doing something good) and to exchange them with the store 
manager or the co-manager for a paper which the employee has to scratch. Underneath, it 
tells the employee what he or she has won (up to a one hundred dollar gift). This author 
works on the General Merchandise Department on the Logli located at Charles Street. 
This author's job is to stack product on the shelves, send damage product to the 
warehouse in Saint Louis, put new product out, and also help customers whenever they 
have a question. 

Logli Supermarkets has gone through many changes, but none of these changes would 
have happened without World War I. If it had not been for the war, Joseph and Irene 
Logli would not have come back to Rockford and started their grocery store. Despite the 
hardships of war, something good resulted for the Logli family. Even though Logli has 
gone through many changes over the years, it is still performing its major function of 
keeping its customers happy. Now, despite the many changes of expansion, new 
locations, selling to Schnucks, and adding scanners and Link cards, Logli is still 



Aldana 8 



performing its first priority of serving its customers. The Rockford community has 
definitely benefited from the Logli Supermarkets. 




Aldana 1 i 



Logli Supermarket on East State Street. 




Louli Supermarket on Charles Street. 



Akluna \Q 







Logli supermarket on Rockton Avenue. 




Logli Supermarket on Loves Park. 



Aldana 9 




1936: Logli's associates at the Brodway store, with John Logli Si", (far right) and his 
father Joseph Logli (far right). 




Logli Supermarkets sing. 



Works Cited 

Kleindl, Pat. Personal Interview, 25 March 2002. 

"Logli Able to Accept Link Cards". Rockford Register Star . Rockfordiana Files. 
Rockford Public Library. 4 September 1997. 

"Logli Family's Sowed Seed for a Food Store Giant". Journal Street. 14 May 
1996. 

Logli on Charles Street. Photo by author. 24 April 2002. 

Logli on East State Street. Photo by author. 24 April 2002. 

Logli on Loves Park. Photo by author. 24 April 2002. 

Logli on Rockton Avenue. Photo by author. 24 April 2002. 

Logli Sign. Photo by author. 24 April 2002. 

Nelson, C. Hjalmar, ed. We The People of Winnebago. Mendota, Illinois: Publishing. 
1975. 119. 

"Rockford's Grocery Legend Logli, 73, Dies". Rockford Register Star . Rockfordiana 
Files. Rockford Public Library. 20 September 1986. 

Schnucks, " Associate Hand Book". No date. 



Sherman, Dave. Personal Interview, 21 March 2002. 

"St. Louis-Based Schnucks Buy Logli". Rockford Register Star . Rockfordiana Files. 
Rockford Public Library. 9 March 1998. 

Store on Broadway Street. Photo by author. 24 April 2002. 



Mrs. Fisher's Potato Chips: A Chip Story 



"Mrs. Fisher's Potato Chips. 



// 




Cristina DiVenti 

Spring Semester 2002 

Rock Valley College 

English 101 



DiVenti 1 

Cristina A. DiVenti. 
English 101, DX. 
April 22, 2002 

"Mrs. Fisher's Potato Chips: A Chip Story" 

Mrs. Fisher's Potato Chips Company, 1231 Fulton Avenue, Rockford 

Illinois, was built with dreams, blocks of love and a mixture of feelings that have 

supported and held it together through all these years. 

The factory is located in a mostly middle class neighborhood in northwest 

Rockford and is a plain, rectangular shaped building that reflects the similar 

characteristics of the neighborhood. A small sign stands near the street with the 

trademarked created in 1932 by Mr. Fisher ("Mrs. Fisher's fact Sheet"). A 

parking area is located in the front of the building and a small door serves as the 

entrance to the wholesale store that is operating inside of the building. The rear 

of the building is much like any other factory. The dumpsters, next to pieces of 

machinery left there, are filled with garbage, and a mixture of unwanted 

memories of love's labor and times gone by. Also, in the back of the building on 

the top of the factory's flat roof are two giant steam stacks like great cigars, 

puffing oil and steam into the air, covering the entire area as a blanket. 

In October 1929, the stock market crashed on Black Friday, caused by the 

overproduction of goods, war debt, and the over expansion of credit and 

fantastic speculations on the stock market. Between 1929 and 1932 the Dow 

Jones average of industrial stock prices fell from a high of 381 to a low of 41! 

creating a depression. During this time of chaos, population was affected; 



DiVenti 2 

especially farmers and almost everyone faced hunger and poverty, fear, worry 
and doubt (htt://historychanell.com). 

As a result, in 1932 in the northern Illinois cities like Rockford, most 
families were having the same experience as the rest of the country. One of 
those families was Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Fisher; they were a marriage with only 
one child. The family was worried about the extreme poverty and the threat of 
hunger. For Mr. Fisher, his main focus was to take care of his daughter and 
wife; therefore, he came up with the idea of making potato chips for a living 
(Johnson 18-19). 

Following with his idea, Mr. Fisher designed, created and built a cooker 
and it had a trademarked. The Fishers then founded a company called Fisher 
Potato Chip Company and opened the business in 1932. Unfortunately, 
according to Mr. Fisher's daughter, her father had manic-depressive condition all 
his life. It was during one of the manic periods that the "chip" idea was born. 
Ironically, soon after the business was launched, Eugene, in a depressed stage, 
left his wife and daughter, leaving Mrs. Fisher responsible for the entire business 
and the debt of the company. She bravely accepted the challenge and added 
"Mrs." to the official name of the company: Mrs. Fisher's Potato Chips (Johnson 
18-19). 

The company was originally opened near the corner of Charles and 
Seventh Street at 1003 Fifth Avenue. The chips were made in the basement on 
a two-burner wash stove. Mrs. Fisher worked ten hours a day, six days a week 



DiVenti 3 

and took care of her daughter. She was the only worker and owner; therefore, 
she peeled, washed and sliced the potatoes by hand. In addition, she marketed 
the chips at schools and taverns at five cents per bag. She sold the remaining 
chips in brown bags at one penny per bag (Johnson). She owned the company 
until 1949, when she sold it to Mr. Sylvester Hahn ("Mrs. Fisher's fact sheet"). 

After Hahn purchased the company, he decided to continue using Mrs. 
Fisher's secret recipe for the chips. Since the chips were becoming popular in 
the surrounding counties, new employees were needed. Therefore, two brothers 
were hired: Tony and Mario Marsili. Tony became the driver of the delivery truck 
and Mario made chips inside the factory ("Mrs. Fisher's fact sheet"). 

Because the Marsili Brothers were thinking about expanding the business, 
their idea was to get a bigger building and new machinery that would help to 
produce more chips. Mario and Tony started a new building in an area where 
there were two houses and a partially vacant one (Interview with DiVenti 
Charles) on the north side of Rockford at 1231 Fulton Avenue. This location was 
in a quiet area surrounded by other houses and other companies. 

In 1964, the company moved to 1231 Fulton Avenue and began hiring 
new employees. Consequently, in 1968 Charles DiVenti was employed, and in 
1969 his brother Peter DiVenti was hired. Later, Paul, the youngest of the 
DiVenti family, joined his brothers to work at Mrs. Fisher's Potato Chip. Chuck 
and Peter drove the delivery trucks, and Paul worked in the production area 
("Mrs. Fisher's fact sheet"). 



DiVenti 4 

In 1969, the three DiVenti brothers decided to start an investment club. 
Each of them was responsible for saving $5 per week. Mr. Peter DiVenti 
remembers: "We started saving $5 per week. Then we decided to kick it up to 
$20. Paul was the treasurer, and I remember if I was late, I'd get a call from 
him (Paul) asking, 'Where's the money?'" (Filmonowicz 100-104). 

Because of their investment plan, the DiVenti brothers were able to 
purchase the company on May 28, 1978 ("Mrs. Fisher's fact sheet"). It was not 
easy for them to manage the business. Even though they knew something 
about manufacturing, they knew little about business administration, so Paul 
began attending marketing and product seminar to facilitate the growth of the 
company (Filmonowicz 100-104). 

During 1980, many changes occurred at Mrs. Fisher's Potato Chips with 
the purchase and installation of the new machinery, a forklift and packing 
machinery. In addition, for the first time in the fifty-year history of Mrs. Fisher's 
Potato Chips, a competing "chip factory" began operating in Rockford. 
Consequently, the new administration at Fisher's answered this event by 
expanding their line with pretzels and rippled and barbeque-flavored versions of 
it original chip. However, eighty-five percent of their principal production was 
still the classic chip. Also, they added a one-pound bag to the "chip family" to 
keep ahead of the new competition, Peter DiVenti noted, "We work hard every 
day and do not get complacent. There's a lot of competition out there" 
("Rockford' Finest..."). 



DiVenti 5 

In 1982, Mrs. Fisher's celebrated their fiftieth anniversary. They chose to 
celebrate by giving something back to the community in honor of their 
costumers' loyalty. The administration opted to make inedible chips, which were 
plastic tokens enclosed in a separate see-through plastic bag. The tokens were 
redeemable for T-shirts with the company logo ("Mrs. Fisher's Keep..."). 

In the last decade, the company has continued upgrading with more high 
technology machinery, especially in packaging, purchased new trucks for delivery 
and expanded manufacturing space. In 1993, Mrs. Fisher's added 4,000 square 
feet to the building, making the plant a total of 10,000 square feet. The addition 
of this part of the building was under the supervision of Building System Inc. 
(Interview with DiVenti Charles). 

The years at Mrs. Fisher's Potato Chips Company have brought a lot of 
satisfaction to their lives. They attribute the success of their company to three 
principal points. "First" according to Peter, "we use very good shortening, and 
the second important thing is that we have an excellent potato broker. Third is 
the thickness of the chips. Our potatoes are sliced one sixty-eight of an inch. 
Other chips are thinner and use a different process. Other manufacturers slice 
the potatoes and then store them in water before cooking" ("A Chip in the Old 
Rock"). At Mrs. Fisher's, however, the potatoes are peeled and immediately 
draped into the oil. With this process, the potatoes retain more of their natural 
starch, which contributes to their distinctive flavor ("A Chip in the Old Rock"). 



DiVenti 6 

But not everything is easy at Mrs. Fisher's. The weather can affect the 
production, quality and process of the chips. Paul related, "The hardest time on 
this factory is in the summer time. During this season, the cooking area gets so 
hot that it is almost impossible to work. The heat from the oil and the vapor in 
the plant almost suffocates the workers at times. Also, the heat and the 
humidity affect the potatoes' quality. For a small business like us, the weather is 
very crucial, but in a big plant like Lay's, it is not a big deal because they 
produce in a day what we produce in a week" (Personal Interview with Paul 
DiVenti). 

For the DiVenti family, Mrs. Fisher's Potato Chips is dreams come true, 
and their only goal is to continue offering the best chips in the northern Illinois 
area. The DiVenti brothers strongly belive that they have taught their children 
what their parents modeled their three sons: love and effective teamwork are 
crucial in life. 

There is no question that from the last seventy-two years many local and 
national potato chip makers producer companies have come and gone. Some of 
the companies rely in the mass media exposure, and other companies rely on 
large markets. Mrs. Fisher's Potato Chips has a need to relay on mass 
communications and large markets, but more importantly are they rely in loyal 
costumers and their employees. Their staff of employees is small, and they 
consist of thirteen full-time and two part-time employees. This group produces 
625,000 pounds of chips a year, and they used 2,000,500,001 pounds of 



. 



DiVenti 7 

potatoes. And for the transportation, 52 semi trucks are needed to ship these 
potatoes from North Dakota to Mrs. Fisher's Potato Chips Company (Phone 
interview with Peter). 

So inside the bag of chips are dreams, hardwork, heartbreaks and a group 
of people who maintain the company in the top of the efficiency. Their principal 
goal is to keep this company in the same status of success for another seventy- 
two years. 




Tony Marsili (left), Fred (center) and Mario Marsili (right) past properties. 





The chips are being salted. 





James Bursining (left) and Terry Sounders (right) peeling potatoes. 




DiVenti 10 



Chips ready to be pack. 



Charles DiVenti packing chips. 




Chips are salted and ready to be pack in the new machine. 



• 




T*V 



POTATO CHIPS 




One of the newest trucks deliver. 




DiVenti 9 



Paul Diventi Sr. 



working with his sons. 




Joanna DiVenti packing chips. 




The owners Paul (left), Charles (center) and Peter (right). 




Paul washing potatoes in their washer machinery. 



DiVenti 12 




Old packing machinery. 




: 



New packing machinery. 






DiVenti 13 




New computerized machinery. 




Old manual machinery. 




Paul DiVenti with Mrs. Fisher great-grandchildren. 




Mrs. Fisher granddaughter (left) and grand great children (right) showing the 
logo created in 1932 by Eugene Fisher. 






Works Cited. 

"A Chip in the Old Rock". Rockford Register Star . 

September 27, 1995: 1C. 
"A Chip Above the Rest". Rockford Register Star. 

September 25, 1997: 12B. 
"Chips are being salted". Don Hath. April 12, 1977. 
"Chips are ready to be pack in the new machine". Mrs. Fisher's Photo Album. No 

date. 
"Chips ready to be pack". Mrs. Fisher's Photo Album. No date. 
"Chuck DiVenti packing chips". Mrs. Fisher's Photo Album. April 1981. 
DiVenti, Charles. Personal interview. February 23, 2002. 
DiVenti, Charles. Personal interview. April 20, 2002. 
DiVenti, Peter. Personal interview. February 23,2002. 
DiVenti, Peter. Personal interview. April 20, 2002. 
DiVenti, Peter. Phone interview. April 24, 2002. 
DiVenti, Paul Jr. Personal interview. February 23, 2002. 
Filmanowicz, Stephen. "In the Chips". 

Rockford Magazine . March 1998: 100-104. 
" The Great Depression". History Channel . 3 pp. 2 Feb. 2002. 

<Htt://historychannel.comperl/print_book.pl? ID=50857.htm> 



"A Homemade Chip do no Travel Far" Rockford Register Star. 

Novemberl2, 1994: 12B. 
"Johanna DiVenti packing chips". Mrs. Fisher's Photo Album. No date. 
"James Bursing and Terry Sounders peeling potatoes". Don Holt. April 12, 1977. 
Johnson Eric. "Salty but True". Rockford Magazine . June 1995: 18-19. 
"Mrs. Fisher's granddaughter and great grant children showing the logo created 

in 1932 by Mr. Fisher" Mrs. Fisher's Photo Album. No date. 
"Mrs. Fisher's Takes Special Care in Making Potato Chips from Area Fan". 

Rockford Register Star . June 13, 1999:12A. 
"Mrs. Fisher's Chip Keeps A Costumer Begging for More" 

Rockford Register Star . January 2 1982: B3. 
"Mrs. Fishers". Fact Sheet. No date 

"New computerized machinery". Mrs. Fisher's Photo Album. No date. 
"New packing machinery". Mrs. Fisher's Photo Album. No date. 
"Paul with Mrs. Fisher's great-grandchildren". Mrs. Fisher's Photo Album. No 

date. 
"Paul washing potatoes in the machine". Mrs. Fisher's Photo Album. No date. 
"Paul Sr. working with his sons". Mrs. Fisher's Photo Album. No date. 
"Rockford Finest... Mrs. Fisher's Potato Chips Rockford's Original for 67 Years". 

No author. No date. 
"Tony Marsili, Fred and Mario Marsili past proprietors. Don Holt. April 12, 1977. 
"Old manual machine". Mrs. Fisher's Photo Album. No date. 



"One of the newest truck delivers". Mrs. Fisher's Photo Album. No date. 
"Old packing machinery". Mrs. Fisher's Photo Album. No date. 



The Old Post Office Through The Rockfordian Eyes 



Robert D.Lee 

5/14/02 

English 101 
Rock Valley College 



I ,cc 1 



Robert 1). Lee 
English 101 
April 25, 2002 



The Old Post Office Through the Rockfordian Eyes 



The Rockford Old Post Office has been mam things to many people and 
has endured many changes. The list is long; for example. The Rockford Post 
Office started out 1 895 on a dirt lot at 401 S. Main St. 

The site was selected during the depression when many government 
buildings were constructed to produce income for out of work citizens. Today it 
stands as a historical site in the eyes of the Rockford Park District and is being 
considered by the City of Rockford. 

furthermore, the red brick and cobblestone building that once served as 
the first post office for the Rockford community was torn down and replaced with 
a new structure (The Old Post Office). During the construction of the Old Post 
Office, The Post Office was temporarily relocated to Water St. (Frank Zeller 
ret. U.S. Postal driver). 

Largura ( oust ruction Company of Gary, Indiana used 700 ions of sleel to 
construct the < )ld Post ( MTice. lis walls were made oi marble as well as its new 
Larguia lloors that were build in 1033 ( Barrie). Next, the ceiling is made of 
plaster and protruding plaster dowers thai look like African daisies based in the 



I ,ee 2 

man) boxes thai go from corner to corner. l ; urthermore. the long, bul lovely green 
rhinestone hallwa) stretches the length of the building al .1 whopping 1 6,750 feet: 
it was built by Venice Terrazzo and file company in 1933 after the first floor was 
taken up when it was found to be too slippery. The final cost of the building was 
$735,000. 

I lowever, after many years of ownership by the Post Office and the U.S 
Government, the Old Post Office was sold to Belvidere National Bank .In 1993 it 
was sold to the Rockford Park District for $775,000 which makes it an increasing 
value from the time of purchase at $735,000 ( Barrie). At the time the Park 
District purchased it for $775,000, many tenants have resided there: They were 
as follows: 

Anything's Possible (advertising agency) 

BP Image Craft (graphic design) 

Burns International Security Services 

Cheap Trick (band) 

Gary Geiger (Rm.206) 

Joliet Valves 

Medicine Man, Inc. (Attic Studio) 

Midwest Computer Systems 

Nikkolas/Mathews Design 

Print Custom Photo Lab, Inc. 

R.L Polk & Company 

Rockford Insurance Specialist 

Bob Brien 

Joel Delun 

Rockford Public Library 
Sturgis Barber Shop 
WQRF Channel 39 
U.S Post Office 
Bill Bishop 
1 l.S District Attorney 
Department ol commerce 
IKS 

County farm bureau 
U.S Marshals 
Military recruiters 



J 



.CC i 



Bob Bricn 

Joel Deluna 

Rich (iorlewski (R111.//I basement 

Michael I leinze 

Matthew Myer 

Robert Schuldt (Photographer) 

Brent Shelton 

Jay Strong 

John Sky (Photographer) 



Today Channel 39, the U.S Post Office, and the Rockford Park 
District are the only occupants of this building. 
The Old Post Office contains 16,750 square feet with a 180 ft. by 24 
foot lobby. It cost $735,000 to build and it has large windows with 
brass, iron trim frames and giant iron light lanterns that are 
approximately 6 feet tall and 4 feet in diameter located near the Main 
St. exit doors add to historical viewing from passers- by. All of the 
windows are large, approximately 9 ft. tall and 8 ft. wide with silver 
trimmed hand crafted leafs of metal at their base, which could never 
be replaced. 

furthermore some improvements are the newly installed pay 
phones at the Post Office substation and a new lobby phone has been 
recently installed for the convenience of the public. Also on the third 
lloor in the employee lounge is a newly remodeled kitchen which lias 
just been completed. It has new cabinets that are Ivory colored, a new 



I ,cc 4 

silver goose neck faucet, new wicker conch and chair, new thin brown 
carpet and a 25 inch color TV. 

Next, the last additions have been the new storage rooms that 
are constructed of plywood, and large maple doors with gold knobs. 
Some of the storage units have large garage doors that make it easy to 
enter with large loads. 

Finally, I would like to urge you to come see the old Post it is 
hand made marvel complete with flowers that bloom each spring 
around it's border and in the near by median strip. The flowers are 
red, yellow, blue and white that bloom therejust to name a few. It's a 
reminder of the entire beauty of the structure. 



xx 5 



Work Cited 



Barrio. Vance. Personal Interview .Jan 20.2002. 



Vance. Barrie. Personal Photos. Jan 18. 2002. 



Zeller, frank. Personal Interview April 2002. 



July ! 



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P.A. Peterson School, The Fabric of our Past. 



Alisha A. Schwanke 
Spring Semester 2002 

English 101 
Rock Valley College 



Alisha Schwanke 
April 21, 2002 
English 101,NBD 
Scott Fisher 



P. A. Peterson School,the Fabric of our Past 



The tall energetic man with a Swedish appearance striding rapidly down the 
streets of Rockford in the 1920's, with a long light-colored duster flying out behind him 
was P. A. Peterson. As a poor boy, he walked the seven miles from Cherry Valley into 
Rockford just to save the leather on his shoes. From this humble beginning, he rose to be 
a wealthy businessman and philanthropist, who left a fortune worth several million 
dollars. It is a fascinating story. (Cash) 

Pehr August Peterson was born in Sweden on September 8,1846, and came to this 
country with his parents in 1852. P. A. Peterson's family moved to Cherry Valley where 
he grew up. His parents finally settled in Rockford. He began working, as an insurance 
agent for a short time, but deciding this was not his favorite choice of employment. He 
then quit and decided to organize the Union Company in 1876. (P. A. Peterson passes to a 
Great Beyond.") 

During the next few years, he also organized furniture factories and advertised for 
woodworkers in Sweden and financed their trip to Rockford to work at the furniture 
factories. He was very busy with all of his businesses, but he still made time to play a 
very important role in the school board. P. A. brought the idea of factories into Rockford. 

When he died on June 9, 1927, Peterson was a stockholder or director in more than 
fifty firms. (Newton, David, National Register Assistant. For the Illinois Preservation) 



Schwanke-2 
In 1911, when the P. A. Peterson Elementary School was built, the School Board voted 
that the school to be named in Peterson's honor for several long years of service on the 
board. His name may also sound familiar now because he played a major role in the P. A. 
Peterson Retirement Center, also named after him. 

The P. A. Peterson Elementary School was a three-level structure with fifteen 
classrooms. It was located on 1212 21 st Place. In 1939, a school gymnasium and more 
classrooms were added to the building. LeAnna Snyder, a former Elementary student 
who attended the first grade there, she said, "I definitely remember it as being a larger 
building with small classrooms with a lot of staircases." " But one thing I definitely 
remember was in June, 1981, my school amongst ten other local schools were being 
closed due to economic reasons, and I was going to have to change to a whole new 
school." (LeAnna Snyder, interview.) 

The P. A. Peterson building was mostly used for storage after it closed. It sat vacant 
for almost ten years. Finally, the school board decided to either auction it off or tear it 
down. It was auctioned off on February 23,1990, with a bid of $21,000, with only two 
bidders at the auction. The purchaser was Mark Meyers of Land Rock Builders, Inc. of 
Rockford. He also had purchased Highland Schools and converted that building into 
office spaces. 

Mark Meyers then renovated the P.A. Peterson School working continuously until its 
completion. When the building was complete the former school had been converted into 
apartments, including 32 one and two bedroom apartment units, two laundry rooms, and 
an indoor pool and recreation area, with pool tables, dart boards and a lounge area. This 



Schwanke3- 
new apartment came with brand new appliances, oak cabinets, blinds for the 3-foot by 9- 
foot windows and new carpeting. All of the hallways, staircases and even the principal's 
office remained just as they were when it was a school in 1911. There are new garages on 
the old playground of the Schoolyard. 

When the renovation was complete it took about $700,000 to convert this building. 
(Pennie Meyers) Mark Meyers said, " We were trying to make good, affordable housing, 
to take a vacant building and make it an active center. Recycling old Schools became 
popular during the late 70's and early 80's when declining enrollments forced School 
closings. (Cash, Ruth Ann." ("Rockford's P.A. Peterson") 

Many Rockfordians were very pleased with the fact that a Historical building are still 
being used for a good purpose (Don Holt) "Recycling any old building helps a 
Community keep the fabric of the past"(David Newton, National Register Assistant for 
the Illinois Historical Preservation Agency.") 

While the building had been renovated, the living environment was far from perfect. The 
neighborhood was not the safest, with gunshots a common occurrence and the residents 
soon came to the conclusion the building was haunted. 

Unexplainable situations were commonplace. A pair of tweezers with a large amount 
of hair were left out on the counter, when no one had tweezers in the apartment. As time 
went on stranger things continued happening. Mattresses were turned upside down; shoe 
prints were left on the ceiling. The ceilings were 14-foot tall. Conversations amongst 
neighbors confirmed strange things had been going on with them also. 



Schwanke4- 

In one apartment bedroom doors would open and slam shut in the middle of the night. 
The final straw many residents was the sound of children laughing throughout the 
hallways. 

One night it happened at three o'clock in the morning. Several neighbors went outside 
to the hallway only to find other neighbors outside also, and they heard the same thing. 
Once again, the very next night there it was again, children laughing. All the residents 
moved out of the building within weeks. 

There have been no actual proven facts that this building was haunted, but the rumor 
was that while the building sat vacant, neighborhood children played in it and some kids 
had fallen from the stage in the gym and died. Also, (this is new information saved for 
the last paper) supposedly a few children were stabbed to death in this building. Again, 
these are all speculations and rumors by local neighbors and old students. 

Other than all of those experiences, the P. A. Peterson apartment building is a very 
interesting building it can takes residents or visitors back down memory lane, back to 
their elementary days of textbooks, glue sticks, and the smell of chalk. The halls are 
almost alive with the sounds of children running down the hall ways, shoveling peanut 
butter and jelly sandwiches and potato chips into their mouths as fast as they can, so they 
can spend most of their lunch on the playground. 

The architectural spirit also brings them back down memory lane, but where 
chalkboards used to hang, there are now refrigerators. Where school children used to 
write their name, a child id learning to walk. 



Schwanke 5- 
It is a very unique and a intriguing thought to be a part of something that is history. 
Even though a few faded room numbers on the door, which maybe a bit faded, the 
building has became part of the fabric of the past in our Rockford community. 



~**™*°m* 




PEHR AUGUST PETERSON 




Alisha Schwanke 
March 3,2002 
English 101 
Scott Fisher 



Sources 



"Local Apartment Dwellers are going back to School" Rockford Register Star. 1 1 , 

April, 1 993. lA.(Holt, Don) 
Meyers, Pennie. Personal Interview. February,2002. 
Newton, David, National Register Assistant. For the Illinois Historical Preservation 

Agency. 
Nuggets of History. "P. A. Peterson Passes to a Great Beyond.'" Rockford Register Star. 

September, October, 1965. No Author 

" Rockford' s P. A. Peterson." Rockford Register Star. 11, April, 1993. 5 A (Ruth Ann 

Cash) 

Snyder , LeAnna. Personal Interview. February 2002 



All For The Glory of God: 
The Poor Clare Nuns 



By 

Diane Herbig 

Spring Semester 2002 

Rock Valley College 

English 101 



Herbig - 2 

"The chapel was designed by a Belgian man named Van de Mer, who also 
designed the Seton Center and St. Anthony Church," stated Father F. J. Larson. "This 
man did a lot of designs for the Rockford Diocese during that time, but I believe the 
chapel at the monastery is one of his better works" (Larson). 

A beautiful shrine honoring our Lady of Fatima is situated to the south of the 
chapel. With its neatly pruned bushes, it gives a quiet place of contemplation, offering 
an escape from the hectic grind of everyday life. 

The Corpus Christi Monastery has been a part of Rockford since 1916, but the 
roots of the Poor Clare Nuns reach much further back in history. They can be traced 
to the year 1212 when a young noblewoman, Clare Offreducio, gave up a life of 
certain luxury, to embrace a life of poverty and prayer. Following the teachings of 
Francis of Assisi, one day Clare approached him and expressed her desire to devote 
her life to prayer and poverty, as he did. Francis soon settled her in a small church he 
had built. The Monastery of San Damiano in Assisi, Italy is where Clare started her 
religious life. For the next 41 years, the Second Order of St. Francis was formed by 
this devote woman. She was the first woman, in a male dominated church, to write a 
"rule" or way of life, for a monastic community. Just three days before her death in 
1253, her rule was approved, and she received the "privilege of poverty." As the years 
went on, the name, Order of St. Clare, in honor of the first abbess, was adopted, and 
the sisters became known as Poor Clare Nuns (Corpus Christi Monastery "Come 
Follow Me"). 

At the end of the 14 11 century, Pope Benedict XIII received the vows of a French 
recluse, Colette of Corbie. Religious discipline had become lax in some monasteries 



Herbig - 3 

and Colette worked diligently in bringing back the original observance of the Holy 
Rule of the Second Order. The monasteries that follow St. Colette's reform are called 
Poor Clare Colettines (Poor Clare Nuns). 

Through many trials and hardships, the Poor Clare Nuns came to the United 
States from a monastery in Dusseldorf, Germany, and established a foundation in 
Cleveland, Ohio. It is from here that the sisters came to be in Rockford, Illinois 
(Corpus Christi Monastery "Come Follow Me"). 

Having a strong faith in the power of prayer, Reverend Peter James Muldoon 
sought to establish a cloistered community devoted to a life of prayer for the intentions 
of all in the Rockford Diocese. In the spring of 1916, a group of five Poor Clares 
came from the Ohio monastery to start a contemplative community in Rockford. A 
house at 136 Avon Street was purchased and one room was converted into a small 
chapel. Mass was celebrated here everyday and many people living nearby started to 
attend. On August 12, 1916, the Feast of St. Clare, Bishop Muldoon held dedication 
services and blessed the house under the title of Monastery of Corpus Christi. In his 
sermon, the bishop spoke of the life work of the nuns, of why he called them to the 
diocese, and commended them to the care and charity of the people of Rockford 
(Kirkfleetl50). 

"I officiated at the burial of one of the first nuns to come here, and it was related 
to me, by a relative, that the sisters had a very hard life starting the monastery here in 
Rockford. They literally begged on the streets to make their way," commented Father 
Larson. "Thankfully the generosity has changed over the years" (Larson). 



Herbig - 4 

By the winter of 1919-1920, the contemplative community outgrew its 
temporary monastery on Avon Street. The Broughton Sanitarium, opened in 1901 by 
Dr. Russel Broughton for the treatment of alcohol and drug abuse (Rockford Chamber 
of Commerce), became available at a price much below all expectations. This price 
stretched the community purse to the very limit, but the sisters resolved to make the 
purchase, trusting in Divine Providence to meet their obligations. On March 1, 1920, 
the sisters moved to their new location on South Main Street (Kirkfleet 151). 

The 12-acre facility provided ample room for the cloistered community to grow 
and flourish, much as the fruit trees that dot the grounds (Kirkfleet 151). The spacious 
grounds supplied the seclusion needed for monastic life and enough land for a large 
vegetable garden. Mass was offered daily in the basement until funds could be raised 
to construct the present chapel. On July 26, 1925, Bishop Muldoon dedicated the 
chapel that is still in use today. Under the direction of Bishop Edward Hoban, an 
additional piece of property to the south was purchased to extend the enclosure, for 
added seclusion and privacy, and is now the cemetery and the south meadow. In 193 1 
a brick wall was erected to enclose half the property and in 1934 a wing was added to 
the monastery to provide a convent for the extern sisters (Miller 328). 

Following the example set by their founders, St. Francis and St. Clare, the Poor 
Clare Nun takes four vows. Three of the vows, poverty, chastity, and obedience are 
taken by nuns of all Orders. The vow of enclosure is taken only by cloistered 
communities and sets them apart from other convents (Poor Clare Nuns). 

The Poor Clare Nun, by her vow of chastity, frees her heart of any single 
attachment, in order to love God alone and all His creatures in Him. By her vow of 



Herbig - 5 

obedience, the Poor Clare surrenders her free will and all self-determination. The vow 
of poverty dictates that she gives up all material possessions. The Poor Clare Nun 
owns nothing and relies on Divine Providence and alms to sustain their way of life 
(Corpus Christi Monastery "Come Follow Me"). 

As Jesus went to the desert to be with His Father, and Moses went to the 
mountain to pray, the vow of enclosure ensures the solitude and emptiness needed in 
order to devote her life entirely to God (Poor Clare Nuns). In taking this vow, the 
Poor Clare Nun leaves behind her life in the world. She is allowed out of the 
monastery only for a medical emergency or to vote. She can never go home, not even 
for the funerals of parents or siblings. They are only allowed four visits with family a 
year and these are held in a parlor where they are separated by metal grillwork. They 
are allowed to write and receive mail, except during the weeks of Advent and Lent 
(Kranz). This strict life of penance, sacrifice, and prayer, is in essence, total devotion 
to God. Even after God calls her home, the Poor Clare Nun is laid to rest in a small 
private cemetery on the grounds of the monastery. 

"I think people might have a misunderstanding about the sisters and their way of 
life. Some may think these are women hiding themselves away from the world, but 
nothing could be further from the truth," stated Sister James Marie. "I know I turn to 
them for prayers many times" (O'Connor). 

Twenty-one sisters now reside at the Rockford monastery, with one extern 
sister. An extern sister does not take the vow of enclosure, but otherwise joins in all 
community activities. The extern sister takes care of business and errands outside the 



Herbig - 6 

monastery and serves the cloister through their contact with the outside world ("Let 
Them Offer..."). 

In a world where "time is money" the monastic way of life grasps a much 
deeper purpose. For the Poor Clare Nun it is never a matter of material gains, rather, 
all time is at the service of God. From the holy habit they wear, to their daily tasks 
and prayers, every minute of their lives is spent praising and honoring the Lord. 

The clothes or habit that the sisters wear symbolizes poverty, modesty, and a 
shared life in common with each other. It consists of a simple full length cross-form 
tunic of grayish-brown fabric, cinched at the waist by a plain white cord with four 
knots, signifying the four vows each sister takes. A white head cover that completely 
covers the hair and neck, and a plain black veil completes the habit (Corpus Christi 
Monastery "A Day Within. . ."). The nuns are "discalced" which means without shoes. 
Their bare feet are a symbol of penance and poverty ("Poor Clares Are Our 
Partners..."). 

The sisters observe a year-long Lenten fast, and abstain from eating meat. Most 
of the food for the monastery is grown in their own garden (Kranz). 

Each nun has a small bedroom, called a cell, which is her own sacred space. 
Also symbolic of her life of penance and poverty, the Poor Clare Nun lays to rest on a 
straw mattress each night (Poor Clare Nuns). 

A typical day behind the walls of the monastery consists of seven hours of daily 
prayers starting at 5:00 A.M. They have daily meditation times, scripture readings. 
Mass, and rosary. "If you get a chance," relates Sister James Marie, "go to a service at 
the chapel. The sisters sing like angels and outside distractions just seem to 



Herbig - 7 

disappear" (O'Connor). There are about four hours of work and one hour of 
recreation scheduled among the prayers. The work consists of daily cleaning and 
cooking chores, gardening, and general up-keep of the monastery grounds (Kranz). 
The sisters bake, cut, and package the altar breads used in the Rockford Diocese. 
They also sew First Communion veils, priest's vestments, altar linens, and make other 
religious articles that are for sale in a small shop adjacent to the chapel ("Poor Clares 
Are Our Partners. . .). More importantly, the sisters listen to the outpouring of the 
many who turn to them for prayer and spiritual support in coping with the hardship of 
everyday life. 

Although the sisters talk only when necessary during the day, the reverent 
silence is not perpetual. Laughter and fun are permitted during the recreation hour 
each evening. The sisters use this time to sit and talk, oftentimes while mending or 
doing some other lap work, some play instruments, others may choose to play a game 
of volleyball. Importantly, this hour is a special time of fellowship and relaxation for 
the sisters, and a family spirit is evident (Corpus Christi Monastery "A Day 
Within..."). 

This hour of recreation is then followed by night prayers at 7:30 P.M. The nuns 
then retire to their cells and are to be in bed by 9:00 P.M. for a few hours of sleep, 
only to rise at 12:30. It is an unbroken tradition for the Poor Clare Nuns to rise in the 
middle of the night in order to pray for a needy world at a time, when under cover of 
darkness, so many sins are committed. The sister designated as "caller" knocks on 
each cell door and summons her sisters to pray. From 12:45 to 1 :45 A.M. the sisters 
assemble in their private chapel for an hour of prayer and meditation. The sisters then 



Herbig - 8 

retire to their cells for three remaining hours of sleep (Corpus Christi Monastery "A 
Day Within. . ."). "These sisters are truly remarkable women," states Father Larson. 
"They rise in the middle of the night, while us lazy people are asleep, to pray for the 
intercession of all in the diocese" (Larson). 

By giving up much of what the world holds important, the sisters become a 
silent but constant reminder that there is something more, something better (Poor 
Clare Nuns). 

The roots of the Corpus Christi Monastery have their foothold in Assisi, Italy, 
but its branches now outstretch the monastery wall. Annunciation Monastery was 
founded on October 15, 1995, in Minooka, Illinois, by the Poor Clare Corpus Christi 
Monastery, at the request of the Most Reverend Joseph Imesch (The Colettine Poor 
Clare Cloistered Nuns of Joliet). 

The Corpus Christi Monastery is fast approaching 100 years in Rockford. It has 
become a spiritual fortress to the troubled souls of the diocese. For 86 years we have 
come to depend on the prayers of the Poor Clare Nuns to help guide us through our 
daily trials and tribulations. 

What started as a small group of five nuns, journeying to Rockford, from 
Cleveland, Ohio, has grown into two holy communities that devote their time to prayer 
and penance. . .all for the glory of God. 





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Works Cited 

Bare feet are a symbol of penance, poverty, and pilgrimage. Photographer unknown. 

The Poor Clare Nuns. Booklet. 38. Date of photo unknown. 
Colettine Poor Clare Cloistered Nuns of Joliet. Annunciation Monastery. Pamphlet. 

No date. 
Corpus Christi Monastery. A Day Within These Walls. Pamphlet. No date. 
Corpus Christi Monastery. Come Follow Me. Received from Sister James Marie 

O'Connor, Chancery Office. Pamphlet. No date. 
Corpus Christi Monastery, Rockford. Photographer unknown. That All May Be One. 

Diocese of Rockford. Rockford, Illinois. Date of photo unknown. 
First sister Mother Magdalene came from the Poor Clare Monastery in Cleveland to 

Found the Rockford monastery in 1916. Photographer unknown. Rockfordiana 

Files. Rockford Public Library. Date of photo unknown. 
From pews on the right and near the front of the public chapel guests can view the 

Cloistered Poor Clares through grillwork in a wall beside the altar. Photo by 

Owen Phelps Jr. The Obsen>er. Date of photo unknown. 
The habit of the Poor Clare Nun is very simple. Photographer unknown. The Poor 

Clare Nuns. Booklet. 38. Date of photo unknown. 
Kirkfleet, Rev. Cornelius J. The History of the Parishes of the Diocese of Rockford, 

Illinois. John Anderson Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois. 150-152. No 

date. 
Kranz, Cindy. "Living in Silence for God". The Rockford Register Star. 1991 . 

Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 



"Let Them Offer Her into the Hands of the Crucified". The Observer. 14. 

21 April 1995. 
Larson, Father F. J. Telephone interview. 10 April 2002. 
Miller, Rev. Robert R. That All May Be One. Diocese Of Rockford, Rockford, 

Illinois. 328. 1976. 
O'Connor, Sister James Marie. Personal Interview. 2 February 2002. 
Panoramic view of Dr. Broughton's Sanitarium. Photographer unknown. 

Rockford 1912. Local History Room. Rockford Public Library. Date of 

Photo unknown. 
"Poor Clares Are Our Partners in Prayer". The Observer. 20. 5 January 1996. 
The Poor Clare Nuns form a procession during daily prayers. Photographer unknown. 

The Poor Clare Nuns. Booklet. 34. Date of photo unknown. 
A Poor Clare Nun lays bricks to make a walkway at the Corpus Christi Monastery. 

Photographer unknown. The Poor Clare Nuns. Booklet. 10. Date of photo 

Unknown. 
Poor Clare Nuns. The Poor Clare Nuns. Booklet. 9. No date. 
Rockford Chamber of Commerce. Rockford 1912. Local History Room. Rockford 

Public Library. No date. 
A sister cuts the altar breads. Photographer unknown. The Poor Clare Nuns. Booklet. 

35. Date of photo unknown. 
A sister harvests fruit from one of the many trees on the grounds. Photographer 

Unknown. The Poor Clare Nuns. Booklet. 34. Date of photo unknown. 



A sister sits in quiet contemplation in her cell. Photographer unknown. The Poor Clare 

Nuns. Booklet. 10. Date of photo unknown. 
A sister tills the garden. Shoes are permitted when using the roto-tiller. Photographer 

Unknown. The Poor Clare Nuns. Booklet. 45. Date of photo unknown. 
A sister visits from the other side of the iron grillwork. Photographer unknown. The 

Poor Clare Nuns. Booklet. 46. Date of photo unknown. 



Airplane Mecca 

Poplar Grove Airport 



Lee Carter 

5-14-02 

English 101 

Rock Valley College 



Lee Carter Carter 1 

English 101 
25 April 2002 




The fabulous Poplar Grove Airport is an inspiration to aircraft owners and pilots. 
There are over two hundred and fifty general aviation airplanes based there (Lee 
Mendes). The aircraft range from late 1920s Wacos to modern Pipers And Cessnas. 

The airport is in a beautiful part of northern Illinois next to the town of Poplar Grove. 
The airport has not always been called Poplar Grove Airport. It was called Belvidere 
Airport and before that it was an dairy farm. 

In 1968 three men, Dick Thomas, John Stroghm, and Dave Mcklay, bought a dairy 
farm on RT 76 five miles north of Belvidere, realizing that Boone County was the only 
county in Illinois that did not have a public us airport. The closest airport was Rockford 
Airport. The three men rolled out a 3000 foot east-west runway and planted grass. They 
turned the cattle sheds into hangers by cleaning them out and cutting 40 foot sections out 
of the walls so airplanes could be stored in them. Cleaning out the sheds was when Steve 
Thomas became involved in the airport (Steve Thomas). The farmhouse became an office 
downstairs and upstairs became an apartment. The airplanes needed fuel and 
maintenance, so underground fuel tanks and pumps where put in, along with a flight 
office. Additionally, the hog house was cleaned out and became the maintenance shop. 



Carter 2 

In 1972, the airport got its official licenses with the name Belvidere Airport on it 
because that town was bigger. 

In 1973, the airport laid an asphalt runway that is 4000 feet long and 30 feet wide. The 
runway was added to make the airport more user friendly in the winter months (Tina 
Thomas). 

In 1975, there was more expansion to the airport with a newest of open T-hangers with 
gravel floors. 

In 1976, tragedy struck the airport and Thomas family. Dick Thomas had a 21 -year 
old daughter named Linda. She was going to fly a Super Cub to Alaska for her 
brother Billy. On June 12, she was out flying the Super Cub when a wind sheer pushed 
the airplane into some trees off the end of the runway (Lee Mendes). In memory of Linda 
the VOR approach is named LINDA. 

The airport stayed the same until 1994. It was a hard year for the airport and friends 
who knew Dick Thomas. On September 20 Dick died from cancer, and on that same day 
another fatality took place. A transient pilot was flying over the field when the pilot 
declared an emergence and tried to land at the airport. The pilot was almost to the runway 
when the airplane stalled and spun into the ground killing the pilot. 

Steve Thomas, Dick's son, took over running the airport, but Steve had a bigger 
vision. The vision was to build a airpark and expand the airport. Now this is where the 
name change comes into play. Steve had problems with the town of Belvidere, because 
they would not let Steve build an airpark. Steve found a way around this by talking with 



i 



Carter 3 

Poplar Grove. They said yes if he would build them a new water plant, so Steve built one 
for Poplar Grove Township. That is were the name Poplar Grove Airport comes from. 
The original name, Belvidere, is still painted on top of the cattle sheds in black. 

In 1996, the original maintenance shop burnt down. The cause was a static electric 
spark due to an ungrounded airplane being unfueled (Lee Mendes). A new bigger 
building was put in its place and Steve added an aircraft engine shop to the airport. The 
engine shop is indorsed by many aircraft Associations. 

The way the airport stands today, the housing subdivision is all laid out and well over 
half the lots have houses and hangers on them. The remaining lots are patiently waiting 
for a big beautiful house and hanger. On a sunny day the owners display their 



airport that they have worked hard to build. 



■ 
: 



beautiful airplanes outside between flights. Steve and Tina Thomas own this beautiful 



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Works Cited 



Bel-Air Estatae, Photograph. 

Photograph by Michael P. Collins, AOPA Pilot. 
September 1999. 

Mendes, Lee. Personal Interview. March 2002. 

Morris, Ken. Personal Interview. April 2002. 

Poplar Grove Airport, photograph. 

Photograph by Michael P. Collins AOPA Pilot. 
September 1999. 

Steve and Tina Thomas, photograph. 

Photograph by Michael P. Collins, AOPA Pilot. 
September 1999. 

Thomas, Steve. Personal Interview. February 2002. 

Twin Beech, photographs 

Photos by Michael P. Collins, Aopa Pilot. 
September 1999. 




By 



ratncK jomis 



Rock Valley College 

Spring Semester 2002 

English 101 



I 



Patrick Johns 

English 10! Section 101 DX 

14 May 2002 

Rev'd Up 



How does one take a run down grocery store and turn it into an entertainment 
facility? Well, that is just what happened at 8010 North 2 n Street in Machesney Park. 
The building was built as Logli Supermarkets in 1961, and refurbished in 2002 as Rev'd 
Up, an indoor electric Go-kart racing facility. It has had an exciting past and an 
optimistic future. 

It all started in 195 1 when John H. Logli founded the Logli Supermarket chain 
with several other local supermarket owners who "banded together to consolidate 
advertising" (Burkhard). Logli opened two stores in the Rockford area before he decided 
to take a chance and build a store "in almost virgin territory" ("Logli family's Joseph 
Sowed Seeds for a Foodstore Giant"). In 1 963, he opened Logli Pacemaker in 
Machesney Park ("Logli Key Dates"). In 1973, Logli decided to split with the other local 
owners and dropped the Pacemaker name. He said that the split was "nothing that 
wouldn't be normal for a bunch of volatile Italians" (Burkhard). The store was 
remodeled in 1980 with an expanded 30,000 square feet. The store was expanded yet 
again in 1988 to 60,000 square feet. Finally, in 1991, a 10,000 square feet, bakery was 
added to the store ("Logli Key Dates"). 

Then, in 1993, Machesney Park made a drastic move that would force the Logli 
Company to make a decision. The Machesney Park board members tried to persuade 
Eagle Foods to build a store two miles north of the Logli building, at the intersection of 



Johns - 2 
1-173 and North 2 nd . The board also asked the state to make a road change in front of the 
building, eliminating a left turn into the store's parking lot. For Logli's owners, that was 
the last straw and the Park had sealed its fate. They were angry that the Park would try 
to bring in a competitor only two miles from where they were, as well as 
prevent customers from even entering the parking lot. This clash caused them to move 
eight blocks east to build a new 1 60,000 square feet store in neighboring Loves Park. 
"Joe Logli can spit into Machesney Park from his new parking lot in Loves Park," said 
Cliff Sterling, a Machesney Park businessman ("Logli Move Will Cost Machesney"). 
The store closed its doors at 10:00 p.m. on August 2, 1998 ("Logli's Machesney Store 
Closes Tonight"). 

Shortly after Logli had transferred everything to the new store, the old building 
served as many temporary businesses. One of these was The House of Horrors, a 
haunted house based on real-life events run by RMC Productions (based out of First 
Assembly of God). The House of Horrors received many complaints from patrons who 
attended, which lead a federal inspector to prevent them from using real animal bones, as 
well as the sheriffs department ending the use of real shotguns loaded with blanks. The 
bones were thrown out and stage props replaced the shotguns. Though there are 
complaints about this annual event every year, the Christian "morality-based haunted 
house" remains the biggest and most visited haunted house in Northern Illinois (Gary). 

Finally, in 2001, Illinois' only indoor electric go-kart track had a premier location 
to start owner Jim Mcllroy's dream to build a family-friendly facility. "Owner and 



Johns - 3 
operator of Bruin Electronics and the Landis Corporation" and father of two, Jim had a 
dream to build a "resort quality miniature golf course" in the Rockford area. He decided 
to take a trip around the country and look for places with good ideas that he could borrow 
for use in his own dream. As he traveled the country, his dream expanded into an entire 
"year round venue" that would be so much more than he had ever intended it to be. 
Being a father, he decided to make a family-oriented "safe, affordable environment for 
people to come together" and enjoy themselves ("Rev'd Up" An Advertising. . . 7). 

The building stands out with its bright colors and an eye-catching logo. 
Approaching the building is be a large sign out in front sparking an interest as to what is 
inside. It is a large white sign with the "Rev'd Up" logo catching one's interest. It is a 
68,000-square-foot facility that has more than enough parking. Scattered throughout the 
parking lot are many orange light posts that illuminate the entire lot at night. There is the 
constant buzz of traffic as the building sits on the busiest street in Machesney Park. The 
building itself is painted black, white and orange over the old rugged brick. Printed on the 
front walls of the facility are giant words that state "Family Recreation", and "Go-kart 
Racing". The entrance is on the east wall beneath an awning that stretches across the 
front of the building. Protruding from the awning is a colorful sign pointing to the sky 
that says "RevM Up". The building beckons one to come in and join in the fun. 

Once inside, the building itself has been hollowed out and two Go-kart tracks 
have been placed in the center of the building. There is a small track for beginners and a 
larger track for more experienced drivers. Surrounding the tracks is an assortment of 



Johns - 4 
games and entertainment of all kinds. The building is like one giant room with 
excitement in every corner ("Rev'd Up" An Advertising... 3). 

Visit the front desk before diving into the world of Rev'd Up. There, Extreme 
Cards can be purchased for one dollar and money can be credited to the card. The 
extreme cards are used in every attraction excluding the pit stop grill and the pro shop. 

When standing at the front doors of the building looking in, there is a wall of 
"state-of-the-art arcade" games to the left along the entire front of the building. 
According to Krystal Hoffman and Misty Stivers 'The games are very addictive and you 
can spend an entire visit on the games alone". Continuing past all of the high-tech games 
along the front of the building are older, less expensive games. There is everything from 
pinball to ticket games. Along the wall there is a prize redemption counter with many 
prizes that can be bought with the tickets that are won. The tickets are inserted into a 
machine that automatically counts them, eliminating the hassle of carrying around tons of 
tickets. This is the "largest redemption/prize center in the state line area" ("Rev'd Up" 
An Advertising... 4). 

Continuing on around the left corner is the "Pit-Sop Gill", a restaurant where 
there is pizza and other food to refuel before going back out on the track. This is a great 
little area where the adults can relax while the children run rampant through the facility. 

On the right side of the entrance is the pro shop store where apparel of all sorts 
sporting the Rev'd Up logo can be bought. There are also stickers, mugs, pens, etc. 
Directly next to the pro shop is the bowling ally. There is a choice of either Moonlight 
bowling or regular bowling with four lanes opposite of each other and service desk 



Johns - 5 
between them. Bumper bowling is even provided for children ("Rev'd Up" An 
Advertising... 5). 

The bowling area opens up right into the golf simulator, batting cages, and a 
pitching tunnel. The golf simulator can simulate courses from around the country. It is 
perfect for those long winter days when the snow and temperature prevent avid golfers 
from getting to play. There are two batting cages and a pitching tunnel where you can 
choose from different balls and speeds. The cages or tunnel can even be rented out for a 
half hour or hour ("Rev'd Up" An Advertising... 5). 

There is also a bumper car arena. These are not typical bumper cars, but new 
circular vehicles with inner tubes instead of the classic hard rubber bumpers. The arena 
is filled with smoke, multicolored strobe lights, and music, making it an all-new 
experience that has to be seen ("Rev'd Up" An Advertising... 5). 

Also included in the facility are party rooms perfect for birthday parties or any 
special occasion. Then there's a 250-seat conference facility for business', bands, or 
other large group conventions ("Rev'd Up" An Advertising. . . 6). 

There is even more to come in Rev'd Up's future including outdoor go-kart tracks 
and a high quality miniature golf course which will complete Jim Mcllroy's dream. 
Rev'd Up also has plans to expand to new locations. According to Jim, Rev'd Up "has 
plans for more" facilities already ("Rev'd Up" An Advertising. . . 2). After extensive 
research there is a possibility of building separate facilities in the surrounding areas or 
even throughout the country. These separate facilities could include other forms of 
entertainment. The possibilities are endless. 



Johns - 6 
Family-oriented entertainment is a great thing for this community. This country 
needs more places where families can come and have fun in a safe environment. The 
future looks bright for Rev'd Up because this is only the beginning. 



Works Cited 

Barrie, Vance. Slide Presentation 

Rockford, Illinois 29 January 2002. 
Burkhard, Betsy "Rockford" s Grocery Legend Logli, 73, dies"' Rockford Register Star 

Sep. 20 1986, 3B Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
Gary, Alex "Controversial attraction"" Rockford Register Star 

Oct. 28 1999. 
Go-Karts, Machesney Park, Illinois. 

Photographer unknown, Rockford Register Star 1 999. 
House of Horrors, The, Machesney Park, Illinois. 

Photo by Christina N. Bowles, Rockford Register Star 1999. 
Lee, Dixie. Personal Interview. Logli Supermarket, 

Loves Park, IL. 1 7 Jan. 2002 
"Logli family's Joseph Sowed Seeds for a Foodstore Giant" Rockford Journal 14 May 

1997 Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"Logli Key Dates" Rockford Register Star March 19 1998 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"Logli' s Machesney Store Closes Tonight" Rockford Register Star 2 Aug. 1998 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"Logli Move Will Cost Machesney" Rockford Register Star 17 Feb. 1998 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
Molyneux, John. Personal interview. 14 February 2002. 



"'Rev'd Up" An Advertising Supplement of the Rockford Register Star 

No Date. 
Rev'd Up Crew, Machesney Park, Illinois. 

Photographer unknown, Rockford Register Star 1999. 
Rev'd Up Website <http://www.revdupracing.com> 

12 Feb 2002 Online. Internet. 




The House of Horrors 1999 (R.R. Star) 




Rev'd Up Crew 



Top row, left to right - Dina Pratt, Derek Anderson, Jim Mcllroy, Chad Novotnak. Trisha 

Dunaway Kneeling 
left to right, Jeremy Horn, Craig Raughton, Scott Burfoot, Shawn barker 







Go-Karts 



Riverfront Museum Park 
The House of the Arts and Sciences 



Glyn Villegas 

14 may 2002 

English 101 

Rock Valley College 



Glyn Villegas 
English 101 RRM 

May 7, 2002 

A Housing For Arts And Sciences 

Like every American family, having a place to be called home is always a dream. 
The six members of Arts and Sciences were temporarily squeezed in the century-old 
Garizon school, while waiting for the renovation of their permanent home. A three-story 
structure building along the river, soon to be transformed into a Riverfront Museum Park 
will unite the six families. 

The project came about when in 1985 Sears Roebuck offered its 120-square-foot 
building to the Rockford Art Museum for a dollar. Constructed in 1956, the building sits 
along the Rock River at 71 1 N. Main Street. It was once a convenient shopping center 
and also one of the first stores to provide free parking for customers, said Roger Smith, a 
retired Rockford police sergeant. In front of the building is a huge parking lot and can 
hold about 600 cars. 

The renovation project was not a done deal. The estimated cost was $ 4 million. 
("Riverfront Museum Gets Grant.") There were critics that the cost was too much, and 
the taxpayers would have to pay a special museum tax. To generate some financial help. 
a Buy-A-Brick campaign was done. Groups and individuals can symbolically buy a brick 
for $5.00 up to $500.00. The program was overwhelmingly supported by the community. 
Political leaders, Senator Joyce Holmberg, Rep. John Hallock and Rep. Zeke Giorgi were 
also behind the project. 



Villegas-2 

George Harnish, the general manager of the Rockford Art Museum, promoted the 
building to be a good network structure. "We need to stay together instead of 
downsizing" said George Harnish. ("Museum Groups Makes Family Ties." ) He lured 
other members of the Arts and Sciences to join the network. The Discovery Center 
studied thirty buildings looking for a permanent home, said Sarah Wolf , the general 
manager of the Discovery Center. ("Museum Groups Makes Family Ties.") 

Despite all the issues, the making of the Riverfront Museum Park went on. The 
Rockford Park District played a significant role in the renovation process and contributed 
$ 900,000. Sundstrand Corporation was also one of the biggest contributor, under the 
leadership of Harry C. Stonecipher. ("Arts, Science Project, Cost $ 4 Million." ) 

After a thirteen-month renovation process, the Riverfront Museum Park stood 
with glamour along the great Rock River. The old commercial appearance of the building 
was transformed into an elegant and classy museum and cultural center. Looking at the 
front of the building, glass walls and glass doors were added, carefully designed in square 
and rectangular shapes. In the front lobby there is a big silver plaque posted on the wall 
with the names of all the people who helped made the project a success. A circular 
walkway shined by a bright skylight is featured in the second floor. 

Moving out to the left side of the building, going down to the river is a maze and 
a playground. The huge parking lot in front of the building is decorated with rows of light 
poles, standing-by as daylight fall. 



Villegas-3 
On February of 1991 , Riverfront Museum Park opened to the public. Prior to 
occupancy, the ownership of the building was transferred to the Rockford Park District. 
(''Riverfront Museum Park Grand Opening." ) It became the permanent home for the six 
families of the Arts and Sciences. The Rockford Art Museum, the Discovery Center, the 
Rockford Dance Co., the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, the Rockford Film Project and 
WNIU Radio Stations. Although these families lived under a single roof, they are distinct 
from one another. They are different entities with their own financial budgets. And each 
of them function independently. 

The Rockford Art Museum, occupying the biggest space of the building is now a 
one-stop shopping for people who love arts. Artworks and masterpieces by amateurs and 
renowned artists are displayed at the spacious art gallery. Knowledge and Despair were 
the two of the most famous artworks displayed at the Rockford Art Museum. They were 
created by Lorado Taft, a renowned artist who was born and raised in Central Illinois. He 
became popular with his Black Hawk sculpture. ("Art Museum Restores Taft Works.") 
Knowledge is a sculpted female body leaning against a wall with her back to the 
viewers. Despair is a sculpted nude female with long flowing hair, seated on a rock with 
her arms folded over her knees. She is bent over with her hair to one side. 



Villegas-4 

At the opposite side of the Art Museum, across the loggia, is the Discovery 
Center. Inside the Discovery Center, there is a planetarium, where kids can pretend they 
are astronauts. There is also a spiral staircase that snakes from the first floor through the 
second floor, with a giant mouse-hole maze that serves as access. There is also a Tot Spot 
area with a 5-foot wide and 4 Vi -foot high custom-made doll-house. 

The Discovery Center ranked fourth in the nation's first-ever survey to identify 
the 10 Best Children's Museums. The survey was conducted by the Child's Magazine. 
("Discovery Ranked Fourth." Http://dicoverycentermuseum.org.) 

On the second floor, there are offices of the WNIU radio stations, broadcasting the 
best international and national news to Northern Illinois. The Northern Illinois Radio 
Information Service provides reading of daily newspapers, magazines, books and other 
articles for people with visual impairment. There are also offices of the Rockford 
Symphony Orchestra, Rockford Dance Company, with five dance studios, and the 
Rockford Film Project, with the Storefront Cinema that shows classical and international 
movies. 

In 1993, Riverfront Museum Park was honored for its architectural design by the 
American Institute of Architects Northern Illinois Chapter. The award was given to the 
Larson and Darby Co., the major contractor of the renovation project. "The shopping 
center was transformed into a wonderful building with limited budget considering its 
size," said Douglas Brooks, the project engineer. 



Villegas-5 
As years went by, Riverfront Museum Park continued to shelter the six families 
of Arts and Sciences. In 1994, the writer who worked as a Park District police officer 
was assigned at Riverfront Museum. He was in charge of keeping the building secured 
on week-ends. Every evening before he closed the building, he checked all doors and 
offices to make sure nobody was locked inside. The building is huge and quiet especially 
in the middle of the night. Fellow officers joked that the building is haunted. Considering 
the age and the size of the building, it is hard to believe that the rumors were not true. 
Every time the writer checked the doors and offices, especially the boiler room, he felt 
his heart beat like a drum. 

One cold winter night, the building was extremely quiet, nobody was there but 
the writer and the janitor. The temperature was a record low and North pole-like winds 
gusted. Around midnight, while sitting at the security desk, the writer heard a strange 
howling sound, followed by a crashing noise. The sound was so loud that it echoed inside 
the building. The janitor came running down the stairs with eyes glared in shock and 
asked, "What was that"? The writer remaining as cool as he could, replied, "I don't 
know." "Maybe a ghost," he added. He went outside the building to check for vandals, 
but all he saw were piles of snow. As he continued to search for clues, he noticed a 
window close to the east door of the lobby was broken. To overcome his fear, he 
speculated that the window was broken due to the freezing temperature and the sound 
was caused by the gusty winds, and that there is really no ghost in the building. 



Villegas-6 

In 1997, the writer was relieved by Gary Ruffet, a retired Rockford police officer. 
He became the full-time security officer of the Riverfront Museum Park. He was also the 
Director of Security of Sears in 1982 to 1984, before the building was deeded to the 
Rockford Art Museum. "It was an unforgetable experience working with Sears," said 
Gary. The Glamorous fashions and merchandises sold by Sears is now replaced by the 
beauty of Arts and Sciences. But although the appearance and structure of the building 
has changed, there is always something left behind. 

In the meantime, Riverfront Museum faithfully continues to serve the six families 
despite talks that the Art Museum will be moving out. This wonderful building also 
hosts community and family events such as, birthday parties, political and business 
meetings and the Greenweich Art Fair being held annually. It also serves as a camp 
ground for Boy and Girl Scouts. It is a safe place for them to compete and develop their 
skills and to learn the importance of teamwork. 

Finally, on April 25, 2002 Tara Blazer, the Director of the Rockford Art Museum 
announced that the Art Museum will stay with the other five members of the Arts and 
Sciences. "The issues regarding the space will be addressed," said Webs Norman, the 
Rockford District Director. ("Museum Scraps RVC Relocation." R. Register Star.) 

Riverfront Museum Park is not only a historical landmark that symbolize good 
family values, it is also an exciting place to work and a great place for learning and 
socialization. 



Rockford Art Museum 



Page 1 of 1 




Rockford I jMuseum 



Information | Education | News & Events | Membership | Store 




Rockford Art Museum 

Riverfront Museum Park, 711 Main Street, Rockford, IL 61103 

Tel: 815.968.2787 Fax: 815.968.0164 



http://www.rockfordartmuseum.org/home.htrril 



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Riverfront Museum Park 



Other rooms shown 
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Dance . Lunch room 
studios . 



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Glyn Villegas 
English 101 RRM 







This spiral staircase snakes' 
through the two levels of the 
Discovery Center at River- £ 
front Museum Park. ^;vvf."-t 



Glyn Villegas 
English 101 RRM 




A circular walkway and a skylight are featured in the second floor outside 

the WNIU studios. (Rockford Register Star. Rockfordiana File. 10 February 1991) 



Works Cited 
"Art Museum Restores Two Taft"s Works." Rockford Register Star. Rockfordiana Files. 

Rockford Public Library. Reference Section R-Z. 1 March 1997. 
"Arts, Science, Park Project, Cost $ 4 Million." Rockford Register Star. Rockfordiana 

Files. Rockford Public Library. 26 April 1989. 
"Business And Industries." Monahan Robert. Sinnissippi Saga. Published by Winnebago 

County Illinois. C. Hal Nelson. PI 37. 
"Discovery Center Ranked Fourth." Top Ten. No Date Available. Online Internet. 

Http://discoverycenetrmuseum.org.) 9 April 2002. 
"Exhibition." Rockford Art Museum. No Date Available. Online Internet. 

Http://www.rockfordartmuseum.org. 9 April 2002. 
"Museum Groups Make Family Ties." Rockford Register Star. Rockfordiana Files. 

Rockford Public Library. Reference Section R-Z. 12 February 1989. 
"Museum Scraps RVC Relocation." Rockford Register Star. 26 April 2002. 
"Riverfront Museum Gets Grant." Rockford Register Star. Rockfordiana Files. 

Rockford Public Library. No Dates Available. 
"Riverfront Museum Grand Opening." Rockford Register Star. Rockfordiana Files. 

Rockford Public Library. 12 February 1991. 
"Riverfront Museum Park" 71 1 N. Main, Rockford Illinois. Photo by Brad Burt. 

Rockford Register Star. 16 February 1992. 
Schaible, Canny. Personal Interview. Riverfront Museum Park. 71 1 N. Main Rd. 

Rockford Illinois. 23 February 2002. 
Slaughter, Loyel. Personal Interview. Riverfront Museum Park. 71 1 N. Main Rd. 



Smith, Roger. Personal Interview. Rockford Metro Center. 300 Elm St. 

Rockford Illinois. 2 March 2002. 
"Spiral Staircase at Discovery Center." Rockford Illinois. Photo by Brad Burt. 

Rockford Register Star. 1 February 1 99 1 . 
Villegas, Glyn. "Author" 71 1 N. Main Rd. Rockford Illinois. Personal Experience. 







1 




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Rock Valley College Administration Building 




Anousone Panyanouvong 

Spring Semester- 2002 

Rock Valley College 

English 101 



A Panyanouvong 

Anousone Panyanouvong 
English 101 DX 
May 14, 2002 
Archival 

Right House in Wrong Place 

Does anyone wonder why a small farmhouse still stands on 
the campus of RVC, instead of an office building? What is so 
important about this small farmhouse? How many people know about 
the history of this farmhouse: how was it used before, how many 
owners lived here or in what way did this house reflects the 
society of Rockford and the world? 

For more than a century and half, the farmhouse has stood 
on the corner of North Mulford and Spring Brook. Moreover, it 
has had more than ten owners during the hundred and thirty years 
before it became the Administration Center for RVC. 

About one hundred sixty years ago was the first time the 
land, which is now the RVC campus, had its first owner 
(WilliamsonJ. So, how did it start? In 1799, Mr. Jonathan 
Thomas was born in New York; he was the oldest son of Isaac and 
Polly Thomas. During 183 9, Jonathan and his family came all the 
way from Tioga, New York, to Rockford, Illinois, to visit his 
relatives. Later, He decided to move to Oregon, Illinois, in 
1840 's (Rowland. 426) . Subsequently, eleven years later, he saw 
the land in Rockford where RVC is located today, and he decided 
to purchase it in 1841 (Williamsons) . 



A Panyanouvong 

Finally, on November 10, 1841, the President of the United 
States, John Tyler, wrote a letter to Jonathan about the land 
that he wanted to buy. One part of the letter mentioned that 
Jonathan Thomas had given full payment to the General Land 
Office of the United States. However, it did not say how much he 
paid for the eighty acres of land that he bought (Williamson,) . 

During the time Jonathan owned the land, between 1841 and 
1851, there was information about the farmhouse that was built, 
and this was the first building before the farm was built (Dr. 
Rogers) . After owning the land for ten years, Thomas sold this 
land on December 1, 1851, to Lyman H. Potter for $2,330.00 or 
about $10 per acre. Two years later, on August 29, 1853, Potter 
sold the land to Josiah Goddard for $2,595.00. He made some 
money in those two years; the price of land increased to $15 per 
acre because Rockford was growing (Thompson,) . Three years 
later, because of a rapidly expanding population, the price per 
acre increased to $32 per acre, and Goddard sold this land to 
Isaac and Lauren Grove for $5,500.00. Then, on January 24, 
1865, the land was sold again, to Phineas and Marie Howes for 
$7,000.00 or $45 per acre (Winnebago). 

At this time, people were moving to Rockford more because 
business was expanding, and this affected the price of land 
(Rowland) . Up to this point, there was not much information 
about this farmhouse, and the land was just a big field. Only 



A Panyanouvong 3 

two and half months after Howe bought the land, he sold it to 
Peter and William B. Ralston on March 1, 1865, for about 
$7,116.00. On November 8, 1871, Peter Ralston sold one-half of 
the land to William B. Ralston (does not mention if they were 
relatives) for $3,000.00 (Winnebago). 

There was no information about the price of land after 
Peter and William Ralston (Dr. Rogers) . In the 1870s, the 
farmhouse and the barn were remodeled when Scotsman purchased 
the land (Scotsman was a foreigner from Scotland who came with 
some company) . He bought the land in the name of and with the 
money of his company and held it in his name (Neither the name 
of the company nor the price was given) (Dr. Rogers) . 

Because the company believed in him, they bought the land in 
his name. Later Scotsman assumed that this land belonged to him. 
During that time, however, a foreigner could not buy land without 
being a citizen, so later Scotsman moved to New Roland, and the 
property went back to Ralston, who had come from the Scottish 
settlements in Caledonia and Argyle (Dr. Rogers) . 

The Ralston family lived one this site for many years, and 
they ran barn and responsible to the farmhouse. Afterward, the 
land belonged to Hj aimer Anderson who landscaped the property and 
remodeled the barn and house from 1920 to 1924. The next two 
owners after the Anderson family were Ralph Ekvalls and Alfred 
Blocks. In 1946, Alfred Blocks sold the land to Dr. and Mrs. 



A Panyanouvong 4 

Maurice Rogers (Dr. Rogers) . Rogers was a medical doctor, but 
when he moved there, he ran the farm and at this point, added the 
huge garage to the side of the house. Based on a tape interview 
of Dr. Rogers in the 1960s, he said that he built the huge garage 
next to the right side of the house because the wind came from the 
right side of the house, and blew directly into his bedroom, so it 
made the room extremely cold. 

Rogers and his family lived there for nineteen years, and 
they were the last family who lived there before the farmhouse 
became the RVC Administration offices in 1965. Rogers signed an 
agreement to sell this land to the Board of Trustees of the Junior 
College School District in June 15, 1965 (Dr. Rogers, letter) . The 
simple farmhouses served as a house for more than a century and 
held more than ten families. 

Time changes everything. The farmhouse stood as a house for 
so long, but now it was time that the farmhouse changed to serve 
as offices. Back in 1965 when the school started, there was no 
classroom on the RVC campus; the barn was used as a Student 
Center and the farmhouse was used as Administration Offices. At 
that time, the new college seemed to be far away from other 
places, and there were not any malls or shopping centers around. 
In fact, there were only fields surrounding these buildings. In 
fact, Mulford was not a big street, and Riverside ended at 
Mulford (M Webb) . But today everything seems to be connected 



A Panyanouvong 

with RVC standing in the middle of everything. The environment 
has changed a lot . 

Only vague memories of the farmhouse remain. As everyone 
can see from the old pictures, which hang over the walls inside 
the building, the original house was converted into a more 
flexible and useful space for offices. The house looks 
essentially the same from the outside; only the colors and the 
deck have been added. However, inside the house, it is totally 
different. There is no longer a terrace; that area is now a 
conference room. In addition, there are no more beds and 
comforters, but many desks and computers with stacks of papers 
all over the rooms. In an interview with Mr. Mike Webb, who has 
been a teacher at RVC for more then twenty years, he noted, 
"...well, the master bed room is now the president's office, the 
vice-president is in the old garage and the reception room is in 
the living room..." (M Webb) . 

As people see as they enter the house, the main door opens 
into the reception room with a receptionist at a desk, welcoming 
everyone. To the right of the reception desk, there is a door 
to the conference room. This conference room used to be a 
terrace for families to sit and relax, but now this room looks 
too small with its huge white table in the middle and many 
chairs. A huge screen is on the wall waiting for people to show 
their presentations. 



A Panyanouvong 6 

Next to the conference room on the right, there is a small 
office, suitable for one person. This room used to be a hallway 
to the dressing room, leading to the master bedroom. At the end 
of the hallway is a small portal that opens to another small 
office. Formerly, it was a small changing room next to the 
bedroom. At the left side of this room, is a restroom, and the 
right of the room opens to the old master bedroom. 

Today, this master bedroom is the office of Dr. Chip 
Chapdelaine, the President of RVC . On the wall facing the door, 
there is a small fireplace, which was used, from time to time, 
to keep the house warm. Today, the same fireplace is just an 
antique fireplace to show to visitors. 

Walking back from the hallway to the right, there is a 
stairway to the second floor. There were two bedrooms and one 
small bathroom, which now have all been changed to offices. In 
the big bedroom, immediately to the left of the stairs, a wall 
was added to create two offices, and shelves were built in the 
closet to hold files and books. To the left of the first bedroom 
is another bedroom. This room is now the vice president's 
office. Next to the vice president's office, is a tiny office 
like an old closet, but it is not. It was an old restroom, yet 
now it is an office. 

Returning to the reception room, turn to the right and 
enter. The Dean of Student Personnel Office used to be a dining 



A Panyanouvong 7 

room. Walk around to the back of the dining room to another 
small hallway to the kitchen. The kitchen has not changed that 
much, except more people stop by for coffee all day long. 

Finally, exit the kitchen and go through the hallway to a 
multi-purpose office area to visit the garage of Dr. Rogers. This 
was a huge garage that used to have an old car parked and waiting 
for the Rogers family to drive away; now, however, it has many 
walls to separate rooms to hold more people. 

This farmhouse used to be a big house for individual 
families. Today, the same house holds people from many 
different families together; in the big family of Rock Valley 
College's Administration. 




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Works Cited 

Anna Anderson at the Farmhouse. RVC Admin Bldg. Photo by Unknown: 1930's. 
Basement of Admin. RVC Admin Bldg. Photo from RVC library, Jan 2002. 
City Hall. Building Department "Letter enclose the copies of the Building 

Permits for Addressing." February 27, 2002. 
Conference Room of Admin. RVC Admin Bldg. Photos by Annie 

Panyanouvong, March 2002. 
bean and Student Personnel Services. RVC Admin Bldg. Photos by Annie 

Panyanouvong, March 2002. 
Hallway in Second Floor. RVC Admin Bldg. Photos by Annie Panyanouvong, March 

2002. 
Map of RVC Admin. RVC Admin Bldg. Photos by Annie Panyanouvong, March 2002. 

Office in Second floor. RVC Admin Bldg. Photos by Annie Panyanouvong, Inarch 

2002. 
Outside of Admin Bldg. RVC Admin Bldg. Photos by Annie Panyanouvong, 

March 2002. 
Reception Room of Admin. Photos by Annie Panyanouvong, March 2002. 



Rowland, E Katherine. " The Pioneers of Winnebago and Boone Counties Illinois 

Who Came before 1841" No date. 
Rogers, Maurice. "Agreement to sell the land." Copy of Letter. RVC library: 

15 June 1965 : 2 
Rogers, Maurice and Mrs. Tape interview. RVC library : 1965s. 
Dr. Rogers. "Peace and A Happy New Year". Copy of Post card. Unknown 

photographer. RVC library : 1940s. 
Small Hallway Room and Step to second floor. RVC Admin Bldg. Photos by Annie 

Panyanouvong, March 2002. 
Thompson, Steve. Personal Interview. RVC library : f^Aarch 2002. 
Vice-President's Office. RVC Admin Bldg. Photos by Annie Panyanouvong, 

tAarch 2002. 
Williamson. Recorder of the General Land Offices "The United States to Jonathan 

Thomas." Copy letter: Nov 10, 1841. 
Winnebago County Records. No date. 
Webb, Mike. Personal Interview. RVC Director for Art Studio : April 2002. 



Rockford Public Library: 
Primitive to Modern 



Chris Smith 

14 May 2002 

English 101 

Rock Valley College 



L 



Chris Smith Smith - 1 

English 101 RRM 
2 May 2002 

Library: Primitive to Modern 

The Rockford Public Library's "birth" stands as a reminder of the generous 
donation and efforts by past individuals that made it possible to envision a library. Along 
the way, there have been changes resulting in "various little" beginnings. It is believed 
that the city of Rockford established the first library in the state, outside of Chicago, 
under the present library law (Church 1 14). If it had not been for Mr. Andrew Carnegie 
donating 60,000 dollars back in 1901, the Rockford Public Library would not have been 
"born" at 215 North Wyman Street (Church 1 16). 

There were few children's books in pioneer days, but there were libraries for the 
grownups. The first libraries in the village were private ones. By paying a dollar a year, 
anyone could become a member and borrow books. The dues collected were used to pay 
the expenses and to buy new books. 

The best collection of books was owned by the Sons of Temperance. This society 
had two hundred books in its library. In April 1852, the Sons of Temperance decided that 
their members were not interested in their society. They met and voted to disband. 
But they did not know what to do with their library of two hundred interesting books. So 
it was decided that the Sons of Temperance would become the Rockford Library 
Association. Society members whose dues were paid could borrow books from the 
library. A few months later other people were asked to join the association. We do not 
know how successful the library was, nor do we know what finally happened to the 
books. 



Smith - 2 
Three years later people began working for the public library. The editor of the 
Rock River Democrat asked the people to raise three hundred dollars. That, he said, 
would buy enough books for a beginning. But when subscription papers were finally 
started in March 1857, the committee's goal was six thousand dollars. Shares sold at fifty 
dollars each. Ten dollars was paid down, and the balance could be paid in four years at 
ten dollars a year. The first four people to subscribe the money, pledged twelve hundred 
dollars. By May four thousand dollars had been subscribed. The goal was reached in the 
early fall of the next year. The rooms were rented, a librarian was hired, books were 
made ready for circulation, and Rockford had a public library (Lundgren 84-85). 

In less than three years the country was at war. The Civil war began in 1 861 . 
People had to change their ways of doing things. Men spent all their spare time drilling to 
become soldiers, or they said goodbye to their families and went to war. Women were 
left alone to care for their children. There was much more work for them to do, now that 
their husbands were at war. There was also sewing to be done for the soldiers. Some 
women went to army hospitals and camps to nurse the sick and wounded soldiers. People 
read eagerly every scrap of war news. There was little time left for reading anything else 
and people lost interest in their library. They could not keep it open longer. One day in 
1865 the library was closed, and the books were sold at a public sale (Lundgren 84-85). 

Some years later the state was to vote a tax for libraries. But that was not until 
1872 (Lundgren 84-85). 



Smith - 3 
In May 1872, a petition from the Rockford citizens asking for a public library was 
presented to the city council. This was granted, and an ordinance was passed on June 17, 
1872, and a board of directors of the library was at once appointed. The reading rooms 
were opened about August 1, 1872, on the second floor of Wallach's Block, on the corner 
of State and Main Streets, on the west side (Rockfordiana File). In July 1876, the library 
moved to rooms over the Post Office at the west end of the State Street Bridge (RPL 
History Website). For many years the friends of the library recognized that a 
commodious, fireproof building was an urgent necessity. When it became known that 
Andrew Carnegie proposed to distribute a portion of his wealth in public library 
buildings, an effort was made to enlist his interest in Rockford. In March 1901, Andrew 
Carnegie donated a gift of 60,000 dollars (Church 116). 

Before the Carnegie Library was built, a dispute was brewing over which side of 
the river the library should have been built on. The ingenious citizens from the east side 
of the river were opposed to having a library built on the west side of the river, due to 
high taxes, and vice versa. Eventually, the Carnegie Library was constructed on the west 
side of the river. To appease the citizens living on the east side of the river, the library 
was accommodated with an east side entrance facing the river, and a west side entrance 
was added facing North Wyman Street (Lythgoe Interview). 

The prolonged controversy over a site was familiar recent history, and no further 
mention need be made of it. A desirable site was finally selected. The property was 
owned by the Rockford Gas, Light and Coke Company on North Wyman Street, and was 
valued at 1 1,000 dollars, of which the company made a gift of 2,000. The citizens paid 



Smith - 4 
the balance. The plans submitted by Bradley and Carpenter was approved, and the 
contract for the structure was made with W.H. Cook. The completed Carnegie Library 
building was opened to the public November 21, 1903 (Church 1 16). 

The total cost of the building and its furnishings came to a total of just over 
70,000 dollars. It was a grand two-story building with a basement and had both an ornate 
dome atop the roof and matching front and rear faces. The library was open from two 
p.m. until five p.m. everyday except Sundays and Holidays (Rockfordiana File). 

Also, in 1904, there were 7,542 people holding library cards (Snyder 62). While 
the library was certainly something to make both the residents of the city and Andrew 
Carnegie proud, the library had in 1915, 60,000 volumes of books on the shelves of the 
public library ("New Books. . ."). 

In addition, the Carnegie Library building was two stories and a basement, in 
Modern Greek style capped by a low dome. On one side were the general reading room 
and the reference room with a study adjoining. On the other side was the delivery room 
opening into the stack room. In one end of the stack room was the cataloger's room. The 
librarian's room was between this and the main hall. An open shelf room was provided 
on the other side of the delivery room, opening also into the stack, and having a study 
adjoining. There were two opposite entrances to the main floor, owing to the fact that the 
library was on the bank of the Rock River, which divided the city, and it was desirable to 
have both sides equally attractive. The children's room was in the basement. The second 
floor contained an extension of the stack room, a director's room, a room for bound 
papers, a museum, and a texture room (Rockfordiana File). 



Smith - 5 

Meanwhile, the Carnegie Library went mostly untouched until about 1960, when 
it was decided that the library needed a "makeover." Planning for the library of the 
future: "Levy of the full library tax for the next three years would make possible an 
addition to the present building, thus assuring the citizens of Rockford services adequate 
to the expanded needs of the community" (RPL History Website). 

J.H. Mansfield, remodeling committee chairperson said, "The only criticism of 
our plans we have had is the contrast between the old building and the new" ("Look- 
Alike. . ."). The project is part of the refurbishing of the main library included in the 
modernization program, although originally it expected to be done after building of the 
proposed addition to the main building. Deterioration of the dome and problems of leaks 
led to the need for an earlier start ("Award Contract. . ."). 

In 1962, the library settled on a "pay as you go" incremental approach to further 
renovations and the addition of a third floor (Turpoff 27). June 22, 1962, Monday's 
ceremony launched a total main library modernization project costing an estimated 
1,140,000 dollars and adding 44,000 square feet of floor space for the library service. 
"The library thus led the way in revitalizing of Rockford's downtown area," said J.R. 
Chitwood, Director of Libraries ("Library Opens. . ."). 

The library "pushed the envelope" by going through three remodeling phases. The 
first was in 1962, when the general contractors were J. P. Cullen and Sons Corp., from 
Janesville, Wisconsin ("Library Opens. . ."). The second phase was the most difficult to 
complete on time because the Sheet Metals Workers (Local #219) picketed the project in 
May of 1964 to leverage a twenty-five cent per hour wage increase. Federal mediation 



Smith - 6 
finally ended the strike but not until nearly two months were lost. Harold Larson, 
President of Gust G. Larson and Sons, overcame the delays through a comprehensive 
contingency plan or "critical path method" that received national notice in the Associated 
General Contractor's 1964 " Innovations In Building " magazine (Turpoff 28). The general 
contractor's for the third phase were Pearce Butler in 1964 (Turpoff 27). 

Previously moved back into the remodeled building were several divisions in 
1965. The Technical Services were on the ground floor, the Audio- Visual section was on 
the second floor, and the Local History room, Administrative and Staff offices were on 
the third floor ("Main Doors. . ."). 

In addition, Jean Lythgoe said she recalled her time spent as a library clerk, typing 
titles, authors names, and call numbers for 7 hours a day, alphabetizing the card catalog 
for the last hour, Monday through Friday, and then the cards were filed at a later time 
(Lythgoe Interview). 

Moving on, planned noise was breaking the "shh" barrier at the Rockford Public 
Library. The planned noise was an experiment in the use of background music in a few- 
sections of the library during the holiday season. "So far, "Mrs. Reid said, "The favorable 
reactions far outweigh the unfavorable or unjust indifferent reactions." NO ONE-TRACK 
MINDS. "That's part of the idea, "said Mrs. Reid, "There are very few modern libraries 
that prohibit any noise or conversation in the library. People today are quite capable of 
doing many things at once, and there is little room for a one-track mind ("Helps 
Hide..."). 

The writer faintly remembers a brief conversation with Jean Lythgoe, about a 



Smith - 7 
piano room that was located on the second floor, during the 1960s (Lythgoe Interview). 

Then, the 1980s "rolled around," and Jean Lythgoe said she recalled a time when 
Rockford's unemployment rate was at 20 percent. Jean mentioned how the library was a 
major source at the time of helping people. The library provided local, out-of-city, and 
out-of-state newspapers, along with the beginning of the Job Center stacks on the first 
floor for those in need of employment. Jean said, "People would spend many hours at the 
library using these resources" (Lythgoe Interview). Also, during the high unemployment 
scare, Rockford made national news when Peter Jennings came to Rockford, to speak at 
Memorial Hall, and asked the people of Rockford about the high unemployment 
(Lythgoe Interview). 

Back in the late 1980s, one could find book subjects on Economics, 
Transportation, Medicine, Business, Science, and Technology on the first floor, Music, 
Art, and Fiction on the second floor, and Social Sciences and everything else on the third 
floor (Lythgoe Interview). 

The writer wants to mention Estelle Black. When Estelle Black retired as the 
Rockford Public Library's second-in-command in 1999, she vowed to stay busy. She 
served on the boards of an incredible 20 community organizations, ranging from 
Northern Public Radio to Crimestoppers to the Visiting Nurses Association. A long time 
officer for the Rockford Community Foundation, she was active in the campaign to raise 
money for new high school band uniforms. In 1975, the Rockford chapter of the National 
Council of Negro Women, which she helped found and for which she later served as 
president-named her its "Woman of the Year" (Cunningham 161). 



Smith - 8 
Today, as one approaches the library, people have a choice of either parking 
across the street from the library, with a two-hour parking time limit, or there are parking 
stalls at the back of the library (near the river), by taking a right turn onto Mulberry Street 
if heading north, or take a left turn onto Mulberry Street if heading south, or if heading on 
Mulberry Street going east, proceed through the intersection of North Wyman Street. The 
parking in back is also a two-hour time limit from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. After 5:00 p.m., 
there is no time limit. 

The library is a well-built, solid structure. Since its new surface and additions in 
1965, it still appears to allure passersby. The front entrance roof is protected by four 
square granite pillars, which help support the extruding second and third stories. Just 
above the entrance are the words 215 North Wyman Street spelled out in black letters. On 
the extruding portion of the second floor, the words Rockford Public Library are spelled 
out. Four glass doors make up the front entrance to the library, beckoning those to enter 
the research of their choice. Before entering, while taking a few steps back, directing 
ones attention to the left and up a few notches of the limestone wall, and gazing upon a 
few fine pictures of art. For those on bicycles, a metal bike rack is situated to the right of 
the entrance for security, and a "peace of mind." 

Upon entering, and passing through the second set of glass doors, one will see the 
"Friends of the Library" bookstore located directly to the right. There are any number of 
books here for a little as a quarter. If the intention is to solely borrow, one should proceed 
up the stairs, passing through the vertical theft sensors, deciding upon which way to 
venture. 



Smith - 9 

Straight ahead past the Circulation Desk and main internal book drop is the 
Riverside Browsing area. This is where to find VHS and DVD feature films, local, out- 
of-city, out-of-sate newspapers, paperback books, and large print books, while sitting and 
relaxing at one of the few circular tables to read some fiction, mystery, non-fiction, or to 
catch up on current events happening in the world from one of the newspapers selection. 

If the desire is to turn left upon entering, one can do so by also taking another 
"quick left" into the Wyman Browsing area. If ones interest is new books, then ones 
destination is "welcome." One will find new titles of fiction, science fiction, mystery, and 
non-fiction by authors such as Mary Higgins Clark, Dean Koontz, Jonathan Kellerman, 
and Kimberly Lawson Roby. One will also find relaxation on one of the few padded 
benches, while glaring out the picture glass windows onto Wyman Street. 

If it is the children investing their time at the library, then simply proceed straight 
ahead past the Wyman Browsing area into the Youth Services section. Any child will be 
able to find favorites such as The Cat In The Hat , the Berenstains' Bears , and R.L Stine's 
Goosebumps . If a child's curiosity is about wizards, magic, and dragons, one can also 
find J.K. Rowlings Harry Potter books. The Youth Services area also has picture and 
beginning reader books for the younger children. Keen-witted minds will find non-fiction 
and biographies in "stock." In the north side of the youth section, to the left, is the 
planetarium (auditorium), which provides activities for elementary school students. 

If the first floor does not have what one is looking for, head to the elevators, and 
"coast" up to the second floor. The elevator doors at the second floor open to the sight of 
the Online Database Research computers, and the Reference Desk directly to the left. 



Smith- 10 
where almost all library related questions are answered. Take a short right turn, and one 
will find the new Compaq computers for Internet related use. Also in this section are the 
periodicals, micro-film materials, and two sole surviving computers for Microsoft Word 
Processing programs. 

From the left of the elevators are the computer based, online card catalog system. 
One can type the input with a few strokes on the keyboard to reveal the call number, 
location, and availability of a selection. If no results are found, the librarians at the 
reference desk can be of help. By walking a few steps from the card catalog, heading 
east, and to the left, is the computer training lab room, which in the past was the piano 
room (Lythgoe Interview). The Spanish books and Non-English books are between the 
card catalog and computer training room. Straight ahead are the Job Center stacks, and 
the newly acquired Young Adult book section. On any busy day when research papers 
are being done for school, the tables by the Job Center stacks are filled with 
"engineering" minds studying hard. One can find book subjects on Philosophy, Religion, 
Social Sciences, Education, and Cookbooks to name a few. 

A walk up a flight of stairs or another trip on the elevator leads to the third and 
final floor. This floor is "home" to Fiction, and Non-Fiction, such as Art, Music, 
Photography, History and Travel, Biographies, and Archaelogy. By making two left turns 
after exiting from the elevators, one will find videos, CD's and books on cassette. To the 
right of the elevator is the Local History room "guarded" by John Molyneaux, and 
straight ahead are the Administrative offices. 

Before the search and checkout of materials is over, the writer wants to mention 



Smith - 1 1 
that the ground floor is "home" to the Technical Service, and Information Technology 
departments. The ground floor also has a storage room, "watching over" some books that 
are "delicate to touch", dated back to the mid to late 1800s (Smith Experience). 

As one makes their way down to the circulation desk, keep this in mind: there are 
50,921 Rockford patrons holding library cards ("Monthly Report. . ."). 

If one is wandering what the limit is on checking materials out, it is a total of 50 
items at one given time. Only four DVD's can be checked out at a time, or four VHS 
movies at one time. One could also mix two DVD's with two VHS movies to check out. 
There is not a limit on books on cassettes (only 50 though). Four CD ROMS can be 
borrowed at a time. Two pieces of art, ten music CD's or tape cassettes at one time, or 50 
books if one chooses (Beckum Interview). 

As for choosing a book title, there are 229,205 available, and there are 437,929 
volumes on the shelves (Bowker's 568). 

When ready to checkout, there are two exits to leave by, the front entrance by the 
"Friends" bookstore, or to the left of the circulation desk just past the stairwell. Walk 
through one more set of vertical theft sensors directly past the Circulation Desk, near the 
stairwell, and down two flights of stairs. Before exiting, while walking carefully down 
the first flight of stairs, give notice to the old Carnegie Library ("Cornerstone") original 
emblem that was left intact including the concrete wreath bearing the year 1902. 

Once outside, notice to the right is the external book return, a gentle friend for 
those that do not have the time to journey inside to return an item. To the left are four 
flat, granite benches for those in need of relaxation. Another bike rack offers the cyclist a 



Smith- 12 
"warm welcome." The hustle, and swooshing of cars whizzing by from the Jefferson 
Street Bridge, occasionally breaks up the solitude of the scenery. Stand about 25 feet 
away from the library, look up to the right, and fix one's eyes upon the blue words 
ROCKFORD PUBLIC LIBRARY. 

Finally, personally working at the library adds an "internal" appreciation and 
respect for those working at the library, and for the people that made it possible to 
"envision" a library. While Mr. Andrew Carnegie's memory lived on in many people's 
minds, it thus led the way for the initial "birth" at 215 North Wyman Street. As the sun 
silently sets, while the dreams of darkness approach, those blue letters illuminate a vision 
that has always stood tall. With over a hundred years of history, one is sure to learn about 
the past, the present, and the future plans of the Rockford Public Library. Take some 
time, visit the library and expand one's resources. 



Chris Smith Smith - 1 

English 101 RRM 
2 May 2002 

Works Cited 

"Awards Contract For Dome Removal at Public Library." Rockfordiana File, Rockford 

Public Library. Star 27 June 1961. 
Beckum, Erope, Personal Interview. 12 April 2002. 
Bowker's, R.R. American Library Directory . 5 l ed. vol 1. Libraries in the United States. 

Prepared by Bowkers Database Production Group on collaboration with the 

Information Technology Group. 2001-2002. 
Church, Charles A. Past and Present of Winnebago County . November 1905. 
Cunningham, Pat. Rockford Big Town Little History, A History of Rockford . Rockford 

Newspapers 2000. 
Existence of Rockford Gas, Light and Coke Company before the creation of the Carnegie 

Library. Acquired from Atlas of Winnebago County, Illinois . Published by 

Warner, Higgins, and Beers. Date of photo unknown. 
Front view of Carnegie Library. Rowe, Ford F. Acquired from Rockford Streamlined . 

Photographer unknown. Date of photo unknown. 
Future forecast of Rockford's library. Acquired from Rockfordiana Files, Rockford 

Public Library. Photographer unknown, Star . 8 July 1962. 
"Helps Hide Hubbub." Rockfordiana File, Rockford Public Library. Register Star 21 

December 1969. 
"Library Opens Library Addition Work On Monday." Rockfordiana File, Rockford 

Public Library. Star 22 July 1962. 



Smith - 2 
"Look-Alike for Library Plans Asked New Addition." Rockfordiana File, Rockford 

Public Library. Star 28 November 1961. 
Lundgren, Emma. Pioneer Town . With Illus. By Mrs. Malin Bakkelund McGinty. 

Rockford, Illinois. Rockford Public Schools, 1967. 
Lythgoe, Jean. Personal Interview. January 2002, 14 March 2002. 
"Main Doors of Library to Open to Public Monday." Rockfordiana File, Rockford Public 

Library. Star 9 February 1969. 
"Monthly Report of Circulation Statistics." Rockford Public Library December 2001. 
"New Books At Branch." Rockfordiana File, Rockford Public Library. Star 21 

November 1915. 
North Wyman Street Entrance. Turpoff, Glen. Acquired from They Too Cast Shadows . 

Published by Northern Illinois Building Contractors Association, Inc. Date of 

photo unknown. 
Not quite drowned. Photographer unknown. Date of photo unknown. 
Rear view of the Carnegie Library. Turpoff, Glen. Acquired from They Too Cast 

Shadows . Published by Northern Illinois Building Contractors Association, 

Inc. Date of photo unknown. 
Rockford Public Library from East Entrance at Jefferson Street Bridge. Personal photo 

by Chris Smith. 24 April 2002. 
Rockford Public Library from underneath the Jefferson Street Bridge. Personal photo 

by Chris Smith. 24 April 2002. 



Smith - 3 
Rockford Public Library from West Entrance at North Wyman Street. Personal photo by 

Chris Smith. 24 April 2002. 
Rockford Public Library History Website. Last Modified: September 21, 2001. 

Copyright 2001. <www.rpl.rockford.org> 
Rockfordiana File, Rockford Public Library. No Date. 
Second floor Reference Desk with Jean Lythgoe, Librarian, Rockford Public Library. 

Photographer unknown. Date of photo unknown. 
Smith, Chris. Personal Experience. 
Snyder, William J. "Birth of a City: Decades of Steady Growth." Ed. Nelson, Hal C. 

Sinnissippi Saga . Winnebago County, Illinois Sesquicentennial Committee. 

Copyright 1968. 
The riverboat Illinois sits docked at the foot of Mulberry Street not long after the 

construction of the Carnegie Library (1903). Courtesy, Rockford Museum 

Center. Lundin, Jon W. Acquired from Rockford . Published by American 

Historical Press. 1903. 
Turpoff, Glen. They Too Cast Shadows . Rockford, Illinois. Rockford Builders Assoc. 

1999. 




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The Amazing Journey of the 
Rockford Rescue Mission 



Tim Hogan 

5/14/02 

English 101 

Rock Valley College 



Hogan - 1 

Tim Hogan 

English 101 Section RRM 

6 May 2002 

The Amazing Journey of the Rockford Rescue Mission 
The journey of the Rockford Rescue Mission has been going on for nearly 
40 years. The mission is located in downtown Rockford on the west side of the 
Rock River at 715 West State Street. A generation ago, downtown was the hub 
of activity, but now most of that has gone to the far-east side of town leaving in its 
place, old buildings in various states of disrepair. The mission is a wonderful 
enhancement to this neighborhood, providing badly needed care for the 
homeless of the community. Finding the mission is easy, but few travel to see it 
because of the deteriorating neighborhood. The building may surprise those who 
travel there. 

The mission building is very impressive due to both its massive size and 
recent construction in a neighborhood of mostly run down buildings. It is a two- 
story building taking up most of a city block. The building is cream colored with 
green horizontal stripes at both levels in between the many large windows. But 
the mission was not always housed in such a beautiful building, from its 
fascinating inception until today the mission has undergone vast changes. 

The idea for a rescue mission in Rockford came about due to an article 
published in 1959, which appeared in the Rockford Register Republic . In the late 
fifties, the homeless were almost ignored in Rockford. These broken, despairing 
people were considered worthless, hopeless lazy bums who were the dregs of 
society. The article disclosed the deplorable conditions in which the "down and 



Hogan - 2 

outers" existed. They were cold, hungry and begged for food. They slept under 
bridges, in abandoned buildings or beside logs on the riverfront ("And Convert of 
the New Rockford Rescue Mission"; "This is Our Story"). 

Such vivid portrayals of need caused concern in the heart and mind of 
Nadine Pitney. Nadine's was a pastor's wife. Rev. Gerald Pitney's church was 
the First Baptist Church of North Park. She chaired the foreign missions study 
group in their church. Nadine and Rev. Pitney thought that someday God would 
send them to a foreign mission field. After Nadine read the article she felt a 
heavy burden to do something to help the people in her own community. She 
asked God to send someone to help. She carried the burden for a mission in 
Rockford for five years until Ray Stewart came to Rockford ("And Convert of the 
New Rockford Rescue Mission"; "A Short History"). 

Ray Stewart arrived in Rockford in 1963 with $9.65 in his pocket and a 
burning desire to start a rescue mission. Ray had been a "common drunk" for 18 
years and had been in and out of various jails in the Rockford/Chicago area. He 
said he was delivered from the "bondage of alcohol" around 1954 with the help of 
Alcoholics Anonymous. He had worked briefly at the Pacific Garden Mission in 
Chicago then tried to start a similar program in Aurora, Illinois, but it did not work 
out. He spoke to both lay and church groups seeking support and financial 
backing for his mission idea. It was during this time Ray began attending Nadine 
and Rev. Pitney's church. He started the mission in rented quarters in the 
Central Woman's Christian Temperance Union building that was located at 102 
West State Street. Ray developed a street ministry, but had no facilities to 



Hogan - 3 

provide food or shelter. It took several weeks of searching before he finally found 
an old store building in January 1 964 at 11 6 Kishwaukee with a "For Rent" sign in 
the front window. The owner agreed to not charge rent for the first three months 
if Ray would clean up the filthy mess inside and make the necessary repairs. 
Much work lay ahead ("And Convert of the New Rockford Rescue Mission"; 
"Mission Changes Locations"; "Rockford's Rescue Mission Offers Aid to 'Heavy 
Laden'"). 

Ray worked with a small army of volunteers to convert the basement into 
a temporary dormitory, the first floor into a chapel and kitchen area, and began 
building offices and counseling rooms. Many different organizations and 
individuals donated all of the furnishings including kitchen equipment. A phone 
was installed and the number assigned was 965-5332, which is still the mission's 
phone number today. A nine-man board of directors was formed and the mission 
was incorporated. It was time to open for business ("This is Our Story"). 

The mission opened its doors 1 May 1964, and began serving up to 30 
men a day. A huge cross was painted on the side of the building as well as 
"Jesus Saves" and "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I 
will give you rest" ("Advice in Alcoholism Battle"). All seemed to be going well 
with the new mission until the end of July 1964 when city fire and health officials 
closed the mission down due to unsafe sleeping quarters in the basement. City 
officials said if there was ever a fire in the basement "We would lose them all." 
Plans were made to convert the second floor to a dormitory and some of the men 
were allowed to sleep on cots in the chapel during the remodeling phase. Ray 



Hogan - 4 

Stewart worked for months with no pay and in the first year of operation was 
close to $5000 in debt. Other troubles arose that resulted in his resignation from 
the mission. He needed help ("Founder of Closed Mission Takes Prayer to 
Officials"; "Home for Jobless, Drunks Closed by City Inspectors"; "Mission May 
be Revamped to Meet City's Standards"). 

Ray turned to his pastor, Rev. Pitney and asked if Rev. Pitney would be 
willing to take over the mission responsibilities. Rev. Pitney writes "Ray was the 
first to admit his inadequacy to manage the mission's affairs. He stated that he 
simply felt called to get it established." Ray left Rockford in 1965 and moved to 
Derry, Pennsylvania where he got a job as an electrician in a factory and he 
began doing some street mission work. Ray and his wife Eleanor had adopted 
two children, Joe and Gayle who had been abandoned at the mission. Eleanor 
died 5 July 1979 and a few months later Ray died in a tragic car accident while 
on his way home from visiting his daughter. Ray Stewart did what he could with 
what he had to start the mission in Rockford. Before leaving Rockford he passed 
the baton to Rev. Pitney. God had big changes in store for the Pitney family 
("Daring Founder is Dead"). 

Rev. Pitney felt the whole idea of running a mission was ludicrous. He 
and his family, which included four children, would have to leave a nine-room 
parsonage and comfortable salary to take on a mission, which was in debt and 
work for possibly no pay. But Rev. Pitney was willing to follow God's leading and 
he took over running the mission on 7 June 1965. The Pitney family moved into 
a small apartment on Grove Street nearby. Rev. Pitney had no training for such 



Hogan - 5 

a task and felt as if he had just taken on an enormous responsibility ("And 
Convert of the New Rockford Rescue Mission"). 

It was not long after this that he was able to attend the annual convention 
for mission superintendents held in Des Planes, Illinois. This provided Rev. 
Pitney with a week of intensive training. He said "That conference proved 
invaluable to me. It helped me get a hold of the thing." He now had a plan ("And 
Convert of the New Rockford Rescue Mission"). 

Rev. Pitney patterned his ministry after Jesus' words in Matthew 25:35, 
36. "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you 
gave me something to drink." The mission began to serve three meals a day 
seven days a week every day of the year to as many as they could fit in the 
dining area. "I was a stranger and you invited me in." The Pitneys welcomed 
anyone who was willing to show respect for the mission and its program. "I 
needed clothes and you clothed me." Two times everyday, used clothing was 
given to needy people. "I was sick and you looked after me." Volunteer doctors 
came two or three times a week and provide free health care. "I was in prison 
and you visited me." Rev. Pitney began holding services at the jail every 
Thursday and distributing candy bars and Gospel pamphlets. This was a natural 
outreach as most of the mission guests had spent time in jail ("And Convert of 
the New Rockford Rescue Mission"; "Matthew 25:35, 36"; "This is Our Story"). 

Rev. Pitney had a motto placed on the mission wall which stated "We will 
help in Christ's name, all whom we can, in all the ways we can, as long as ever 
we can" ("Director's Desk"). 



Hogan - 6 

On 16 January 1967 all the debt was paid off and the mission was getting 
desperate for more space. They were helping up to 30 men a day, but many 
more were in need. In February 1967 Rev. Pitney wrote an appeal "Won't you 
help us build a modern city rescue mission of which any Christian would be 
proud and upon which the world would look with greater respect?" The search 
began for a larger facility ("A Short History"). 

It took until 1971 to find a different facility, which would work to expand the 
mission. On 12 April 1971, the Rockford Rescue Mission purchased the 
Germania Club at 121 South Madison for $30,000. The building was constructed 
in 1892 and has a rich history. Originally it was one-story and in 1898 the first 
bowling alleys in Rockford were installed there. Later another story with a 
ballroom was added. It was a popular place for social gatherings until the early 
1960s and on a typical busy night it was a common sight to see the area's 
political leaders. This writer's grandparents were members and they attended on 
a regular basis during the 1940's. During one social event in the mid 1940s, their 
son Ed was working in the dining area and managed to spill hot coffee on the 
mayor of Rockford. It was an important place to make business contacts and 
impress prospective customers (Hogan Interview). In the early 1960s the 
popularity of the club declined and in the late 1960s the club was rented as strike 
headquarters and kitchens for the Rockford Newspaper Guild and later the 
United Auto Workers of Sundstrand. The club voted to sell the building in 1 969. 
Although the mission bought the building in April 1 971 , it would take seven 
months of hard work before the mission was able to open for business in that 



Hogan - 7 

building ("Rockford Rescue Mission Buys Old Germania Club"; "A Short History"; 
"This is Our Story"). 

In May 1971 Rev. Pitney asked for help in paying off the $20,000 
mortgage and he also wrote: "We need volunteers to do carpentry, plumbing, 
painting, plastering, tiling, dry-walling and general cleaning work." Willing people 
from all over the area came to help transform the bowling alleys to dormitories, 
the ballroom to a chapel, add offices for staff and remodel the kitchen and dining 
areas. The building was ready in time for the dedication service 29 November 
1971, which also celebrated the mission's seventh anniversary. The mission's 
capacity for helping the desperate needs of the homeless had greatly expanded. 
In 1972 the mission provided 6,700 nights of lodging and serves 19,748 meals. 
The Madison Avenue site would serve as the mission headquarters for the next 
27 years. The years of long hours and hard work took their toll on Rev. Pitney's 
health ("Building in Bag"; "Dedication"; "Rescue Mission Converts Old Hall"). 

For close to twenty years, Rev. Pitney worked from early morning till late 
into the night shouldering the many different responsibilities of running the 
mission. This included such things as working with the people who needed the 
mission's services, coordinating the food and clothing donations and distribution, 
keeping track of the financial side of the ministry, working with the board of 
directors to constantly modify and expand the mission services, and developing 
the mission's mailing list of supporters constantly trying to increase the donor 
base to cover the ever increasing costs of running the mission. Most Sundays, 
Rev. Pitney would take a van full of men to different churches in the area in an 



Hogan - 8 

attempt to get the word out as to what the mission was trying to do. In November 
1983 he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. It was time to slow down 
(Pitney Interview; "A Short History"). 

Rev. Pitney's oldest son Perry and his wife Sherry joined the mission staff 
1 August 1982. As his dad's health declined, Perry took on more and more of 
the duties of running the mission. Perry was appointed the executive director 1 8 
February 1987. Rev. Pitney's role changed to one of ambassador for the mission 
to the community. As the years went by, the Parkinson's disease gradually took 
over his body. Today, Rev. Pitney's hands shake uncontrollably. He still teaches 
a Sunday school class at his church and a ladies' class at the mission every 
Tuesday. He is an occasional speaker at the mission and made a brief live 
appearance on the mission's telethon 14 January 2002. Rev. Pitney's years of 
service have helped change the public's view of homeless people and also 
served as inspiration for Perry. Perry was ready and willing to take charge. 
(Pitney Interview; "A Short History"). 

At the age of eight in 1 969, Perry told his Dad, "Daddy, maybe I'll be the 
director of the mission someday." In 1997 Perry writes, "I always tell folks I didn't 
get far from home. Literally, all my life has been spent at the mission. My early 
childhood memories are filled with God faithfully always supplying our needs. I 
used to make 'soup runs' collecting leftover food from local catering companies. 
My job was to hold the soup pots down so it wouldn't slosh out. It would be 
supper for more than 50 homeless people back at the mission." ("Perry's Pen") 



Hogan - 9 

Perry stressed teaching people to break the cycle of homelessness and 
help them to return to productive lives. He did not allow the mission services to 
be used and abused. He said, "At our program, people have to make a positive 
choice for change. They have to get on programs, get on to jobs, to responsible 
living. Obviously a person who has lived irresponsibly and doesn't want to make 
those changes goes back out there and tries to use the charity system. The 
mission won't let someone starve or freeze to death but we require people to 
make choices. We have limited the amount of time people can stay here 
continually without taking steps to improve their lives" ("The Amazing Hope 
Place: Can They Really Rebuild People There?"). Perry realized the community 
needed to become more aware of the existence and purpose of the mission. He 
had an inspiration. 

Perry organized a southern gospel band consisting of his wife and his two 
brothers. The band named "The Pitney's" toured extensively from 1983 until 
1998. They were voted "Best Christian" music group at the 1993 Rockford Area 
Musicians Industry music awards. The entire Midwest region heard about the 
mission and it gained credibility and respect ("A Short History"). 

Under Perry's leadership, the mission won several awards in the 1980s 
and 1990s, which recognized the mission's major contributions to the community. 
In 1995, the Rockford Register Star awarded the mission the prestigious 
Excelsior Award. Meanwhile, Perry addressed a serious overcrowding problem 
at the Madison Avenue mission ("Friendship 'Heart of our Mission'"). 



Hogan - 10 

In the early 1990s the situation at the mission on Madison Avenue was 
getting desperate. The temporary overnight accommodations were limited to 25 
men. On very cold nights an additional 25 men would be allowed to sleep on the 
floor in the chapel. In addition the men in the six- to nine-month recovery 
program stayed in the dark windowless basement known as the "Cave" 
("Relocation caps shelter's frantic week"). The recovery program could only 
accept 12 men and there was a long list of men wanting to enter the program. 
Furthermore, the dining room could handle 85 guests and it was frequently filled 
to capacity. There was only one working toilet and one working shower for the 
men to share. There was one working toilet for the staff to share (Noble 
Interview). Something had to be done. 

A team was formed which consisted of Executive Director Perry Pitney, 
Director of Operations Sherry Pitney, Director of Development Randa Noble and 
the Board of Directors. Two options were considered: major renovation at the 
current site or build a new facility. Plans were drawn up for renovating the 
existing building. The plans called for expanding, which would have wiped out 
the meager parking area. In the process of exploring the renovation it was 
discovered that the building was an historic landmark and any renovation would 
be severely limited. The law prohibited the necessary changes ("Helping More 
Families"). This left only one choice: to build a new facility (Noble Interview). 

A site would have to be located and Perry felt strongly the new mission 
should be located on the west side. The west side had a high crime rate and 
Perry wanted to locate the mission right in the heart of it ("Helping More 



Hogan - 11 

Families";"1997 Brings New Challenges"). After an extensive five-year search a 
possible site was located in the 700 block of West State Street. It was a vacant 
car dealership owned by Bill Hembrough. Perry contacted Bill and asked if he 
would consider donating the land to the mission. The property was valued at 
$650,000 but Bill said he would sell it to the mission for $150,000 (Ministry Plans 
Facilities to Help Poor"). The closing on the property took place July 1996. 
(Clinton Interview; Noble Interview) 

With the site secured, fund raising began in earnest. Estimates indicated 
the total project would cost close to six million dollars. At that time there were 
four other major fundraisers taking place, including one for the Coronado 
Theater. It looked like money was going to be hard to get. Key people in the 
community were enlisted to lend their support. Some involved were U.S. 
Representative Don Manzulo, Illinois State Senator Dave Syverson and Rockford 
Mayor Charles Box ("Hope Place Update"). They endorsed the mission efforts 
and lent their name to the cause. One family stepped up and donated one 
million dollars, which really got the ball rolling (Clinton Interview; Noble 
Interview). With the fund raising under way, the team worked on plans for the 
new building. 

Early plans, developed in 1996, called for the creation of a two-story, 
43,000 square foot structure with a glass facade front and a tree lined, enclosed 
% acre park. The building would house a chapel, food service, the men's 
recovery program and administrative offices. The park would include a 
basketball court and other sports facilities. Bill Hembrough's building would be 



Hogan- 12 

revamped into a 1 0,000 square foot shelter for men, women and children 
("Ministry Plans Facilities to Help Poor"). These plans were modified as the 
beginning of construction was in sight. The existing buildings would be totally 
demolished and a single 80,000 square foot structure would be built to house 
most of the mission's services. The plans for the enclosed park were abandoned 
and work on the site began (Noble Interview). 

Demolition of the old Bill Hembrough building began and Rockford 
Structures was given the job of constructing the new mission. Groundbreaking 
ceremonies were held 29 October 1997 and attended by the team from the 
mission along with Mayor Charles Box ("Breaking Ground"). Weekly construction 
meetings were held to keep things on schedule. Randa conducted several "Hard 
Hat Tours" of the site for groups of major donors ("Hope Place Update"). She 
also coordinated many fund raising drives to benefit the project. The team 
struggled with the idea of some day adding a full court basketball gym to the 
facility. One day Perry looked out the window of what would be his new office, 
saw the huge dining and chapel area which had not been completed and said, 
"There's your gym!" The plans were then changed to raise the ceiling over that 
area and change the lighting arrangements to accommodate a full basketball 
court (Noble Interview). 

About this time, Randa received a call from a church, which was going 
through a renovation. They wished to donate one of their stained glass windows. 
Their one request was that it would be used on the west side of the building. The 
plans for the new mission called for the chapel to be on the second floor in the 



Hogan - 13 

northwest corner of the building and to include windows on both outside walls. 
The rough opening for one of the windows on the west side of the building was 
resized and the donated stained glass window was installed (Noble Interview). 

The building project received a big boost by many people and 
organizations donating their time, services or products. Since the site was a car 
dealership with underground tanks, there were many EPA issues to resolve. An 
attorney from Rockford donated his time to successfully resolve all of these 
issues. Several people volunteered to haul away the trash and underground 
tanks from the building site. Culligan Water Conditioning donated several new 
water softeners ("Culligan Water Conditioning"). Bergners donated money for 
every charge account opened between 15 November 1998 and 19 December 
1998. It was enough to purchase 58 new Simmons mattresses ("New 
Mattresses a First for Shelter")("New Bedding Awaits Rescue Mission Visitors"). 
Sunstrand raised $1,182 in December 1998 by offering their employees the 
privilege of wearing blue jeans to work. The employees paid $2.00 to $5.00 
depending on their job classification ("Sundstrand Workers Help Rescue 
Mission"). Community reaction was overwhelmingly good and very supportive. 

However there were still a few who thought it would be better to build a 
grocery store or a "Family Dollar" type discount store at that location instead of 
the mission ("Helping More Families"). Some of the homeless men complained 
the new mission location would be too far of a walk from the Madison Avenue 
location (Noble Interview). As construction neared completion, the task of 
moving in began. 



Hogan - 14 

Many volunteers helped with the task of moving into the new building, 
which took place January 1999. In one example, Camcar Textron donated the 
use of a truck and driver. Richard Little jumped at the chance to drive the truck. 
He had been helped by the mission several years earlier and was anxious to give 
something back ("Relocation Caps Shelter's Frantic Week"). 

After the move was completed, the new mission opened on schedule and 
never missed serving a meal during the entire construction process (Noble 
Interview). The ribbon cutting ceremony took place November 19, 1998. Among 
those in attendance were Perry and Sherry Pitney, Rev Pitney, Nadine, Mayor 
Charles Box and Alderman Frank Beach ("Hope Place Ribbon Cutting"). 

The new mission greatly increased the ability to handle their client's 
needs. The temporary overnight accommodations had increased from 25 to 50. 
The men's recovery program could now handle 48 residents instead of 12. The 
dining room capacity had grown from 64 to 250 ("Hope Place Update"). Perry's 
time of leadership had come to an end and his wife Sherry stepped in to take 
over in 2001. 

Sherry continues to implement the recovery program policies and expand 
mission services. Two departments were added in February 2000: the Education 
Center and Career Employment Services. The Education Center provides basic 
skills training such as reading, math, writing and computer. It is also possible to 
earn a high school diploma or receive GED training. The Career Employment 
Services Department provides training for reentry into the workforce and 
aftercare once a job has been secured ("A Short History"). 



Hogan - 15 

Starting with a newspaper article in 1 959 until today, the journey of the 
Rockford Rescue Mission has been an amazing one. Rev. Pitney and Nadine 
Pitney, Ray Stewart and Perry and Sherry Pitney have all played key roles in the 
mission's success. Rockford Rescue Mission shares hope and help in Jesus' 
name to move people from homelessness and despair toward personal and 
spiritual wholeness ("Rockford Rescue Mission"). The broken are mended and 
the despairing are encouraged, those considered worthless are shown respect, 
the hopeless are given hope and a future. Those once considered the dregs of 
society are fed, clothed, housed, given an education and leave the mission to 
make contributions to society that could have never been imagined before. The 
new mission building was given the name "Hope Place." It is a fitting name 
because it truly is a place for hope. 



Hogan Works Cited -1 

The Amazing Journey of the Rockford Rescue Mission 

Works Cited 

"1997 Brings New Challenges." The Rescuer winter 1997 (newsletter from the 

Rockford Rescue Mission) 
"Advice in Alcoholism Battle." Rockford Morning Star 27 December 1964. 

Rockfordiana files/Rockford Public Library. Rockford Rescue Mission. 
"The Amazing Hope Place: Can They Really Rebuild People There?" Rockford 

Register Star 19 November 1995. Rockfordiana files/Rockford Public 

Library. Rockford Rescue Mission. 
"And Convert of the New Rockford Rescue Mission." Sunday Digest 18 February 

1968. 
"Breaking Ground." Rockford Register Star 29 October 1997. Rockfordiana 

files/Rockford Public Library. Rockford Rescue Mission 
"Building in Bag." The Rescuer May 1971. (Newsletter from the Rockford Rescue 

Mission). 
Chapel. Personal photo by the author. 22 April 2002. 
Clinton, Pat. Mission Ambassador to Churches, Rockford Rescue Mission. 

Personnel interview. February 2002 
"Culligan Water Conditioning." Rockford Register Star 1 1 November 1 998. 

Rockfordiana files/Rockford Public Library. Rockford Rescue Mission 
"Daring Founder is Dead." The Rescuer February 1980. (Newsletter from the 

Rockford Rescue Mission). 
"Dedication" Dedication Program 29 November 1971. 



Hogan Works Cited -2 

"Director's Desk." The Rescuer September/October vol 25 No 226 No Year. 

(Newsletter from the Rockford Rescue Mission). 
Donated Stain Glass Window. Personal photo by the author. 22 April 2002. 
"Founder of Closed Mission Takes Prayer to Officials." Rockford Register 

Republic 31 July 1964. Rockfordiana files/Rockford Public 

Library. Rockford Rescue Mission. 
"Frequently Asked Questions." No Date Available. Rockford Rescue Mission. 

4 April 2002. <www.rockfordrescuemission.org/faq.htm> 
"Friendship 'Heart of our Mission.'" Rockford Register Star 1995. Rockfordiana 

files/Rockford Public Library. Rockford Rescue Mission. 
The Great Room. Personal photo by the author. 22 April 2002. 
"Growth Prompts Expansion." Rockford Register Star 25 October 1994. 

Rockfordiana files/Rockford Public Library. Rockford Rescue Mission 
"Helping More Families" Rockford Register Star 7 July 1996. Rockfordiana 

files/Rockford Public Library. Rockford Rescue Mission 
Hogan, Ed. Tim Hogan's father. Personal interview. February 2002. 
"Home for Jobless, Drunks Closed by City Inspectors." Rockford Morning Star 31 

July 1964. Rockfordiana files/Rockford Public Library. Rockford Rescue 

Mission. 
"Hope Place Ribbon Cutting." Rockford Register Star 19 November 1998. 

Rockfordiana files/Rockford Public Library. Rockford Rescue Mission 
"Hope Place Update." The Rescuer winter 1998 (newsletter from the Rockford 

Rescue Mission) 



Hogan Works Cited -3 

Kitchen. Personal photo by the author. 22 April 2002. 

Library. Personal photo by the author. 22 April 2002. 

"Matthew 25:35, 36" New International Version of the Bible . 1 978 Zondevan 

Bible Publishers, The New York International Bible Society. 
"Ministry plans facilities to help poor" Rockford Register Star 7 July 1996. 

Rockfordiana files/Rockford Public Library. Rockford Rescue Mission 
"Mission 'Bedroom' for 30 Men." Rockford Morning Star No Date. Rockfordiana 

files/Rockford Public Library. Rockford Rescue Mission. 
"Mission Changes Locations." Rockford Morning Star 25 April 1964. 

Rockfordiana files/Rockford Public Library. Rockford Rescue Mission. 
"Mission May be Revamped to Meet City's Standards." Rockford Morning Star 1 

August 1964. Rockfordiana files/Rockford Public Library. Rockford Rescue 

Mission. 
"New Bedding Awaits Rescue Mission Visitors." Rockford Register Star 22 

December 1998. Rockfordiana files/Rockford Public Library. Rockford 

Rescue Mission 
"New Mattresses a First For Shelter." Rockford Register Star 31 October 1998. 

Rockfordiana files/Rockford Public Library. Rockford Rescue Mission 
Noble, Randa. Director of Development, Rockford Rescue Mission. Personnel 

interview. February 2002 
"Old Lighthouses Still Needed." The Rescuer Spring 1996. (Newsletter from the 

Rockford Rescue Mission). 



Hogan Works Cited -4 

"Perry's Pen." The Rescuer No Date. (Newsletter from the Rockford Rescue 

Mission). 
Pitney, Gerald. Former Executive Director, Rockford Rescue Mission. Personnel 

interview. October 2001. 
"Relocation Caps Shelter's Frantic Week." Rockford Register Star 23 January 

1999. Rockfordiana files/Rockford Public Library. Rockford Rescue 

Mission 
"Rescue Mission Converts Old Hall." Rockford Morning Star 2 July 1 971 . 

Rockfordiana files/Rockford Public Library. Rockford Rescue Mission. 
"Rev G.O. Pitney to Lead Rockford Rescue Mission." Rockford Morning Star 30 

June 1965. Rockfordiana files/Rockford Public Library. Rockford Rescue 

Mission. 
"The Rev. Gerald Pitney." Rockford Register Star 1 January 1999. Rockfordiana 

files/Rockford Public Library. Rockford Rescue Mission 
"Rockford Rescue Mission." Rockford Rescue Mission Mission 2001. Mission 

Statement. 
Rockford Rescue Mission 116 Kishwaukee Street 1964-1971. Personal photo by 

the author. 22 April 2002. 
Rockford Rescue Mission 121 South Madison Avenue 1971-1998. Personal 

photo by the author. 22 April 2002. 
Rockford Rescue Mission 715 West State Street 1998-Present. Personal photo 

by the author. January 2002. 



Hogan Works Cited -5 

"Rockford Rescue Mission Buys Old Germania Club." Rockford Register 

Republic 24 May 1971. Rockfordiana files/Rockford Public 

Library. Rockford Rescue Mission. 
"Rockford's Rescue Mission Offers Aid to 'Heavy Laden.'" Rockford Register 

Republic 18 July 1964. Rockfordiana files/Rockford Public 

Library. Rockford Rescue Mission. 
Serenity House. Personal photo by the author. January 2002. 
Serving Line. Personal photo by the author. 22 April 2002. 
"A Short History." Rockford Rescue Mission Ministries 27 November 2001 . 

(Written by Dr. Patrick J. Clinton). 
"Statistics." No Date Available. Rockford Rescue Mission. 4 April 2002. 

<www.rockfordrescuemission.org/statistics.htm> 
"Sundstrand Workers Help Rescue Mission." Rockford Register Star 22 

December 1998. Rockfordiana files/Rockford Public Library. Rockford 

Rescue Mission 
"This is Our Story." The Rescuer January 1972. (Newsletter from the Rockford 

Rescue Mission). 



Hogan - Pictures 1 




Rockford Rescue Mission 

116 Kishwaukee Street 

1964-1971 




Rockford Rescue Mission 

121 South Madison Avenue 

1971-1998 



Hogan - Pictures 2 




Rockford Rescue Mission 

715 West State Street 

1998-Present 




Serenity House 



Hogan - Pictures 3 




Donated Stained Glass Window 




The Great Room 



Hogan - Pictures 4 




Chapel 





Serving Line 



Hogan - Pictures 5 




Kitchen 




Library 



Rotation Station 



James Bauer 

5/15/02 

English 101 

Rock Valley College 



Bauer, 1 



James Bauer 
English 101 DX 
22 April 2002 



Skates into Skateboards 



In the early 1960s Loves Park was growing, especially at the intersection of 
Harlem and Alpine Road. Around 1965, Courtesy Foods was built across from the old 
Harlem Cemetery (Harlem Township). This large piece of land would harbor a number 
of buildings in the years to come. The most important building built was Rotation 
Station. Rotation Station gave numerous young and old people the joy of roller-skating. 
The people who were involved have good memories of the station. 

When Courtesy Foods was built in 1965, the country was experiencing the craze 
of roller-skating ("Roller Skating"). The excitement of new and fast-paced music gave 
the people the urge to skate. In 1978, in the left back corner of the lot, Rotation Station 
was born and owned by Gerald T. and Sandra Mulligan (Harlem Township); (Jamont). 
What was really cool, is that they made a drive up (enclosed area) for cars, so parents 
could drop off their kids no matter what the weather condition were outside. The building 
was completed and assessed at a value just over a quarter of a million dollars (Harlem 
Township). The building was made of bricks, which were multi shades of dark brown. 
The only window put on the building was on the left side of the drive up next to the door 
for the office. Small white rectangles a foot from the roof, and space about six inches 
apart wrapped around the building. 

Rotation Station was a popular hangout for many people. John Jamont recalls his 
first experience there when he was in 5 th grade, " My school held a fun raiser to sell 
candy bars. The class that sold the most won a field trip to Rotation Station. My class 



Bauer,2 

sold the most candy bars and went on the field trip. It was my first time couple skating, 
and my first time holding a girl's hand." The Station also had an arcade and had many 
games. John Jamont recalls one specific game that he played on a regular basis, which 
was Space invader. One event at Rotation Station was BroomBall (similar to hockey but 
with brooms). Rotation Station held All Nite Skate on starting at 6:00 p.m. and ending at 
7:00 a.m., and for only seven dallors. Brad Jacobson worked for Sandra scrubbing the 
roller rink and doing yard work (Jamont). 

Rockford now had three roller rinks, the Ing on S.2 n Street downtown Rockford, 
Skateland on Stenstrom Road the southeast side, and Rotation Station on Alpine Road on 
the north side. There were too many roller rinks in the area. The owner, Sandra Mulligan 
went to the edge to bring in new business. In 1985, on the far left side of the building, a 
bowl and spine shank (upside down loop), was constructed. During that time both a 
roller rink and a skateboard park co-existed. Removable jumps and platforms were placed 
on the roller rink floor while skateboarding. In 1988, Rotation Station became strictly a 
skateboard park, and the same year a half-pipe was constructed outside on the left side of 
the building (Mulligan). 

When the Station made the transformation into a skate park, along came live 
shows. Many bands played during skateboard competition like Screeching Weasel 
(Chicago), Crimpshrine (California) and Transgression ("What a Crazy year"). Susan 
Mulligan recalls, "Around 1990, the business closed due to the leaking roof." The water 
damaged the floor and ramps making unsafe to skateboard. The roof was worked on 
before, but it continue to leak. 



Bauer, 3 

While the building was closed there were reports of underground raves in the 
building. Susan Mulligan recalls, " After the Station closed, teenagers had broken in and 
held late night raves. The building remained closed for about five years. 

In 1995-1997, Duluxe Paints, a corporate business out of Cleveland, expanded 
into this building (Harlem Township). The store is located on the south side of the 
building. In the back of the store, they created a large warehouse. The store also has two 
small offices. On the north side, Body by Design also rents space in the building. In the 
middle of the building it is a empty warehouse waiting to be rented. The author found 
limited information on both businesses due to the lack of recorded history. 

Rotation Station still lives on and is know as "The Station". Sandra Mulligan still 
owns the business and it is located on Charles Street. The Station is a skateboard shop 
that sell anything relate to skateboarding. Rotation Station's building will continue to 
remind people of memories. 



Works Cited 



County of Winnebago. Land deeds. 1917-1995. 
Jamont, John. Personal Interview. 22 April 2002. 
Harlem Township. Property records . 1978-1995. 
Mulligan, Susan. Phone Interview. 21 March 2002. 
"Roller Skating." Rockord Registar Star . 9 November 1979. 

"What a Crazy Year!". Author unknown, http://www.adkg.com/columns/tator04.html . Date 
unkown. 




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The Relentless Pursuit to Improve Tomorrow; 
A History of the St. Elizabeth's Center 



Spencer J. Anderson III 

Spring Semester 2002 

Rock Valley College 

English 101 



Anderson- 1 

Spencer Anderson 
English 101, Section DX 
30 April 2002 

The Relentless Pursuit to Improve Tomorrow; 
A History of the St. Elizabeth's Center 

The St. Elizabeth's Social (Community) Center at 1536 South Main Street has 
been providing services to the people in the Rockford area sense 1911. Their goal of 
improving lives and the community around them has remained unchanged for nearly one 
hundred years. The St. Elizabeth's Center was founded in Rockford in 1911, but the 
name St. Elizabeth is much more meaningful and dates back to the thirteenth century. 

The year 1207 in Hungary, a girl by the name Elizabeth was born. At the age of 
14, Elizabeth married Louis Ludwig as a result of a political alliance. Elizabeth was the 
mother of three children but throughout her short life, her charity to the poor and 
religious crusades made her a mother to many. Louis died of the plague in 1227, and his 
family banished Elizabeth and her children from the castle. Once the provider of food, 
shelter, and clothing for the needy, she was forced to beg for the very same for her 
family. Louis's family forgave her in 1228 when his body was returned to them. Shortly 
after being forgiven Elizabeth left her children to go live in a small cottage. She built a 
hospice next to her cottage where she continued to provide for the needy until her death 
in 1231. The spirit of St. Elizabeth still exists today in the St. Elizabeth's Center and the 
center shares the same purpose ("St. Elizabeth Center to Dedicate Statue"). 

At the time of St. Elizabeth's life, North American was undiscovered and 
unknown to the western world. Nearly 700 years had passed from the time of her death 
and the founding of the St. Elizabeth's Center. In 1911 immigration to the United States 



Anderson-2 

was at its height, and it was the immigrants in Rockford whose influences ultimately lead 
to the creation of the St. Elizabeth's Center. 

During the 155-year period between 1820 and 1975 nearly 50 million people 
immigrated to the United States. Most of the immigrants coming to the United States 
were from Europe. "In fact, 32 of the 35.9 million Europeans who came to the United 
States between 1820 and 1975 came prior to 1924" ("Immigration to 1965"). With so 
many millions of people entering our country as new citizens, there was a good chance 
that almost all of them would have to be reeducated and Americanized. This is where 
places like the St. Elizabeth Center come into play and why it has such a great deal of 
importance. 

Rockford was no different than hundreds of other cities throughout the United 
States; it, too, were the Destination City for thousands of new immigrants. The Italian 
immigrants grew especially fast in the early part of the 1900s. From 1910 to 1915 the 
city's Italian population doubled from 250 to 500 families (Nelson 102). The Italian 
immigrants were the same as many other foreigners, which was that they didn't know 
English, or the American way of life. Learning the American way would be harder for 
the adults, but no a cakewalk for the children either. 

With the numbers of Italians rapidly growing in Rockford it was not surprising 
that the Catholic Church grew just as fast. In 1908, Pope Pius X created the Rockford 
Diocese, and Rev. Peter J. Muldoon was appointed as Rockford's first Bishop. Bishop 
Muldoon quickly took action on the lack of education that existed throughout the Italian 
population in Rockford. He established places like St. Anthony Parish, St. James 
Catholic School, St. Thomas High School, (now Boylan Catholic High School) and many 



Anderson-3 

more places with educational opportunities. He also appointed Father Anthony 
Marchesano to be the Pastor of the Italian Parish in Rockford. (Las Casas 50) 

In 1909 the Catholic Women's League established a parish in Rockford. In 
September 1911 the League founded the St. Elizabeth's Center to educate and 
Americanize Rockford' s Immigrants. The center originally used a private home, which 
was not anywhere near its present location. A problem arose in the early days of the 
center's existence; this problem would be a nagging one throughout the center's history. 
After only three months, it had grown too much and the addition of Saturday classes had 
to be held at Woodman Hall. In 1912, the Catholic Women's League purchased the 
center's present day property in the rent district of South Rockford at 1 505 S. Main St. 
("St. Elizabeth's Center has Grown Leaps and Bounds"). They bought the property from 
Mrs. Emily E. Van Wie, the widow of Abraham H. Van Wie, a retired secretary and 
treasurer, who passed away in the early part of the 1900s ("St. Elizabeth's Through the 
Years"; Rockford City Directory 1887 ). The building was a convent for some 60 years 
before it became the St. Elizabeth Center ("St. Elizabeth's Serves Many"). 

The Catholic Women's League opened the doors of the former convent as the St. 
Elizabeth's Center on January 7, 1913. In a sense they opened a blank book to the first 
page and it was at this time that they began the story of the St. Elizabeth's Center ("St. 
Elizabeth's Center has Grown Leaps and Bounds"). Although the St. Elizabeth Center 
was open for people of all ages, races, and nationalities, most of the people who attended 
were Italian children. The warm hearts and unselfish volunteer work of the Catholic 
Women's League and the House Matron, Mrs. Alice Gregory, is what brought fourth 
great attendance and results through the first few years ("St. Elizabeth's Center Shows 



Anderson-4 

Results"). Year after year the number of members grew by the hundreds, and not only 
did the numbers increase, the different variety of nationalities and races grew as well. 
The center had members from eight European nations and three members of the Negro 
race by 1916 ("St. Elizabeth Social Center Has Busy Year"). 

With the attendance growing so rapidly there was no doubt that the space to hold 
the people would eventually run out. With the space running out so quickly, the use of 
another facility was inevitable. Classes were then held at the St. Anthony's Hall for the 
Italian adults and children. This move temporarily freed up space at the center. ("Great 
Work"-1916) Even though the Italians where attending classes at St. Anthony's Hall, the 
constant need for space rapidly grew. The problem of not having enough space persisted 
until the last expansion was completed in 1991 ("St. Elizabeth's Center Has Grown Leaps 
and Bounds"). 



The need for space was a result of the center's popularity and in the 79 years 
between 1911 and 1991 this problem was the reason the center underwent its numerous 
changes. There is one thing that has held its own through all those years and it is the 
relentless pursuit to improve people's lives and our community. The center has not only 
remained focused on its ultimate goal during its changes, it has also maintained it through 
all the changes in the world around it. The climate of the times has affected the center. 
but the St. Elizabeth's Center has always evolved to fit its services with what is needed at 
the time. 

In the beginning, the center was much like a modem-day vocational school, 
because the classes and activities offered people training in a wide variety of life skills. 
One of the first activities the center held was Saturday sewing classes for girls. Within 



Anderson-5 

the first year, the number of classes and activities grew to include kindergarten, singing 
classes, clay modeling classes, manual training courses, folk dancing classes, and English 
classes at night for adults. In the center's first few years its day-to-day activities were 
continuous and remained unchanged until an event that shocked the globe ("The St. 
Elizabeth Center Has Grown Leaps and Bounds"). 

Although the outbreak of World War I altered the center's daily activities, its 
purpose stood strong. During the World War I era, the center was asked to help the Red 
Cross with its activities. Other organizations came to the center for help at this time, too. 
These other organization that turned to the center for help were the Girls Protective 
League and the Travelers' Aid. Also during the war, the Infant Welfare Bureau opened a 
registration station at the center. The war was a time when the love from the center 
touched more than just the Rockford area. These organizations enabled the center to 
reach out and touch the world. Even the students who attended the center did what they 
could for the war effort. The young children, who would not normally be taught to make 
clothes, were taught. The clothes these children made were given to French and Belgian 
babies ("The St. Elizabeth Center Has Grown Leaps and Bounds"). 

Before the war ended, and the 1920s and Prohibition, the center's activities and 
classes grew as fast as its attendance problem. At this point in time the classes offered 
for young people expanded to include: embroidery and crocheting classes, cooking and 
house-keeping classes, music and art classes, language and native study classes, games 
and story-telling and even piano lessons were given to students who showed some rare 
talent. The older people at the center also had a wider variety of classes to choose from. 
but not nearly as much selection as the youths. They still had English classes, but now 



Anderson -6 

they could choose from civics classes, dressmaking classes, cooking and housekeeping 
classes, as well as sewing and crocheting classes ("The St. Elizabeth Center has Busy 
Year"). 

By 1921 the center's growth had overwhelmed the Sisters of the Catholic 
Women's League to the point that their volunteer work alone was not enough. It was at 
this time that the center underwent its first administrative change. The Missionary Sisters 
of the Most Blessed Trinity took over the work at the center later that year ("St. 
Elizabeth's Has Grown Leaps and Bounds"). Well into the 1920s the center continued to 
offer these classes along with additional classes to fit the changing times. Some of the 
new classes offered were in domestic science, picture art, decorative art, and more 
manual training classes ("St. Elizabeth's Attended by 45,500 during the Year"). The 
"Roaring Twenties" was a time when the center not only acted as a place of education; it 
also became the meeting place for many clubs and organizations ("St. Elizabeth Social 
Center has Busy Year"). 

There were three Lithuanian clubs who held meetings at the center regularly. One 
of these clubs was the Lithuanian Dramatic and Singing Society, which used the center as 
a place to rehearse. The German Band also held their rehearsals at the center on a weekly 
basis. There was a very unique club that used the center as a place to arrange their 
meetings. This club was called the Muldoon Club, which was a group of young Italian 
men who frequented the English classes at the center. What made this club unique was 
that it took the name Muldoon from of Bishop Peter J. Muldoon, a person who played a 
big part in the creation of the center. ("St. Elizabeth Social Center has Busy Year") 



Anderson-7 

Among other services that have been with the center from the beginning was free 
medical attention given to children who attended the center. This service was especially 
important because a lot of the children who attended the center came from poor families 
and that meant that many of the children had never seen a doctor. Another medical 
service offered at the center was a clinic that took place every Tuesday during the 
summer months. The clinic's main focus was toward mothers and their babies. The 
babies were given free medical attention while the mothers were given instructions and 
training in proper feeding and infant care ("St. Elizabeth Social Center Has Busy Year"). 

Charity work and fund raising were other areas the center was no stranger to. 
Every year at Christmas time, the center sent a package filled with clothes, toys, and 
sometimes money to the orphanage in Freeport, Illinois. The orphanage was one of the 
many places or persons to benefit from the center's charity. The center was always more 
than willing to give. Whether it was a basket of food for a family, clothing for another 
person or toys for children, the center gave as much and sometimes more then they 
possibly could. Another one of these works was fund raising for the center itself. The 
music and drama classes at the center presented numerous programs throughout a given 
year. The programs raised money to pay off debt or purchase new supplies and 
equipment for the center ("C.W.L. Builds Addition for St. Elizabeth"). 

Other activities the center held were, and still are, the type of activities that left a 
joyous memory in many people, especially the children. These activities were the parties 
that the center held on a number of holidays through it the year. From as far back as the 
center's history goes, they have held holiday parties, including a Columbus Day part}'. 
Thanksgiving Day party, and numerous Christmas parties. At these parties, especial!} 



Anderson-8 

the Christmas parties, the children received gifts and a visit from Santa Clause ("St. 
Elizabeth Social Center Shows Results"). 

The Great Depression was a second event that would alter the daily activities at 
the center. This time, unlike World War I, the center was temporarily changed. In the 
summer of 1934 the activities came to a halt as the center was forced to shut down 
operations due to a lack of funding. The shut down did not last long, though, and 
activities got back underway in the fall of that same year ("Crisis Looms Here as Social 
Center Closes"). 

The center's services never went unnoticed and never drew any complaints. In 
fact, residents could physically see the wonderful things that went on at the center. A 
neighbor by the name of Oliver Eads was asked about the center while sitting on his 
porch one afternoon in 1946 and he has nothing but positive things to say about the 
center. He can see better then anyone the good things that go on at the center as he sits 
on his porch across the street. Oliver says "There's nothing like it in Rockford," he 
continues by saying "Every nationality, race, and religion is represented on that 
playground in the course of a year." He finishes by saying that "The children have fun, 
but there's a lot more to it than that. They're trained to be little ladies and gentlemen" 
("Social Center Begins its 35 th Year. . ."). 

During the 1940s, '50s, and up until the 1960s the St. Elizabeth's Center remained 
relatively unchanged. Early in the second half of the 20 th century, the center's focus 
shifted from immigrants to the various other minority groups frequenting South Rockford 
(Las Casas 182). When the center's focus changed from immigrants to minorities its 
services were adapted to fit the changing needs. Many actives remained relatively 



Anderson-9 

unchanged but many new out-reach programs became available. These new programs 
included recreation and sports, family and youth counseling, mentoring, pre-school, 
before-and-after school tutoring and care, gang-and-drug prevention programs, and senior 
citizen activities ("Center Has High Hopes For New Program"). One program the center 
added to its list of credentials was in 1980 when it started a soup kitchen for the needy in 
southwest Rockford ("St. Elizabeth's through the years"). 

Among these new programs, the recreation and sports activities have proven to be 
very effective and rewarding. The summer camp is not only reassuring to the parents by 
knowing their children are being well cared for it also presents opportunities to the 
students that they might not have otherwise. These opportunities include in-and-out-of- 
town field trips, cooking classes, a game room, mentoring, tutoring, as well as a silent 
reading time ("West-side Center Marks 85 th Year"). 

Matthew Anderson remembers attending the center's summer camp in 1992. He 
says "besides all the field trips we went on, the thing I remember most about the camp 
was lunch time. Everyday we got a lunch in a white box, but the best part about lunch 
was the candy store. I could by a ton of candy for only a dollar, it was great." 

For many people who do not live on the Westside of Rockford, the only way they 
are familiar with the St. Elizabeth's Center is through its sports programs. This was not 
or is not simply because they recognize the name St. Elizabeth's, it is because they 
remember the class as well as the talent of the players. The baseball teams have been 
especially talented. When the name St. Elizabeth's is mentioned at the Roy Gayle 
Baseball Complex, it is usually because year after year St. Elizabeth's is the team to beat. 
The reason for this is the same reason why the center itself is so successful. The people 



Anderson- 10 

is why the baseball program has been blessed with devoted coaches who love life and 
love to teach it through baseball. 

Three long-time and well-known volunteer coaches include Russ Bambino, 
Spencer Anderson Jr., and Charlie Williams. The late Spencer Anderson Jr. lived for and 
loved to coach. He would often say "at night I dream about how I can make my players 
better. I worry about those kids like they were my own. I also have the habit of sitting 
for hours looking over the scorebook and thinking of what would be the most beneficial 
thing to do at our next practice." 

Charlie Williams began coaching at the center in 1976. He was the first person to 
coach an inter-racial baseball team in Rockford. People often asked him how he coached 
that mixed group of kids to a winning season. He told them "It's easy. I teach them the 
game of baseball and let the ball play the game." He went on to say "more importantly, I 
teach them how the game of baseball reflects the game of life. You have to be at a higher 
level then your players and have a deep love for the beauty of childhood in order to be 
effective when coaching kids!" When Charlie was hospitalized with possible paralysis in 
the fall of 2000, he experienced an aspect of coaching that he never had before. He said 
with tears in his eyes, "When I was in the hospital I received thousands of cards and 
signed baseballs from so many of my former players. I even got cards from some players 
that were on my very first team who were now in their thirties. By far the best thing I got 
was a visit from a 27-year-old who was a former player of mine. He walked in and said, 
"I'm praying for you and you're going to walk again, I know it." So, I asked, "how?" 
He replied by saying, "Because, Coach, you took care of me and now I am going to take 
care of you"! Charlie said he had never thought of coaching in that manner, but he was 



Anderson- 1 1 

overjoyed that he had made that much of an impact on someone for just doing what he 
loved to do. He ended with saying "I volunteer my time because I love to help kids, and I 
never once expected anything out of it." 

Throughout the years, the attendance in the activities grew rapidly, which is why 
the center has had to undergo numerous additions and expansions. The original building 
at 1505 S. Main St. was bought in 1912 by the Catholic Women's League, and it quickly 
grew too small for the center's popularity increasing attendance ("St. Elizabeth's 
Through the Years"). An attempt to free up space was made by holding classes at St. 
Anthony's Hall; this only temporarily solved the problem ("Great Work of St. 
Elizabeth's"). 

By 1926 the Catholic Women's League decided that an addition for the center 
was necessary. The expansion they made was with the erection of an entirely new 
building on the Wall St. side of the existing building. After 1926, the two buildings were 
enough to hold the overcrowding problem to a minimum, but before World War II came 
to an end the problem rose yet again ("C.W.L. Builds Addition for St. Elizabeth"). 

In 1945 the increasing need for space once again forced the Catholic Women's 
League to expand. They bought a nine-room house, along with an empty lot, just south 
of the two buildings already owned ("Catholic Women's League to Buy House for St. 
Elizabeth's Center"). This purchase meant that the center owned the entire west 1500 
block of S. Main St. ("St. Elizabeth's Through the Years"). 

Up to the 1960s the buildings and property of the St. Elizabeth's Center remained 
unchanged. Then, in 1966, the buildings were desperately in need of repairs. After a lot 
of consideration, the conclusion was that the old buildings were too old and in too bad of 



Anderson- 12 

shape to spend any money on remodeling. By the end of 1966 the funds and plans were 
in the making for the center to demolish the original buildings and construct a larger 
more modern building ("Housing Authority to Seek Funds for St. Elizabeth's"). In late 
December of 1967 the original buildings were torn down and cleared away to make room 
for the new building ("Old Convent Crumbles to Ground"). 

With construction to begin as soon as the old buildings were cleared, the plans for 
the new building were to be a one-and-a half story building with an English-style 
basement. The strength of the build would come from steel joist construction with the 
outside made of plain brick. The building was designed to have classrooms that, when 
needed, could act as multipurpose rooms. The new building upstairs and down gave the 
center more than 10,000 square feet of space available to for uses in many activities 
("Community Center to Start Building"). 

The building was completed in 1969 and less than ten years later the center's 
overcrowding problem proved once again to be too much for even for the new building. 
In the late 1970s an addition was built to be used for the preschool. This addition also 
included the building of a gym, something that the center had never had before. The one 
downfall of this new addition was that it was built over the center's large playground, 
which was reduced to less than half its original size ("St. Elizabeth's Through the 
Years"). 

In 1987 the plans to once again build a larger building were underway. This time 
the center would keep the existing building at 1505 S. Main St. and build a larger more 
modern building directly across the street at 1536 S. Main St. The construction of this 
building was completed in 1991 ("St. Elizabeth's through the years"). 



Anderson- 13 

Spencer Anderson III remembers watching the building being constructed in the 
early 1990s. He says "When my dad used to coach baseball for the St. Elizabeth's Center 
they used to have baseball practice at South Park which is located directly behind the new 
building. When I used to go with my dad to his practices, the thing I remember the most 
about the construction of the new building was during construction there was a huge 
mountain of dirt in the park. This mountain of dirt was large, and covered with giant 
weeds that had huge leaves on them, and they covered the entire pile like the canopy of a 
rain forest." He also goes on to say that "the mountain of dirt is the lasting memory of 
his first experience with the community center, but it was far from his last." 

Nearly 750 years after the death of St. Elizabeth of Hungry her purpose and 
devotion to provide for the needy is still alive and strong within the walls of the St. 
Elizabeth's Center. The center has been serving Rockford for nearly 100 years and it has 
never once changed its purpose. The St. Elizabeth's Center has been able to impact 
people's lives and leave a lasting memory on them because of its purpose. If not for the 
devotion of the volunteer workers' love for life, the center's purpose would no longer be. 



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Social Center at 1505 S. Main SI. Not center, bnliv clinic and clothing and toy store 




Register Republic 
14 April 1966 






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21 December 1967 



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Rockford Register Star 
23 July 1989 




The playground at St. Elizabeth Social Center will soon disappear 
... a new addition to the building is set to go up in about a month 



Before late 1970s edition 
Rockford Register Star 
18 May 1975 



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Illistration of newest building at 1536 S. Main St. 
Fred Hutcherson Ill/Register Star. 
19 October 1989 



Works Cited 

Anderson, Matthew. Personal Interview, 22 April 2002. 

Anderson Jr., Spencer. Personal Interview, July 2000. 

"Catholic Women's League to Buy House for St. Elizabeth." Rockford Register Republic 

2 October 1945. Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"Center Has High Hopes for New Program." Rockford Register Star 13 November 1997. 

Rockfordianna Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"Center Offers Care for Children." Register Republic 2 November 1966. Rockfordianna 

Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"Center Offers Inner Beauty." Rockford Register Star 19 October 1995. Rockfordianna 

Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"Community Center To Start Building." Rockford Register Republic 10 November 1967. 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"Crisis Looms Here as Social Center Closes." Rockford Daily Republic 23 July 1935. 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"C.W.L. Builds Addition for St. Elizabeth." Rockford Daily Republic 31 December 

1926. Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
Depew, George. Sinnissippi Saga: A History of Rockford and Winnebago County, 

Illinois. "The Growth of Religion." Rockford, Illinois: Winnebago County 

Illinois Sesquicentennial Committee, 1968. 
"Great Work of St. Elizabeth's." Rockford Daily Republic 17 January 1916. 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 



"Housing Authority to Seek Funds for St. Elizabeth's." Rockford Register Republic. 20 

May 1966. Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"Immigration to 1965." History Channel.com. 1991 
Las Casas, Vincent A. Non Dimenticare Italian Immigration To Rockford 1878-1998. 

Courier Printing and Lithography, Inc. Rockford Illinois. 1998. 
Nelson, Hal C. and Isy, editors. We, the people ...of Winnebago county. Winnebago 

County Bicentennial Commission. 1975. 
"Old Convent Crumbles to Ground." Rockford Register Republic. 21 December 1967. 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
Rockford City Directories 1887-1916 
"Social Center, Beginning its 35 Year, Acquires An All-Out Booster." Rockford 

Register Republic. 22 September 1946. Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public 

Library. 
"Social Center Marks 50 th Jubilee. " Star Republic 8 October 1961. Rockfordiamia 

Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"Social Center Opens Doors to Children." (no name of paper or date). 

Rockfordiamia Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"St. Elizabeth's Attended by 45,500 during the Year." Rockford Daily Republic 

December 1925. Rocfordiana Files, Rockford public Library. 
"St. Elizabeth Center to Dedicate Statue." Observer 18 October 1996. Rockfordiamia 
"St. Elizabeth's Center Has Grown By Leaps and Bounds." Rockford Register Republic 
10 October 1946. Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 

Files, Rockford Public Library. 



"St. Elizabeth's New Building is Dedicated." Rockford Daily Republic 

December 1927. Rockfordiana Files, Rockford public Library. 
"St. Elizabeth's Center Open House Set." Register Republic 17 January 1967. 

Rockfordianna Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"St. Elizabeth's Serves Many People." Rockford Register Republic 14 April 1966. 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"St. Elizabeth's Social Center has Busy Year." Rockford Daily Republic 12 January 

1916. Rocfordiana Riles, Rockford Public Library. 
"St. Elizabeth's Social Center in Big Work." Rockford Daily Republic 17 January 1916. 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"St. Elizabeth's Social Center Shows Results." Rockford Daily Republic 1 January 1915. 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 

"St. Elizabeth's Through the Years." Rockford Register Star 19 October 1995. 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"Success of St. Elizabeth's Credited to Selfless Toil." (no name or date). Rockfordianna 

Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"West-Side Center Marks 85 th Year." Rockford Register Star 9 May 1996. 

Rockfordianna Files, Rockford Public Library. 
Williams, Charlie. Personal Interview. 18 April 2002. 



St. Paul Church of God in Christ 

Pressing Toward The Mark 
By 

Karen R. Allen 

English 101, Section RRM 

Professor Scott Fisher 

2 May, 2002 







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St. Paul Church of God in Christ Pressing Toward the Mark 

"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" 
(Philippians 3:14, Holy Bible). The St. Paul Church of God in Christ is one of the largest 
black organizations in southwest Rockford, Illinois. The church is designed for multi- 
purposes: personal growth, emotional growth, financial growth, and, most importantly, 
spiritual growth. The church is only 15 years old and is steadily growing to accommodate 
the community's various needs. In addition, there are over 30 operating ministries. 
Although this church may not be for everyone, it has a lot to offer to the community. St. 
Paul Church of God in Christ's primary goal is to prepare God's people for the kingdom. 
In 1928, the late Elder Earl Sisford and wife came to Rockford and held a gospel 
tent meeting on Knowlton Street; meanwhile, souls were saved and added to the 
Kingdom of God (Farrar, A Vision ). 

One year later, the church was officially organized bearing the name of the 
Church of God in Christ under the leadership of the Elder Earl Sisford. Services were 
held in the Pastor's home at 214 Knowlton Street, Rockford, Illinois (Farrar, A Vision ). 

As a result, Elder Wade followed Elder Earl Sisford as pastor in the mid 1930s 
until 1938. The church was without a pastor for nearly a year (Farrar, A Vision ). 

Before Bishop W. M. Roberts made the appointment. Missionary Affie Jackson 
prophesied to Elder Leonard Spates of Beloit, Wisconsin that he would become the next 
pastor of Rockford Church of God in Christ. Later, in October of 1939, he moved to 
Rockford and accepted the pastorage of the church (Farrar, A Vision ). 

Once Elder L. Spates established the building fund, he later purchased a lot at 
Rose and Harding Streets for $500. He resigned as pastor in September of 1942, having 



Allen-2 

paid for the lot and turning the deed over to Chairman Deacon Ivory Spates (Farrar, A 
Vision ). 

After Elder Leonard Spates' resignation, he recommended Elder Latamore 
Pearson, his assistant pastor, to assume pastorship. He served as acting pastor from 
October 1942 until January 1943. Elder Latamore Pearson was officially installed as 
pastor in January of 1943. He served as pastor until February of 1945. While he was the 
pastor, he purchased a building at 209 Morgan Street for $1000 (Farrar, A Vision ). 

From February 1 1, 1945 until January 1946, Elder Russell Monstella served as 
pastor until his death. Under his leadership the building at 209 Morgan Street was sold in 
preparation for the building on the Rose and Harding property. During his assignment, 
services were held from house to house (Farrar, A Vision ). 

Then in 1945, Elder Russell Monstella named the church St. Paul Church of God 
in Christ (Farrar, A Vision ). 

However, in 1945, ground breaking took place and the Gilmore Excavating 
Company completed the first unit of the foundation of the new church. J.L. White 
Company was the building contractor for the church (Farrar, A Vision ) 

Chairman Deacon Ivory Spates led the finance committee. Two members. Deacon 
Wesley Gates and Mother Frances Davis secured a loan of $4000 to pay for the 
completion of the first unit. Afterward,each member pledged to pay $3.00 monthly 
towards the mortgage (Farrar, A Vision ). 

Later Bishop W. M. Robert appointed Elder Freeman Guy Green as pastor in 
1946. Elder Green and members contributed the majority of the labor towards 
accomplishing the project (Farrar, A Vision ). 



Allen-3 

The first service in the new building was held the second Sunday in September of 
1946. The first funeral was that of Sister Annie Storms on October 6, 1946. She was the 
mother of our present Deacon Larnell Malone. Who would imagine 30 years later, the 
wife of Deacon Larnell Malone, Lucy Malone, was the last funeral held at the Rose and 
Harding Street St. Paul Church of God in Christ? The funeral was held on December 2 1 , 
1 986 (Farrar, A Vision ). 

After the membership grew from 1 7 to nearly 200, the church became debt free 
and financially solvent under Elder Green's leadership. Elder Freeman Guy Green was 
appointed Bishop of Fifth Illinois in 1 966 (Farrar, A Vision ). 

In July of 1981 , Bishop F.G. Green resigned as pastor, and he passed the mantel 
on to Elder James Washington, his assistant, a young, faithful man, "With a Vision" 
(Farrar, A Vision ). 

During Reaganomics time in 1 982, the economy was down and unemployment 
was on the increase, the Lord gave Pastor Washington a VISION to build a new worship 
center. He adopted the scriptures, "For my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" 
Hosea 4:6 as a key motivator (Holy Bible). 

When the Lord gave Pastor Washington the vision, he reluctantly presented the 
vision to the congregation because of the national recession. He gained enough support 
from the congregation; therefore, he proceeded to move forward with the plans for the 
new building (Washington). 

The primary part of the Pastor Washington's vision was to have a facility large 
enough to educate and to train the members and others about God's Word. He has gone 
to great length and expense to bring in key speakers from around the country to teach and 



Allen-4 

preach about various topics and various issues according to the needs. Our National 
Bishop, Gilbert Earl Patterson, from Memphis, Tennessee, has provided information 
regarding leadership and television and radio ministries. Meanwhile, he helped raise 
funds to repair an historical temple in Chicago, Illinois. In addition, one of Bishop's First 
Administrative Assistants, Bishop Charles Blake, from Los Angeles, California has 
assisted in the Annual Fall Fellowship Convention (Washington). 

Secondly, he dreamed of having a school where children could get a quality 
Christian education. He believed it was important to help black people understand that 
they are not second-class citizens. Pastor Washington's determination to build the school 
was also inspired by a story which he frequently tells: Pastor Washington once attended a 
school play and the African American children were depicted as janitors and maids and 
other children holding white collar and professional jobs. As a result of his VISION, 
Pastor Washington founded the St. Paul Academy, with classes held in the classrooms of 
the church. The school began with grades Pre-K3 and Pre-K4. Presently, the school 
educates students from Pre-school through Grade Eight. Ten years later, a school was 
built adjacent to the church (Farrar, Celebrating ). 

In September of 1982, five and one-half acres of land was purchased for $120,000 
on Wigton Avenue and was paid in full within three months. Another three months 
passed, and they raised an additional $40, 000 for the blueprints. The land and the 
blueprints were funded by tithes, offerings, and pledges from the members. 

Although Pastor Washington did not have 1 00% cooperation from the 
congregation, he was faced with a more serious issue when he tried to secure a bank loan. 
Many of the members were laid off at the time the pastor presented the VISION to the 



Allen-5 

congregation, and they felt as if they would not be able to contribute financially. As a 
result, St. Paul had gained a good raport and established good credit with Illinois National 
Bank more than 30 years, but the bank did not want to grant Pastor Washington a loan 
because of the location. The bank considered building a worship center of this caliber as a 
bad investment. Pastor Washington stated, "I am disappointed." His first instinct was to 
get the NAACP involved, but after much fasting and praying, The Holy Spirit directed 
him not to go that way (Washington). 

Then he returned to the congregation to raise more funds for the down payment 
and once thought not to deal with that particular bank anymore. Again, Pastor 
Washington said, "The Holy Spirit told him not to go that way." Elder Washington and 
members raised thousands of dollars to put toward the down payment, but he still thought 
that they might not give him the loan. After he returned to the bank with the loan 
payment, they welcomed him with open arms. Pastor Washington stated the scripture, 
"The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water; he turneth it 
whithersoever he will," came to his mind (Proverbs 21:1, Holy Bible). The down 
payment was raised through tithes, offerings, and pledges to the building fund by 
members (Washington). 

When this writer asked Pastor Washington what were some conflicts with the 
project, he said the main conflict was with the water rights. The main water line ran 
through where the sanctuary would be located. City Hall had no documentation of this on 
record; therefore, they wanted the building to be moved. It was going to take an 
enormous amount of cash to move the building. Pastor Washington said, "No." He 
contacted Alderman Victor Bell, Alderman John Devereueawax, and Major Charles Box. 



Allen-6 

These gentlemen went to battle for him and got the issue resolved. The city had to run the 
water system around the building (Washington). 

Another issue was with the contractor. E.W. Spain was the primary contractor for 
the building, but was later fired because of roofing and electrical issues. The quality of 
the work on the building was extremely poor (Washington). 

Pastor Washington hired an attorney to get E.W. Spain off the job. Later, E.W. 
Spain filed bankruptcy; therefore, St. Paul was unable to retrieve necessary materials for 
the project and was unable to file suit for poor work. Consequently, sub-contractors were 
hired to complete the jobs (Washington). 

By March 14, 1987, the Fellowship Hall was completed and a Victory March was 
held with the pastor and members walking from the old church at 1502 Rose Avenue to 
new church, a place where they once had to used coal heaters to heat the facility in the 
winter months and sat on hard, poor, wooden chairs. It was a place where they later 
purchased pews with cushioned seats and purchased central heat and air conditioning 
units. It was a place where on Sunday mornings, the deacons had to place steel folding 
chairs down the center aisle because the pews were not large enough to accommodate the 
Sunday crowd. It was a place where there were no classrooms available at all (Malone). 
The first services took place in the Fellowship Hall. James C. Austin, First 
Administrative Assistant, from Chicago, Illinois preached at this service (Farrar, A 
Vision ). 

Consequently, the entire building complex was dedicated September 1 4, through 
20, 1987. The late Bishop Bennie E. Goodwin, Presiding Prelate of the Fifth Jurisdiction 



Allen-7 

of Illinois officiated at the formal dedication ceremony on September 20, 1 987 (Farrar, A 
Vision ). 

Now, the exterior of the church is a sprawling two-story building located on three 
acres of land in the southwest quadrant of Rockford. The church is red brick with a 
stucco facade. A tall metal cross sits on gray brick rising above the second story. 

Again, the new facility has a sanctuary which seats 650 people, a chapel which 
seats 120, an education wing with eight classrooms, and multiple staff offices which 
house community services programs. In addition, the worship center has a fellowship 
hall, which serves as a 200-seat dining area and fully operational nursery located across 
from the James Eddie Washington Fellowship Hall. In addition, the parking lot was 
designed to host conferences, conventions and other programs to fulfill the Pastor's 
VISION to educate and train God's people (Farrar, Celebrating ). 

Another part of the Pastor Washington's vision is to construct an affordable senior 
citizen housing complex which will be opened to all age-qualified persons in the 
community. This facility will have other accommodations to enhance the community: 
healthcare, beauty care, financial/estate planning, counseling, and shopping areas 
(Washington). 

Also, another part of the vision will be to provide housing for abused women and 
drug-addicted women. There are women in the church and in the community that have 
came from similar situations that find themselves going back to the same environment 
because they do not have a decent place to live. St. Paul's goal is to furnished clients with 
a healthy and clean place to live and to become independent. This part of the vision is not 
included in the senior citizen housing complex (Washington). 



Allen-8 

Finally, the writer recalled being introduced to St. Paul in the summer of 1983 
during a weekend shut-in. Although she had no desire to dedicate her life to Christ, God's 
Word found her and she felt compelled to give her life to Christ. Later, the writer left 
Rockford to return to Mississippi to go to complete school, but one-and-a-half years later 
she returned to make St. Paul Church of God in Christ her place of worship. The writer 
recalled having personal experiences with several of the ministries: Missionary 
Department, Single Ministry, Young Women's Christian Council, Nurses, Pulpit Aids, 
and Hospitality. In addition, these ministries have helped in her daily living. 

In conclusion, St. Paul Church of God in Christ is pressing toward the mark to 
meet the standards of Holy Living. This church has grown from a tent, to homes of the 
members, to a medium size church, and now to a million-dollar worship center. This 
church has encountered many obstacles, but still striving to meet the needs both 
spiritually and naturally. This church has witnessed several great leaders throughout the 
years, but Pastor Washington is the man with the VISION for this church at this 
appointed time. His ultimate goal is to prepare God's people for the kingdom. 



Works Sited 
"Church is Pastor's Jewel" Rockfordiana Files/Rockford Public Library, Rockford 

Register Star . Date unavailable. 
Farrar, Rosie Le etal. A Vision Made Possible 1987. 
Farrar, Rosie Le etal. Celebrating 72 Years of History In The Making September 29, 

2000. 
Malone, Larnell. Personal Interview. St. Paul Church of God in Christ, March 24, 2002. 
Nelson, Thomas. Holy Bible, King James Version, 1972. 
Church Drawings. Rockford, Illinois. Drawing by Johnnie Pullins. 2000. 
St. Paul Church of God in Christ. Front view. Photo by Frank Sanders^ 2000. 
Old St. Paul Church of God in Christ. Front entrance. Photographer unknown. Acquired 

From St. Paul Church of God in Christ Archives. Date of photo unknown. 
St. Paul Academy: Rockford, Illinois. Photographer unknown. Date unknown. 
Washington, James. Personal Interview. St. Paul Church of God in Christ, March 23, 

2002. 
Washington, James. Personal Interview. St. Paul Church of God in Christ, April 2, 2002. 



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E. W. Schmeling: The Man, The Business, The Legacy 




Debra Genovese 
Spring Semester 2002 

English 101 
Rock Valley College 



Debra Genovese 
English 101 DX 
Scott Fisher 
14 May 2002 

E. W. Schmeling: The Man, The Business, The Legacy 

Schmeling Building Supply is a third generation business that has grown from a young 
immigrant'' s ambitions. 

Emil W. Schmeling was born in Germany in 1 869. His father was a farmer, but not much 
else was written about him. When E.W. was 17 years old, he immigrated to the United States 
with his older brother (Schmeling, Elsa. Personal interview; Schmeling, Judi. Personal 
interview). 

After arriving in Wisconsin, he made several moves in Illinois, to Freeport, Argyle, and 
finally to Rockford. While in Argyle, he farmed for three years, and became a carpenter's 
apprentice. To be tutored in arithmetic, he walked twenty miles round-trip to Rockford twice a 
week (Rockford Building News). 

To show patriotism toward his new home in America, he enlisted in the Illinois National 
Guard in 1894 for a term of three years. His service was completed and he was discharged six 
months before the Spanish- American War of 1 898 (see Appendix-Illinois National Guard 
Enlistment Record; Private E.W. Schmeling. Photo). 

In 1903, several local events were highlighted in the Rockford newspaper: "President 
Theodore Roosevelt rode a horse-drawn carriage to the dedication of Memorial Hall in 
Rockford'\ and "Rockford Public Library Opened on Wyman Street" (Rockford Morning Star 
Centennial Edition). As great things happened in 1903 for Rockford. E.W. Schmeling started 
business as a general contractor and builder. His first shop was probably built in the alley of 



Genovese - 2 
Irving Avenue, east of the current address of 1 19 Irving, and just a half of a block north of West 
State Street. It was a two-story, frame structure, with an advertising sign painted on the side 
(see Appendix- 1903 Business. Photo). 

With religion as a guiding force, his Christian convictions were shown through his 
business and as a leader of St. Paul's Lutheran Church. In 1905, as a contractor, he partnered 
with A.G. Broitzmann to build St. Paul's at their current site of Horsman and Locust Streets (see 
Appendix-St. Paul. Photo). Opposed to the theory of a self-made man, he preferred to give God 
the credit for his success ("Emil W. Schmeling"). 

In 1909, E.W. formed a partnership with A.G. Broitzmann, and the business was called 
Schmeling and Broitzmann — Carpenters and General Contractors (Rockford City Directory 
1909). A two-story, dark red brick building was constructed at 1 19 Irving Avenue and this was 
where business was conducted. This building had a sign on the front and on the rooftop, facing 
south (see Appendix- 1909 Schmeling and Broitzmann. Photo). The decorative brickwork 
bordering the flat roof was an example of E.W. 's skills. The lintels, thresholds, and windowsills 
were made of stone. This building's first floor was built about four feet above street level. 
Exterior doors at the second-floor level were most likely used for access to store lumber and 
supplies (Schmeling, John. Personal interview; Schmeling, Martin. Personal interview; 
Schmeling, Roger. Personal interview). Since E.W. was always planning ahead, he probably 
designed the building so it could be converted into an apartment house (Schmeling. Roger. 
Personal interview). 

In 1910, the business was growing and the 1 19 Irving address was used as an office and 
mill shop (see Appendix- 1909 Schmeling &Broitzmann. Photo). The Yard (storage for lumber. 



Genovese - 3 
coal, roofing, and other bulky products) was located on Elm Street near the Chicago, Milwaukee, 
and St. Paul (C.M.& St. P.) railroad tracks {Rockord City Directory 1910). The contracting 
business certainly had begun to develop. Contracts for St. Paul's Lutheran Church on Horsman 
Street and John Barnes Hall (dormitory) for Rockford College (on the old campus at College 
Avenue and Seminary Streets) were among their early accomplishments ("Builder..."; "E.W. 
Schmeling"; Turpoff 191-232). 

"E.W. had a firm grip on everything," said Roger Schmeling, E.W.'s grandson. 
Evidence of that was found printed on an old time card: "Profane Language, Smoking, and 
Conversation other than pertaining to work is strictly forbidden. Disobedience to this means 
discharge without notice. This means you." (see Appendix-Time card). "E.W. was a quiet, but 
stern man. When he gave you directions, there was no question as to what you were going to do. 
He was always fair, always a good Christian, but he was firm. Everyone understood the 
rules"( Schmeling, Roger. Personal interview). 

By 1912, the business had spread to a Yard located at 1012 West State Street (Rockford 
City Directory 1912). This Yard was just north of the Elm Street location, within the same 
block. Most likely both Yard locations (Elm Street and State Street) were used at the same time. 
The mill shop and the office were still at 1 19 Irving Avenue. Several lumberyards, fuel 
suppliers, and builders were located within a block of each other (Sanborn...). This was an ideal 
location because the C.M.& St. P. served Rockford in that area. Not only had E.W. Schmeling" s 
business expanded, but his family had too. He was then a father to five sons and two daughters 
(Schmeling, Elsa. Personal interview; Schmeling, Judi. Personal interview). 



Genovese - 4 

The influenza epidemic of 1918 was hard on families and businesses alike. "In 
September, over eight thousand in [the city of] Rockford became ill, with the final death toll of 
323. The tragedy was much worse in the close quarters of Camp Grant, 1400 soldiers died in the 
camp" (Kellog 515; Snyder 64). "By October, all schools, churches, theaters, and public places 
were closed" [until November 1 1, Armistice Day] ("Epidemic"). E.W.'s family had luckily 
escaped grip of the flu, but many families were not as fortunate (Schmeling, Elsa. Telephone 
interview). 

With the population of Rockford rapidly growing in the 1 920s {Rockford City Directory 
1925), E.W.'s business did too. People needed the building supplies and fuel that he sold for 
their homes. Expansion of the business was necessary once again. 

In 1925, E.W. had a business plan to include his five sons. The partnership with 
Broitzmann was dissolved and E.W. Schmeling and Sons was incorporated. Exciting changes 
were taking place for E.W. He had a piece of land at 103 1 School Street where he decided to 
expand his lumber, fuel and contractor business (Schmeling, Elsa. Personal interview). This new 
location was three blocks north of the previous one on State Street, and still remained alongside 
of the rail tracks. The north tributary of Kent Creek bordered the property to the east. It was a 
large plot of land, more than five acres in size and the scenery was idyllic. Cows, a creek, an 
orchard, vegetable and flower gardens were all part of the pastoral landscape (Huntley). Cows 
were kept there to graze during the day, and then they would be walked home to 129 Irving at 
night to milk. 

At this new location of 1031 School Street, a large, two-and-a-half story main warehouse 
was built to his specifications (see Appendix-Rockford Building Dept. Building Permits). 



Genovese - 5 
Access to the railroad was crucial for delivery of lumber, coal and other construction products. 
A private bridge was constructed crossing Kent Creek to the east, connecting E.W.'s large parcel 
of land to the C.M.& St. P. Railroad (Molyneaux. Telephone interview). A spur rail line from 
the bridge to the inside of the main warehouse was built (Sanborn...). With railroad access 
(Rockford City Directory 1926), and tracks flowing to the inside of the main warehouse, lumber 
was easily unloaded directly into the warehouse from the freight cars and coal was unloaded 
outside at the coal bins (Schmeling, Martin. Personal interview). 

To put things into perspective, the population of Rockford in 1900 was 31,051 and more 
than doubled in 1920 to 65,651; and in the following ten years it increased to 85, 828 (Snyder 
66). The Rockford Directory of 1926, claims "Rockford was also known as a home owning 
city." From that statement, it could mean the majority population of Rockford was made up of 
people who owned their own homes as opposed to renting them (Molyneaux. Telephone 
interview). In 1926, the office, previously located at 1 19 Irving Avenue, joined the Yard on 
School Street. By August of 1930, six building permits had been issued, with lumber and coal 
sheds sprouting on the more than five acres of land (see Appendix-Rockford Building Dept. 
Permits; Winnebago...). While business seemingly was going well, the unexpected happened — 
The Great Depression hit. In 1932, only eleven homes were built in the City. Six homes were 
built in 1933, and only two in 1934 (Snyder 67). For a business so in tuned to a growing 
population and building supplies, these figures were hard to swallow. 

During the Depression, times were tough, and all family members who worked for E.W. 
had to take a cut in wages (Dwyer. Personal interview). Schmeling and Sons survived by 
diversification. It was the coal business that kept them going. Even though people could not 



Genovese - 6 
afford luxuries, heating their homes was a necessity (Schmeling, John. Personal interview). At 
that time coal was selling for $4.25 a ton at the Yard, and $5.00 a ton, delivered to homes 
(Kiesling. Personal interview; see Appendix-Coal Sign from the 1930s. Photo). During an 
average winter, a good-sized home would consume about ten tons of coal (Dwyer. Personal 
interview). The average weekly wage was between $7.00 and $15.00 a week if one had a job 
{Modern America 124). One significant change for this writer, was the demise of coal. An 
interview with Dennis Dwyer. who used to work for E. W. Schmeling and Sons, and for Pure Ice 
and Fuel in the 1930s and 1940s gave good insight to what it was like in the coal business: 

Coal came in different forms, chunk coal, briquettes, stokers, and coke. Chunk 
coal was the dirtiest, it would have to be wet down with water. We delivered coal 
to homes, through the coal chute to the basement coal bin. If it wasn't wet down, 
dust would fill the customers' homes. We always would wet it down. Some 
customers could afford coke, a heated, coal by-product, that was much more 
energy efficient and cleaner. Stoker coal was ground up into small pieces about 
an inch in size. That type of coal was used by people who had a stoker furnace. 
A stoker was an automatic auger that fed the furnace by use of an electric motor. 
There was still a lot of work involved in burning coal, even if you had a stoker. 
Ashes and clinkers had to be shoveled out, and disposed of. 
Shortly thereafter. World War II broke out, and Rockford went through a war-related, 
industrial boom. E.W. Schmeling and Sons was chosen as the contractor for W.F. and John 
Barnes. In 120 days, an ordinance plant on North Main Street (currently Essex Wire) was built 
to produce armor-piercing shells. E.W. Schmeling and Sons was on 24-hour-a-day notice, and 



Genovese - 7 
someone from the firm was at the construction site the whole time. The US Government was 
worried about espionage and passwords were used during construction (Turpoffl 9 1 +). Rockford 
was a prime bombing target during the war because other local industries made war related 
items, too. Sundstrand made hydraulic transmissions for warplanes, J.L. Case made bomber 
wings, and Rockford Drop Forge Company hammered out gun, tank and truck parts. National 
Lock manufactured fasteners and ammunition boxes and the Roper Corporation made 
ammunition for the war effort (Monahan 1 54). 

In 1946, once again, E.W. Schmeling and Sons was called upon for a large construction 
project to be a log lodge, built for the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA or Y). A 
large fundraiser was conducted in 1943 to build a complex of structures at the current site of the 
Y near North Second Street. 'The campaign was held to make all of its programs available to 
returning members of the armed forces during their difficult re-adjustment to civilian life."' 
("YMCA...") " Federal approval was necessary to construct the Log Lodge, which stipulated 
that no critical materials [steel, aluminum, copper etc.] would be used." ("Plan...") 

Federal approval was granted (after the war) and E.W. Schmeling and Sons got the 
contract to build a Log Lodge on February 2, 1946 ("Contract..."). E.W. and the architect drove 
to Wisconsin to find just the right type, number and size of logs to be used in the construction. 
They had to go as far north as the Nicolet National Forest in Oneida County, which is in the 
northern part of Wisconsin near Eagle River. While there, native experienced loggers were 
hired. Once the logs were cut, they were loaded onto seven flatbed rail cars and shipped to 
Rockford by train. Six or seven of the loggers traveled to Rockford to help teach E.W.'s 
carpenters how to assemble and fit the logs together ("The Building. . ."). The Log Lodge was 



Genovese - 8 
completed in April of 1947 ("Open House... "). It was a large 80x1 00-foot structure; with a large 
room 30x50 feet, and fireplaces on opposing sides. Adjoining this large room were four smaller 
rooms with two on each side ("Contract. . ."). Equipped with kitchen facilities, it was mostly 
used for youth gatherings and rented out for receptions and parties (Schmeling, Roger. Personal 
interview). It was a solid building and remains as a testament today. 

Back at 1031 School Street, a beautiful rose garden scent greeted customers who stopped 
by the Yard. It was enjoyed by anyone who loved roses as much as E.W. did. The garden was 
about 20x50 feet long, next to the sidewalk on School Street (Rockford Building Dept.). Dennis 
Dwyer said, 'That's when I [Dennis] was going with Rosabel [one of E.W. daughters], we would 
spend a lot of time there." A white picket fence surrounded the garden. Trellised-archways 
beckoned guests into the rose garden. Inside were all kinds of roses and trellises that were filled 
with climbing roses. Benches were available inside to provide a place to sit and enjoy them 
(Dwyer. Personal interview; see Appendix-Rose garden. Photos). 

A setback to the business occurred when Kent Creek flooded. After 11.11 inches of rain 
that fell within a 36 hour period on July 18 th and 19 th 1952, a 50-block area in the northwest part 
of Rockford was flooded (Hunt). "It was a mess," stated Elsa Schmeling, [wife of E.W. "s son. 
Robert] "I went down the basement under the office where E.W. had kept some of his things 
from Germany, but I couldn't save any of it. It was all ruined." A lot of things such as screen 
windows, cement, and lime were ruined (Schmeling, Roger. Personal interview). The 
neighborhood park, Fairgrounds Park, just two blocks away, was turned into a miniature lake 
(Hunt; see Appendix-Fairgrounds Park Flood. Photo). A high water mark was recorded on the 
southwest side of Schmeling's main building (see Appendix-High Water Mark. Photo). This 



Genovese - 9 
writer would speculate that at least six feet of water filled the basements of the main warehouse 
and water covered most of the Yard (see Appendix-Views of Flood ... Photos). After the flood 
was gone, small sections of Schmeling's property that were the banks of the Kent Creek were 
deeded to the City (Schmeling, Elsa. Personal interview). A major flood control project on the 
Creek was completed in 1984 (Hunt). 

As a business, nothing stood in the way of progress, not even E.W.'s rose garden. He had 
enjoyed it for over 25 years, and it had to be removed for the addition of a new building to house 
the mill shop (Schmeling, Elsa. Personal interview). The mill shop was built in 1953 on the west 
edge of the property (Rockford Building Dept.) It was a long, brick building (see Appendix-Mill 
shop. Photo). The new mill shop was constructed so lumber would not have to be trucked to the 
Irving Avenue mill shop (Schmeling, Roger. Telephone interview). All segments of E.W. 
Schmeling and Sons were then located at the School Street address. The mill shop was mainly 
run by E.W/s sons, William, who was the oldest and Albert (Schmeling, Martin. Personal 
interview). Albert passed away in 1961 ("Albert...). His son, Ron, took his place at the mill, 
with William (Schmeling, Judi. Telephone interview). 

E.W. died in 1962, and was able to see that his business was being passed to the next 
generations (Schmeling, John. Personal interview). 

The construction division of E.W. Schmeling and Sons was led by E.W.'s middle son 
Elmer; he and his son Roger left to establish their own company known as Schmeling 
Construction. Their specialty was commercial, industrial, and institutional building. Within one 
year of establishing their new firm. Elmer died in 1970 (Schmeling. Roger. Personal interview). 



Genovese - 1 
For a time. Walter, E.W/s second son, helped run the Lumberyard with Robert, E.W.'s 
youngest son. Walter retired in the early 1960s (Schmeling, Martin. Personal interview). Robert 
kept busy at the Lumberyard well into the 1990s with the help of his two sons, Martin and John. 
In 1992, William, the oldest, died and two years later Robert, the youngest, died 
("Lumberyard... ";see Appendix-Schmeling Life Lines). While Ron was running the mill shop, 
another corporate split occurred. Sadly, within six months, the mill shop division with Ron's two 
sons, Kevin and Steve, was dissolved (Schmeling, Judi. Telephone interview). 

Since 1925, when the first building was erected on the School Street property, many 
buildings have changed. Additions were put on and about six structures were added (Huntley. 
Interview; see Appendix-Building Dept. Permits). On a tour of the property, this writer saw 
buildings made of various construction materials. For example, some were made of wood, brick, 
stucco and steel. Two of the new, steel, pole barn-style sheds were at least 60 feet long. The 
main warehouse was 75x150 feet long (Schmeling, John. Interview). Some of the sheds were 
open on one side so the lumber waiting to be chosen could be seen easily. One of the oldest 
buildings was badly weather-beaten with peeling paint. Several windows have been boarded up. 
due to remodeling changes and vandalism. The original front of the main warehouse and office 
looked like a Spanish motif with stucco plastering (see Appendix-Front of Schmeling's. Photo). 
A new, modern redwood siding, storefront was put up in 1988. Since John and Martin have 
become owners they would like to have the east-side of the main warehouse sided (Schmeling. 
John. Personal interview). 

This writer had personal experience with E.W. Schmeling and Sons in the late 1970s: 



Genovese - 1 1 
My husband and I had owned some newly acquired rental property in the 
neighborhood and it was in sad shape, windows broken, cabinets stolen, and to 
top it off, it had broken pipes because it had frozen. To get this property back into 
shape we first needed to fix the windows. Not only was the glass broken, but a 
window sash was missing as well. My husband removed the remaining sash from 
the double hung window, and we took the dimensions and the window frame to 
E.W. Schmeling and Sons. Happily, they were able to make a custom sash in the 
mill shop to fit perfectly. That was my first encounter with the Schmeling family 
business. (Genovese. Personal experience) 
The third generation of Schmeling sons have been at the helm since the 1 970s and was 
incorporated under the name of Schmeling Building Supply in 1993 (Schmeling, John. Personal 
interview; Schmeling, Martin. Personal interview). After long and sometimes difficult 
transitions, Martin and John Schmeling have continued the legacy that E.W. Schmeling created 
in 1903. 

Their products have changed along with their customer's needs. For example, they no 
longer sell coal, paint or cement products. Charley Kiesling, an employee, showed this writer a 
chalkboard sign that was used in 1966, which states that coal was $30 a ton. Modernization was 
taking place and the call for coal was not as strong, thus the coal products were discontinued. At 
the Yard coal storage bins sat empty and the coal scale to weigh the loaded trucks was removed 
(Kiesling. Personal interview; see Appendix-Chalkboard Coal Prices. Photo). 

When this writer asked how E. W. would want his business to be remembered, both John 
and Martin Schmeling said, "With treating the customer fairly, giving them a quality product and 



Genovese - 1 2 
service." Elsa Schmeling was asked the same question and she said, "Well, I hope it's 
remembered that they were honest people." 

Recently John and Martin have become owners of Schmeling Building Supply. This 
writer asked about their goal and plans for the future. "Plans for the future probably will include 
some changes in our product line and our focus." Instead, they have succeeded where the big 
box stores have not. "Schmeling' s have the best selection of trim in Rockford," Kiesling said. 
Schmeling Building Supply is now dealer for two window manufacturers and their products 
reflect the market they are now seeking. "We hope to focus on the contractor and remodeler and 
to pursue that market a little bit more. No one has a crystal ball that can accurately see the 
future, and many factors are beyond our control. Keeping this a family owned business in the 
near future is important. We have been slowly, starting up the millwork by doing some ripping, 
planing, and gluing. Some day we hope to be able to do more custom millwork like Schmeling* s 
used to do. By expanding slowly, and learning, we would like to almost double our sales figures 
in the next three to four years." (Schmeling, John. Telephone interview; Schmeling, Martin. 
Telephone interview). 

From E.W.'s modest start in the United States, to building his business, he has left his 
family a legacy. Rockford is lucky to have a business rich with history. Historic ties to 
landmarks in Rockford tell the story of the Schmeling family business. Citizens of Rockford 
should not ignore this third generation business as one of the very few, family owned businesses 
that have survived nearly one hundred years. The marquee outside Schmeling Building Supply 
had simply stated, "Do it once, Do it right. Do it with us." With those qualities, why should 
someone trade anyplace else? 



Appendix 

1. Illinois National Guard. Enlistment Record. 1 894. 

2. Private E. W. Schmeling. Photo. 1 897. 

3. 1903 Emil W. Schmeling business. Irving Alley. Photo. 

4. Time Card. Document. 

5. 1909 Schmeling and Broitzmann. 1 19 Irving Ave. Photo. 

6. St. Paul Lutheran Church. Photo. 

7. Rockford Building Dept. Building Permits. 

8. Coal Sign from 1930s. Photo. 

9. Fairgrounds Park Flood. 1952. Photo. 

10. High Water Mark. Photo. 

1 1 . Views of Flood at Schmeling' s. 3 Photos. 

12. Rose garden. Looking East. Photo. 

13. Rose garden. Looking West. Photo. 

14. Mill Shop built in 1 953. Photo. 

15. Schmeling Life Lines-E.W. and Sons. Graph. 

16. Front of Schmeling' s. Spanish Motif. Photo. 

17. Front of Schmeling' s. Redwood Siding. Photo. 

1 8. Chalkboard 1 966 Coal Prices. Photo. 



Illinois National Guard. Enlistment Record. 



Appendix- 1 






NAME: 



Schmeling, Emil W 



THIS CAPO IS THE ONLY RECORD 
FO« THIS INDIVIDUAL. 



ORGANIZATION: 



Co K 3rd Inf ILL NG 



DESCRIPTION 
Age24 ; Height, 5 ft. 6 in; Eyes, blue 
Hair, brown ; Complexion, fair 
Where Born: Germany- 
Occupation: carpenter 

ENLISTED 
When: 10-5-94- Where: Hockford 
By Whom: Capt Shand jr or torm of 3 years. 



(See Remarks on reverse side) 



Private E.W. Schmeling. 



Appendix-2 




Private E.W. Schmeling in 1897 

(2$ years a/age) 



Appendix-3 



1903 Emil W. Schmeling business. 



K\ ' ; ^ \\. | > %v 




- :' uSZL-^.-:... 



!hu.Mt^*&4Mto 



Time Card. 



Appendix-4 



Schmeling & Broitzmann 

General Contractors 

Dealers in Lumber -jnd Building Material 

Phone: Bell 2621; 
Yard: Elm Street. Near C. M. & St. Paul Tracks 
Office and Shop, 119 Irving Avenue 



TIME CARD 

i 



of 



welbk ending. 



■£k 



ZU 



.192/ 



Profane Language, -Smoking, and Conversation other than pertaining to work is strictly forbidden. 
Disobedience to this means discharge without notice. This means you. 




Name of Job or Person 



F iSKJ^ mount 



^<LA^f, i< 



1909 Schmeling and Broitzmann. 



Appendix-5 







,- *» ; 




?! ^ 



i» : ; i f-!,,-', l i ■■■ 




3 



St. Paul Lutheran Church 



Appendix-6 




Rockford Building Dept. Building Permits. Appendix-7 

Street & No.....iQ.?l.. School . 3t ._ Per W ^ r 4814A 

Owner ;?£il ..2chEelilT£ 

Contractor 

Architect _ 

1 -£-.*. r--,o "r*~ V - fro 
^,,„^ ^.u.„ s r....ii:-::~.£r£f£-... „. 

1 - Ibr. shed 
Remarks 



Date issued J&XilJL£ 192. 



Street & No. 1031 Schoo l St. Per No. 7892 k 

Owner . JLJL Schmeliag — 

Contractor 3amQ 

Architect - — 

Class of Work lumber abed . .. _ _ 



Remark 



s 



Date iMued J™ae_2?. - __-- —1927„ 






r f=^=W Schmelin^ 

aarae 

Jfeg fcH e ti 

C5***of Work jfx...3h.9.&.. .for., lumbar 



June..l 192.8 



Street & H»„..}^. *$&&.. ?**.• Per. NM&W* 

Owner l^W.SolUBtllMt 

Contractor 93018 

Architect 

Class of Work aM..t$..Xvunber...?ked 



Remarks 

Date Issued A.Ug..I9. 19.29.. 



Appendix-7 



Street & lfa...?:9§l ..?.^Of?i ..?*£• Per . s^ 42S4B 

Owner . ^iSLy vJ.Q.hael ing __ 

Contractor „..!**?» 

Architect 

Class of Work . &d,d . . 43.9.1 . .ft8 . . Qfc a.l . s tcr.agt. 



Remarks 

Date Issued ffpT ^*-_ , ® 



Street & No. . 1Q31 . S eho pi St p er< No> 4.565B 

Owner...5..W Schmel.lrig: 

Contractor 3.&01© 

Architect 

Class of Work cpal.ahad 



Remarks . . 
Date Issued. 



Aug. 21 ,9 -30 



Street & Nc.-lPSl .Sehqpl. .Str . Per.No.44D.dB. 

Owner .....?...i*.Schme.liDg. 

Contractor aarae- 

Architect 

Class of Work.... add.. .to-lumbe-r-a^ed 



Remarks 

Date Issued A^r...iLO 19.3.0. 



-* Sn*«fr&.No» 1Q 31 Sohool St ' PgrN^U77Jjj; 
CNetfer ^.^ BWSchmellng & S onSf i no 



CtsseofWork i . fy ft s t, fl p1 nnnl ntgn shftri )|/i/nx152 

<2000 

Lot Blk. Add. 

P**hwed J\me 17 , 194 1 



Appendix-7 



SSrtet A No. lQ^l Sohool St Per N^ gggg 

Owner g W S^haf 1 <n^ 



B W Scbaaliny | *flaa»Iaa 

A rchitect 

Pass of Work 66x60 one story * bast cono k brick 
add to present bldg for -ahse # 6500 

Eot BDl Add, 

Bste Issued Aug 29 194 5 



LocaTio^^ 1Q31 School St Per No.l56j£- B 

Owner £ W Schmeling & Sons : ^ 

Contractor same 

Architect 

Class of Work 12x$U add to Vf side of oiTice 

bric k & blo ck $7000 

Lot Blk. Add 



Date Issued Apr. 1 185 3 



Location - — '""' 1031 


School St.. 


FCfc^s£67i:G3 


Owner 


E W 


Schmeling 


-• Sons, 


Inc. 


Contractor 


same 






Architect 


Class of Work 


1 st 1x0x100 fr add to lumber shed 


#2000 


Lot Blk. 




Add 






Date Issued 






June 


23 195 h 






1 — 


~^» 





Coal Sign from 1930s. 



Appendix-8 




^*?>^ -~. :.- ,%»s=i 



Appendix-9 



Fairgrounds Park Flood. 




High Water Mark. 



Appendix- 10 




«- 



•SUHfe) 



Views of Flood at Schmeling's. 




Appendix- 





Rose warden. Lookirm East. 



Appendix- 1 2 




:/i Jx./: 



Rose garden. Looking West 



Appendix- 




1 



Mill Shop built in 1953 



Appendix- 14 




Schmeling Life Lines-E.W. and Sons. 



Appendix- 15 



a boo 

/<9?5 
I 9 90 

f9$5 

i9$Q 
i 915' 
I 910 

I9(c>$ 

195 6 
l <fso 
19 45 
19 *4P 

1930 
19X5 
i 72.6 
(915 
IH 10 

i la? 
\9oo 
lS?5 

/ 8 35 

/£7> 

r 

- «. 



C 



W 



»I99*/ 



i/?^ 



§/?77 



o 



/W 



|/W 



-Mx 



ma 



-Moi 



1907 



-IS17 



u: 

.4 



3 



c 



Front of Schmeling's. Spanish Motif. 



Appendix- 16 




^o*^ 



— : u_^ *^' : 



Front of Schmeling's. Redwood Siding. 



Appendix- 17 




Chalkboard 1966 Coal Prices. 



Appendix- 18 




a 




Works Cited 
1903 Emil W. Schmeling business. Photo. Irving Avenue, Rockford, Illinois. Schmeling, Elsa 

Photo album. Photographer unknown. Circa 1903. 
1909 Schmeling and Broitzmann. 119 Irving Ave. Rockford, Illlinois. Photo. Schmeling. Elsa 

Photo album. Photographer unknown. Circa 1909. 
''Albert G. Schmeling Dies; Building Firm Vice President. Rockford Star. 29 Mar. 1961. 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
Bruening, Jeff. Presentation. Rockford Public Library. Rockford, IL. 29 Jan. 2002. 
"Builder, Lay Leader Dies At Age of '94." Rockford Star. 10 Aug. 1960. 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"The Building of the Rockford YMCA Log Lodge." Typed document. Owned by Roger 

Schmeling. 
Chalkboard 1966 Coal Prices. Photo Schmeling Building Supply. Rockford. Illinois. Photo taken 

by Writer. Feb. 2002. 
City of Rockford Community Development Department. 2020Plan. Rockford. Illinois. Date 

unknown. 
City of Rockford Community Development Department Planning and Zoning Division. 

Rockford Zoning Ordinance 900.3(E)h. Rockford, Illinois. Mar. 2002. 
City of Rockford Community Development Department Planning and Zoning Division. 

Zoning Map of Rockford, Illinois. Map. Rockford, Illinois. Mar. 2002. 
City of Rockford Community Development Department Rockford Historic Commission. 

Landmark Criteria. Rockford. Illinois. Mar. 2002. 
Coal Sign from 1930s. From inside Schmeling's main warehouse. Photo by Writer. Feb. 2002. 



"Contract Let for First of "Y" Buildings." Rockford Star. 1 Feb. 1947. 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
Dwyer, Dennis. Personal interview. 1 5 Mar. 2002. 
"Emil W. Schmeling." Register Star. 8 June 1962. 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"Emil W. Schmeling Veteran Builder, Dies." Rockford Republican. 6 June 1962. 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"The Epidemic." Rockford Morning Star, Centennial Edition. 15 June 1952. 
Fairgrounds Park Flood. Looking South. Rockford, Illinois. Photo. Schmeling, Elsa. Photo album. 

Photographer unknown. 1952. 
Front of Schmeling's. Redwood siding. Rockford, Illinois. Photo taken by Writer. Feb. 2002. 
Front of Schmeling"' s. Spanish Motif. Rockford, Illinois Photo. Schmeling, Judi. Photo album. 

Photogragher unknown. Date unknown. 
Genovese, Debra. Personal experience. 1978- 2002. 

Gregory, Ross. Modern America 1914-1945. New York: Facts on File. 1995. 124. 
High Water Mark. Schmeling's on Southeast of Building. Rockford, Illinois. Photo taken by 

Writer. Feb. 2002. 
Hunt, Spencer. "Forty Years after the Flood." Register Star. 1942. 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
Huntley, Susan. City of Rockford Building Employee. Interpretation of microfilm. Mar.2002. 
Illinois National Guard and Militia Historical Society. Inc. 5 Oct. 1894 Enlistment Record of E. W 

Schmeling. State of Illinois Archives. Springfield. Illinois. 20 Mar. 2002. 



Illinois State Senate. Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Springfield, Illnois. 

Senate Bill 172. Public Act 503. 7-1-1996, 6-30-1998. 2. 
Kellog, Warren. "Chronological History". 503-536. 

Nelson, C. Hal, ed. Sinnissippi Saga: A History of Rockford and Winnebago County. 
Illinois. Rockford, Illinois: Winnebago County Illinois Sesquicentennial Committee, 
1968. 
Kiesling, 'Charley'. Employee-Sales and Purchasing. Personal interview. 1 Feb. 2002. 

5 Feb. 2002. 
Telephone interview. 10 Jan. 2002. 

12 Jan. 2002 
"Lumberyard Owner Carved Career and Life from Wood." Rockford Star. 8 Mar. 1991. 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
Mill Shop built in 1953. Schmeling Building Supply. Rockford, Illinois. Photo taken by Writer. 

Feb. 2002. 
Molyneaux, John. Local History Room. 13 Feb. 2002. 

21 Feb. 2002. 
27 Feb. 2002. 
19 Apr. 2002. 
Monahan, Robert. "Business and Industry". 136-159. 

Nelson, C. Hal, ed. Sinnissippi Saga: A History of Rockford and Winnebago County, 
Illinois. Rockford, Illinois: Winnebago County Illinois Sesquicentennial Committee. 
1968. 



"Open House on Riverfront." Morning Star. 13 Mar. 1947. 

Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"Plan Increased Play Facilities. " Rockford Register. 14 Oct. 1942. 

Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
Private E. W. Schmeling. Photo. Schmeling, Judi. Photo Album. Unknown photographer. 1 897. 
Rockford Building Department. Building Permits. 1031 School Street. Rockford, Illinois. 
Rockford Building Department. Site Plans for 1031 School Street. Rockford, Illinois. 
Rockford Building News. "E.W. Schmeling." Aug. 1949:1. 
Rockford City Directory. Rockford, Illinois. 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905. 
Rockford City Directory Rockford, Illinois. 1908, 1909, 1910, 191 1, 1912. 
Rockford City Directory Rockford, Illinois. 1914, 1918, 1924, 1925, 1926. 

"Rockford Streets also were jammed..." Rockford Morning Star, Centennial Edition. 15 June 1952.13. 
Rose garden. Schmeling' s looking East. Rockford, Illinois. Schmeling,Elsa. PhotoAlbum. 

Photographer unknown. Date unknown. 
Rose garden. Schmeling' s looking West. Rockford, Illinois. Schmeling, Elsa. Photo Album. 

Photographer unknown. Date unknown. 
St. Paul Lutheran Church. Rockford, Illinois. Photo by Writer. Feb. 2002. 
Sanborn Insurance Alias. Rockford, Illinois. Vol.1. 1928. 
Schmeling, Elsa. Family Scrapbook and photo album. 
Schmeling, Elsa. Personal interview. 15 Feb. 2002. 

18 Feb. 2002. 
20 Feb. 2002. 
Telephone interview. 17 Feb. 2002. 



Schmeling, John. Personal interview. 5 Feb. 2002. 

18 Feb. 2002. 
22 Mar. 2002. 
Telephone interview. 21 Apr. 2002. 
Schmeling, Judi. Family Scrapbook and Photo album. 
Schmeling, Judi. Personal interview. 15 Feb. 2002. 
Telephone interview. 22 Feb. 2002. 
27 Feb. 2002. 
Schmeling Life Lines E.W. Schmeling and Sons. Graph. Created by Writer. Mar. 2002. 
Schmeling, Martin. Personal interview. 1 Feb. 2002. 

18 Feb. 2002. 

22 Feb. 2002. 

22 Mar. 2002. 

Telephone interview. 22 Feb. 2002. 

Telephone interview. 21 Apr. 2002. 

Schmeling, Roger. Personal interview. 25 Feb. 2002. 

22 Mar. 2002. 
Snyder, William, J. "Birth of a City' 1 . 47-72. 

Nelson, C. Hal, ed. Sinnissippi Saga: A History of Rockford and Winnebago County, 
Illinois. Rockford, Illinois: Winnebago County Illinois Sesquicentennial Committee. 
1968. 
Time Card. Schmeling and Broitzman. Schmeling, Elsa. Scrapbook. Circa 1910. 



Turpoff, Glen. They, Too, Cast Shadow: A Tribute to the Builders of Northern Illinois. 

Northern Illinois Building Contractors Association, 1999. 
Views of Flood at Schmeling's. Three Photos. Rockford, Illinois. Schmeling, Elsa. Photo Album. 

Photographer unknown. 1952. 
Winnebago County Assessors Office. Winnebago Property Records. Rockford, Illinois. 

Mar. 2002. 
"YMCA sets $675,000 Goal for Building Fund." Rockford Register. 7 Apr. 1943. 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 



Excitement,Tranquility,and Inexplicable Perplexity 



Searles Memorial Park 



Michelle Peterson 

14, May 2002 

English 101 

Rock Valley 



^ 



Peterson 1 



Michelle Peterson 
English 101 RRM 
29 April 2002 



Excitement, Tranquility, and Inexplicable Perplexity 

Through wartime, a booming golf craze, floods, and an unforeseen rise in missing 
women, Searls Park still remains an exciting and tranquil park with a twist of 
inexplicable perplexity. 

The Searls homestead was located at 1633 Kilburn Avenue, which is now 
Christian Union Baptist Church. The homestead had been in the family for more than 
sixty years. The story of the Searls expedition to Rockford began in Cornwall, England. 
In 1850, John and his brother Walter both left Cornwall; John went to Canada, while 
Walter came to Winnebago County. Walter was a carpenter by trade and found 
employment when he arrived in Rockford. Soon, he gave up carpentry and took up 
farming. Walter was married to Ann and had four children: John F., William, Frank, and 
Annie (Wisniewski B3). 

Walter died in the early 1890s. Shortly before his death, his brother John came to 
Winnebago County, and became the head of the family when Walter died. John was also 
a carpenter by trade, but, like his brother, decided farming would be a more profitable 
career. John was married to Maria Wilcox in Beloit, Wisconsin in 1853 (Wisniewski 
B3). 

At first, John farmed a small farm alone; then, he bought two hundred thirty acres 
that he leased to tenant farmers. A large part of his income came from rent. John kept 
fifteen acres surrounding his home on Kilburn Avenue, which he farmed. Maria died 



Peterson 2 

before the couple had any children. John later died in 1911 at the age of seventy-six and 
left most of the property to Walter's son, John F. Searls (Wisniewski B3). 

John F. Searls, heir to the Searls estate, was married to Emily and farmed the land 
up until his death in 1929. John F. died before Emily could have a child. After John F.'s 
death, the land remained fallow (Wisniewski B3). 

In 1942, Emily J. Searls decided to donate a fourteen-acre tract of wooded land on 
Safford Road to the Rockford Park Board ("14 Acre Tract..."). Mrs. Searls donated the 
land in memory of her late husband John F. Searls and her late husband's uncle John. 
The land later came to be known as the Searls Memorial Park (Wisniewski B3). In 
making this generous donation, Mrs. Searls expressed the desire that it "be used for 
recreation by the children, particularly by children" ("14 Acre Tract to Park Board" 7 Oct 
1943). 

Meanwhile, Emily's health had been failing for several years. In the last week of 
November, she was admitted to Rockford Hospital, where she passed away on December 
1, 1944 at 5:00p.m. ("Emily Searls, Aged 79, Dies" 02 December 1944). 

Emily's will was revealed on December 7, 1944. Once again, Emily deeded the 
Park District her land. This time the Park District got a one-hundred-fifty-acre tract of 
beautiful woodland, located three-and-a-half miles northwest of Rockford ("Tract Is 
Given to Park Board" 8 December 1944). 

With the one-hundred- fifty acre tract given to the Park Board under the will of 
Mrs. Emily J. Searls, the number of, parks lying northwest of the city along the north 
branch of Kent Creek was increased to three - the Searls tract, the Colton Acreage, which 
was purchased by the Park Board a number of years ago, and the Page tract, abutting the 

'V- . I is'\ i '-)■ . ■ 

i 



^ 



Peterson 3 

Colton tract upstream. Both the Searls tract and the Page tract were wooded. ("Our Kent 
Creek Parks" 1944). 

What was taking shape was a chain of park tracts northwest of the city that, as 
each tract developed, formed the most attractive recreational area in the entire district and 
had an important role in shaping the development of the northwest section. Kent Creek is 
an integral part of all these tracts; it maintains the creek's flow in the most severe 
drought. Eventually, they were linked together presenting an opportunity for a strip park 
development that would be both beautiful and useful. Other cities have utilized stream 
sides to create park strips, with their drives and lagoons, their tree belts, and cycle and 
bridle paths are the envy of the less fortunate communities ("Our Kent Creek Parks" 
1944). 

Development of the Page Park tract, Colton Acreage, and the Searls Park were on 
the Rockford Park District's post-war agenda. The new park areas would make expanded 
recreational facilities available, and likewise serve to relieve possible post-war 
unemployment ("Plan Postwar Park Projects" 17 January 1945). The post-war plans 
were a proposal to build an airstrip to be included in the two hundred eight acre tract of 
land in Searls Park. The planning commission voted to offer their full cooperation to the 
board in arranging for an airstrip in the future park ("Offer Aid on Park Air Field" 15 
February 1945). 

There has been confusion as to the spelling of the name of Searls Park. The 
W.W. Hixson, Inc. says that the park's name should be spelled "Searles;" however, the 
Rockford Park District says that it is spelled Searls, without the "e" ("Spell it Searls 
Without 2 nd 'E'" 29 July 1964). 



Peterson 4 

A check of the deed to the land proved the Park District the winner of the spelling 
contest ("Spell it Searls Without 2 nd 'E'" 29 July 1964). The slight difference in the 
names, dropping the final "e," happened sometime after the family left England and 
settled in Rockford in the 1850s. One branch preferred the original spelling Searle, while 
the other dropped the final "e" (Wisniewski B3). 

In 1969, plans were made for constructing 8 Vi miles of bridle path through the 
Searls, Quarry Hill and Page Park complex, with hopes that the new service to horsemen 
would be ready by the spring of 1970. The bridle path would wind through 700 acres of 
park property, starting at the Kent Creek Bridge and ending in Anna Page Park. The trail 
moves eastward through Searls Park, west under Safford Road, through Quarry Hill, 
under Springfield Avenue, and into Anna Page Park (Pash E4). 

In 1970 contestants in a western pleasure class lined up for the judge during the 
first show in the new horsemen facility in Searls Park. The show ring and bridle paths 
through three parks were the first Rockford Park District facilities ever built especially 
for equestrian activities. The first show was sponsored by the Rock River Valley Horse 
and Pony Exhibitors Association ("Horsemen Initial New Facility" 24 May 1970). 

In 1971, the only completed work at Searls Park has been $81,821.17 in roads and 
parking lots done by the Rockford Blacktop Construction Company. A current revised 
plan for Searls Park showed - for $222,588 - one restroom complex, $30,767.44; two 
lighted softball diamonds, $50,000; one lighted baseball diamond; $60,000, and the 
$81,821.17 in roadwork. This eliminates the amphitheatre, three shelters, five tennis 
courts, and 400 picnic tables from the original plans for Searls. The list of other bond 
issue projects was a long one, affecting many neighbor parks (Yahn A1+). 



Peterson 5 

In 1973, several proposals to control the flooding problem in Kent Creek took 
place. Flooding of the Beverly Park area in west Rockford intensified interest in the 
flood control projects designed by the Army Corps of Engineers. The floods caused 
$40,000 to $50,000 in damages to the Rockford Park Facilities (Lucas A3). 

In 1975, the governor released $13,200 in state funds toward the purchase of the 
Searls Prairie, a natural prairie between Searls Park and the Amerock Corporation. The 
entire purchase was expected to cost $22,000 ("State Funds to Buy Park, Prairie Land"). 

In the 1970s, the sport of bicycle motor cross began in southern California. BMX 
tracks in Searls Park were constructed where the horse-shows in the 1970s took place. 
The sport of bicycle motor cross was sweeping the country and the world. There were 
over 150,000 riders of all ages racing in organized races at permanent tracks across 
America. m.- : .;,, 

To add to the excitement within Searls Park, marked snowmobile trails are linked 
up with the lengthy Northwest Territory Trail System to the Winnebago County Alliance 
Snowmobile trail. Across from Searls Park, Lockwood Park operated a warming center 
to snowmobilers (Lacknerll). 

In 1984, 66 acres of prairie within Searls Park were officially dedicated as a 
nature preserve, insuring that the rich beauty of the prairie would be preserved for future 
generations to enjoy. Protection was important because the prairie contained well over 
200 native species of plants and numerous animals. Some of Searls Park plants were on 
the state's endangered and threatened species list (Miller 8). 

Not far from the noise from the city, visitors can get a feeling of rest, 
peacefulness, and serenity. That feeling is also part of the beauty of the prairie. Searls 



..,'.,: li: 



Peterson 6 

Park prairie is a wet prairie. Illinois prairies range from dry, gravel soils that favor such 
plants as bluestem, needle grasses at sides to wet, marshy areas where Indian grass, 
switch glass, and wild rye are found (Morgan 2A). In the early 1960's, it was considered 
as a site for a third public golf course, but the course architect decided the land was too 
wet for that purpose (Wisniewski B3). 

In pre-settlement days, wild fires would periodically race across the prairies 
keeping them lush and free from trees. Sometimes, the fires were started by lightning; 
other fires were started by Native Americans to aid them in hunting. Today spring prairie 
fires are purposely started and kept under control, but accomplish the same result (Miller 
89). 

In 1987, a twist of inexplicable perplexity took place in Searls Park. On May 27, 
1987, Tammey Tracey, aged 19 years, disappeared without a trace. Tammey had the day 
off, went to a girlfriend's house where she washed her car. She left there about 3 pm and 
went to her boyfriend's house Kevin Farr in which she changed her clothes. She told 
Fair she was going to Searls Park to wax her car (Burkhard & Roth 10A). Linda Tracey 
was concerned when her daughter did not come home. On May 28 th , Linda Tracey and 
Kevin Farr went down to the police department and reported Tammy Tracey missing 
(Burkhard & Roth 10A). 

A search of the park and surrounding area by police, sheriffs deputies, park 
rangers and a helicopter found no trace of the missing woman or foul play. Because of 
the lack of leads and of any evidence of foul play, police decided to reduce the intensity 
of their investigation (Lamb Warren 6A). On June 2, responding to pleas from family 
and a local unit of national child search organization, nearly 140 volunteer searches on 

.i ! j ^ ; ; ; 



Peterson 7 

the ground, some of them on horseback or in four-wheel drive vehicles and more in the 
air in two helicopters and an airplane, again found no trace of the woman in Searls Park 
(Lamb & Warren 6A). 

On June 3 rd , investigators seeking Tracey and another missing young woman, this 
one missing since June 1 st in Grundy County compared notes between the two 
disappearances and found a few similarities. On June 6, the woman in Grundy County 
was found dead, about three miles from where she disappeared. Later investigators on 
the two cases again confered but saw little reason to link them. On June 22 because of 
differing physical descriptions, police doubted that the body of an unidentified woman in 
Arkansas could be Tracey' s but dispatched dental records to be certain. Later, on June 
23, the body of the Arkansas woman was positively identified as that of another woman. 
Also, on July 23, police investigated the possibility of a connection between Tracey's 
disappearance and the disappearance in early July of a Juneau County, Wisconsin 
woman. On September 4 l , a man was arrested in connection with the Wisconsin woman. 
Rockford police ruled him out as having anything to do with Tracey's disappearance 
(Lamb & Warren 6A). 

On April 15, 1988, the skeletal remains of a young woman were found in Sugar 
River Forest Preserve, which is located four miles from Searls Park (Lamb & Warren 
6A). A man, trying out his new camera, stumbled upon the remains of Tammey Tracey; 
however, the man wanted to keep his anonymity. 

Today, the Rockford Police detectives review the case of Tammey Tracey to get 
a fresh look at the case hopes of coming up with possible leads in which of solving the 



» .»•:,<-■,'. 



Peterson 8 

case of Tammy Tracey. Little information can be discussed about the case because it 
remains open (Interview with Detective Forrester). 

In October, 2000, the grand opening of "Canine Corners" in Searls Park took 
place. "Canine Corners" is a four-acre park, completely fenced in, and has lovely varied 
terrain and growth. There are more than 250 dogs registered presently (Franke, Feb, 
2002). Searls Park is the first dog park in Winnebago County, where people can take 
their dogs off leash to run and play in safety (Rockford Park District Pamphlet). 

Today, Searls Park hosts several exciting events within the park. Some examples 
include the great American pastime of baseball, a stimulating game of soccer, or the 
excitement of watching the BMX racers. Tranquility is also within the park through the 
bridle path, or a walk through the open prairie into the depths of Kent Creek. Searls Park 
remains a park of excitement, and tranquility. 



Works Cited 
"14-Acre Tract to Park Board." Rockford Register Star . Park District Rockfordian Files 

(P-Z). 
American Bicycle Association. 2001 Racing Schedule. Pamphlet NO DATE. 
BMX1, Rockford, Illinois. Photographer unknown. Acquired from Vance Barrie, 

Rockford Park District. Date of photo unknown. 
BMX2, Rockford, Illinois. Photographer unknown. Acquired from Vance Barrie, 

Rockford Park District. Date of photo unknown. 
Burkhard, Betsy, and Norma Roth. "Missing." Rockford Register Star : 30 May 1987, 

1A+. 
Canine Corners #1, Rockford, Illinois. Photographer unknown. Acquired from Vance 

Barrie, Rockford Park District. Date of photo unknown. 
Canine Corners #2, Rockford, Illinois. Photographer unknown. Acquired from Vance 

Barrie, Rockford Park District. Date of photo unknown. 
Elliot, Earl F., District Superintendent, Rockford Register Star . Park District 

Rockfordian Files (P-Z): 7 Oct. 1943. 
"Emily Searls, Aged 79, Dies." Rockford Register Star. 
First Horse Show in Searls Park, Rockford, Illinois. Photo by Rockford Register Star. 24 

May 1970. 
Forrester. Personal Interview. 5 March 2002. 

Franke, Ellen. "The Beginning." Canine Corners Dog Park Newsletter : Feb 2002 Issue 1 . 
"Horsemen Initiate New Facility." Register Star 24 May 1970. 



Kennedy, Richard. "Parks Grow By Donations." Rockford Register Star . Park District 

Rockfordian Files - General (1-4) (1974-1984): April 26, 1974. 
Lackner, Greg. " Blues Buster." Rockford Magazine Dec. 1993 : 1 1 pp. 
Lamb, Joe, and Dan Warren. "Police Hunt For Tracey's Killer." Rockford Register Star : 

17 April 1988, 1A+. 
Lebensohn, Micah. Rogers Super Thesaurus, 2 nd Ed . McCutcheon: 105. 
Little, Thomas W. Rock River Times . (Letter To Editor) 19 Nov 1994. 
Lucas, Eileen. " Park Board Defers Flood Control Stand." Register Public 9 May 1973, 

A3 
"Map Makers Wrong, Spell It Searls Without an 'E."" Rockford Register Star . 29 July 

1964. 
Map of 1941, Rockford, Illinois. Acquired from plat book of Winnebago County, 

Illinois. Map 1941. W.W Hixson, Inc. 
Map of 1955 - Park District took over. Acquired from Map 1955 official county plat 

book and farmers director. 
Map of Searls Park, Rockford, Illinois. Cartographer - Rockford Park District. Acquired 

from Detective Forrester. Map copied 5 March 2002. 
Miller, Don. "Enjoy a Rare Remnant Early Settlers Saw." North End Times : Mar 1989. 
Missing Persons Report, Rockford, Illinois. Photographer unknown. Acquired from 

Detective Forrester, Rockford Police Department. Date of photo unknown. 
Morgan, Angie. "Naturalists Try to Preserve Prairies." Rockford Register Star : 2 Oct 

1993, 2A. 
"Offer Aid on Park Air Field." Rockford Morning Star 15 Feb. 1945 

.-<(' ' ' ' 



"Our Kent Creek Parks ". Rockford Morning Star 1944 

"Park Board Defers Flood Controls Stand." Parks General 1970-1973: Rockfordian 

Files. 
"Park District Gets 150-Acre Tract." Rockford Morning Star 8 Dec. 1944, 1 A 
"Park District Outlines Plan For Expansion". Rockford Morning Star 17 Jan. 1945, 1. 
"Parks Grow By Donations." Rockford Register Star . Rockford Park District 

Rockfordian Files - General 1-4: 1974-1984. 
Pash, Phil. " Park District to Develop Briddle Path ". Rockford Morning Star 2 Nov. 

1969, E4 
"Plan Postwar Park Projects ". Rockford Morning Star 17 Jan. 1945 
Prairie Burn #1, Rockford, Illinois. Photographer unknown. Acquired from Vance 

Barrie, Rockford Park District. Date of photo unknown. 
Prairie Burn #2, Rockford, Illinois. Photographer unknown. Acquired from Vance 

Barrie, Rockford Park District. Date of photo unknown. 
Rockford Park District. Canine Corners Dog Park . Pamphlet no date. 
Searls Park, Rockford, Illinois. Photographer unknown. Acquired from Vance Barrie, 

Rockford Park District. Date of photo unknown. 
Searls Prairie Called a Botanical Jewel." Journal . 26 Sept 1984. 
Side Entrance, Prairie, Rockford Illinois. Photographer unknown. Acquired from Vance 

Barrie, Rockford Park District. Date of photo unknown. 
"State Funds to Buy Park, Prarrie Land ". Rockford Register Star 1975. 
Teinowitz, Ira. "Natural Prairie Preserved." Rockford Register Star . 12 Jan 1984. 
"Tract is Given to Park Board." Register Republic 8 Dec 1944. 

■iVv'V. 



Wisniewski, Jim. " Searles Park Bears Name of Family From England." Rockford 

Morning Star 26 Feb. 1967, B3 
Yahn, Steve. " Park Projects Behind Schedule ". Rockford Morning Star 27 Jan 1971, 

A1+. 



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Have You Seen This 
Missing Child? 

TAMMY L TRACEY 



Age: 19 DOB: 10-06-67 

White Female 

Height: 5'3" 

Weight: 100 lbs. 

Hair: Brown (shoulder length) 

Eyes: Brown 

Birthmark: Red quarter-size on inside right 

forearm above elbow. 




Tammy was last seen at 3:30 p.m. on May 
27, 1987, in Rockford, Illinois. She was last 
known to be enroute to Anna Page Park in 
Rockford to wax her vehicle, a 1 979 Black Olds- 
mobile 88 (two-door) with Illinois dealer's license plate 4612. The vehicle was 
later recovered in Searless Park, Rockford. Tammy was last seen wearing a 
yellow tank top, blue jeans, an Auburn High School class ring, and a gold-colored 
neckless with a small cross. 

If you have any information concerning the whereabouts of this child, contact 
the Rockford Police Department at (81 5) 987-5800 or the I SEARCH Hotline at: 

1-800 U HELP ME *• 

fri search! 

Wlllinois State Enforcement Agencies to Recover Children 9 m 



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Second Christian Church 

"The Rock" 



Delia L. Hemby 

14 May 2002 

English 101 

Rock Valley College 



Delia L. Hemby 
English 101 RRM 
13 April 2002 



Second Christian Church 
"The Rock" 



"And Jesus answered and said unto him, 'Blessed art thou, Simon Bar- 
jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in 
heaven. And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build 
my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."' (Nelson). This is 
Second Christian Church, a place of worship, praise, fellowship, and most of all, 
love. This is Second Christian church, a rock that will always stand. 

Second Christian Church began in 1903 by the Elder T. R. Bayliss and a 
group of 12 people "Disciples of Christ". The first World Series and the first silent 
movie were debuted in this year also (Rosenberg). The Rockford Public Library 
opened on November 21, 1903, and Second Christian Church became the 
second organized African American Church in Rockford. The services were 
held, for a year, at the various members' homes "Welcome to Rockford"; 
"Disciples of Christ". Even though there wasn't a "building" to worship in, the 
members still got together to worship and praise God. 

In 1913 when the world experienced its first crossword puzzle, Henry Ford 
created the first assembly line and Rockford was hit with a tornado that caused 
an estimated damage of $100,000, Second Christian was blessed to acquire a 
permanent place of worship, 2417 Fremont Street, Rockford, Illinois (Rosenberg; 
"Welcome to Rockford"; "Disciples of Christ". 



Hemby - 2 

The membership began to increase and Pastor Bayliss knew it would 
soon be time for a move. In 1960, with now more than 200 members, Second 
Christian moved from 2417 Fremont Street to its present location of 950 N. 
Rockton Ave. "Disciples of Christ". They were able to rent the 950 N. Rockton 
Ave. address from Beth-Eden United Methodist Church and on October 26, 1977 
the Lord blessed them to purchase the building (Warranty Deed). The church 
was in good condition and no renovations were needed. 

The building at 950 N. Rockton Ave. was not always there; it was just an 
empty lot. Back in 1919 the United Brethren in Christ began in Rockford, Illinois 
by Rev. R.C. Mann. Services and Sunday school were held in various homes 
until the church was able to pursue the possibility of building a church. The first 
trustee of the church, Louis Scholls, and Arthur F. Moseley, a Freeport pastor, 
were the first to search Rockford to find a location for the church. With the help 
of the Church Erection Society, the Home Mission Board of the Church, and 
Arthur F. Moseley, the church was able to purchase the lot on the corner of N. 
Rockton Ave. and Bruce Street. The lot, at that time, had house on the rear of it 
and the pastor and members decided to have church in the house "History of 
Zion Evangelical". The church was organized in 1919 and the official name of 
the church was "The Captain Arthur F. Moseley Memorial Church of the United 
Brethren in Christ" because he also gave generously to the lot purchase and 
project "History of Zion Evangelical". 

The membership grew and the members agreed that a new church 
needed to be built in different phases to help cut down on costs. The church 



Hemby - 3 



became the parsonage and a temporary church building was erected. The costs 
for the changes were $15,000. Problems arose in the church; membership went 
down and finances soon followed. Rev. Mann was replaced by Rev. Ramsey; 
his tenure lasted briefly and in 1923, under the leadership of the new pastor, 
Rev. E.R. McCorkle, membership began to grow again. Plans went forward to 
build a new church and in 1925, after much planning between the pastor, the 
conference superintendent, officials of the Church Erection Society, the Home 
Mission Board and the Trustees, the ground was broken for a new church on the 
corner of 950 N. Rockton Ave. and Bruce Street. The corner-stone was laid in 
1925 (History of Zion Evangelical). 




The Comer-Stone 1925 (Hemby) 



Hemby - 4 

Problems grew in conjunction with the financing of the new church and 
although the Church Erection Society and the Annual Conference contributed a 
large amount of money, there was still a $10,000 deficit. The church was able to 
get a $10,000 loan from the Rockford Trust Company. Things were able to 
proceed and on May 2, 1926 the church was dedicated with the new name of 
Zion Evangelical Church of Rockford. The name was again changed and finally 
became the current name of Beth-Eden United Methodist Church (History of Zion 
Evangelical). 

It was in God's plan for Beth-Eden to continue to grow because He knew 
that with the growth of Second Christian Church, 2417 Fremont Street was not 
going to be big enough. This proved to be very helpful because in the same 
year, Rockford officially became the second largest city in Illinois, with a 
population of 126,706 "Welcome to Rockford". Once Beth-Eden found a new 
church site, 950 N. Rockton Ave. became vacant. In 1960, the Second Christian 
Church building committee members, headed by Lucille Lambert, sought to find a 
new church to worship in. They began to rent and occupy the old Beth-Eden 
United Methodist Church located at 950 N. Rockton Ave., in 1960 and purchased 
the building on October 26, 1977 (Warranty Deed). 



Hemby - 5 




4 



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»» in - mmtA WTY dud ■ Cg g g g gm ioC w p w 
Dncumcnt No _.. ___tlled 



for Record in Recorder's offfc" o(/jLutoy*-t^fca - County, Illinois 



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COR PORATICN WARRANTY DEED. 



/Or*"*-* 



IA-J- L o'clock ECj*. % 



. Recorder of Deeds, v * 



THIS INDENTURE WITNESSETH, That the Grantor 

BETH EDEN UNITED METHODIST CHURCH (formerly Beth Eden Evangelical 
United Brethren Church),, an Illinois religious corporation 

* corporation duly organized end ending under end by virtue of the laws of the Strte of Illinois 
aid duly authorized to transact business tn the SUte where (he following described real estate in located, 
for and in consideration of Cne Dollar and other good and valuable considerations, the receipt of which U 
hereby acknowledged, and pursuant to authority given by the Board of Director* of said corporation, 
CONVEYS AND WARRANTS to 






SECOND CHRISTIAN CHURCH, an Illinois religious corporation 

and whose address is p.„ t „, f . Tr ,„„„, T „ Act 

the following described real Mats to-wit: &?4&*Jk!!f$]f?? K 

All of Lot Thirteen (13) as designated upon the Plat of Carrico's 
Subdivision of part of the East Half (1/2) of the Southeast 
Quarter (1/4) of Section 15, Township 44 North, Range 1 East, 
except the South forty (40) feet in width thereof, the North line 
of said excepted tract to be parallel with the South line of said 
lot, situated in the City of Rockford, County of Winnebago and 
State of Illinois. 



situated in the County of. 



(Contlnar l*i «J description en r 
Winnebago 



.err <■ •■tie) 

. in the State of. 



-Ulinois 



IN WITNESS WHEREOF, said Grantor has caused it* corporate seal to be hereto affixed, and has 

caused its name to be signed to these present* by it* -—frasn-nr Pnaldi.ut , and 

attested by <t. Trustee £scre«sry. this -"^ day cf CBtCsttBT 19.27 



( Affll corporate seel here) 



Attest: 






STATE OF ILLINOIS 
Winnebago 



.COUNTY 



BETH EDEN UNITED METHODIST CHURCH 

rv ^Z^£t/1tA^ ^M^ 

CflJ^rW. Franke^fjs?it<n -tVesarJent: 

PtfEselV-nSlupo, Truse^e*- 



!. the undersigned, s Notsry Public, In and \ -r uH County. In the SUte aforesaid. UO HEREBY CERTIFY THAT. 

Carl W. Franke 

personally known to sac «*»"■ ***» Pastor s s nn lii,. r th» QsjganaajglnB) — »"* ** Mas f*" "" Sad 

Ru ssell Malaetr _______________^ 

personally known to m to be the TT*tialr>s>e» as ataay of said corporation, sad personally known 
to Be* to be the same persona whose namee are eubacribed to the foregoing instrument, appeared before me this day In person 
nasi "T— *■ ag.a.a-.--- a, Pttmt-nr flsaSdnt and Tniest-seaa 

Past-or 



aVwlwaSBn, they signed end a aaa ra a w Sl the aald l a a aaraa as awl as . 

Trustr.f»e» ■ ' I of said csarpoasttlon, sad caused the corporate ami of said co r por a t i on to be aifliad 

thereto, nomiant to authority, given t; the Board of Directors of said corporation as their free and voluntary act, and at the 
free end voluntary act and dead of aald corporation, for the one* sad naafau jaj Usarein aai forth, 

Olvea under ray hand and Notarial Seal Ihia ^ day of '- ' T^M^i^ - 'eZ&i' 






\ 



Future Taxes to Grantee's Address ( v) 
ORto * 

S fl2 77- %c £ftl<- 



Return this document I y. 






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Thii Inatru-nent was r>emred by: RKESB t REESE 

Whoae address is: ?79 Nort^ Main Street, Rock E orcI, Illinois 



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77 2d 12i7 

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Warranty Deed 



i 



Hemby - 6 

Second Christian Church is located about % miles South from the 
intersection of Auburn Street and N. Rockton Ave. There is a big brown, red and 
white sign on the front lawn that reads Second Christian Church and lists times of 
services that go on during the week. Parking is very limited at Second Christian 
and if one arrives early enough they can park in the front of the building. 
Otherwise, on Bruce Street, there is parking in the empty lot behind the building. 
The church is beautifully adorned with stained glass windows, and the base of 
the building is surrounded by white trimming that periodically gets a fresh coat of 
paint. In the summertime, the exterior of the building is dressed with flowers that 
welcome a person right into the rust color doors. 




Bruce Street Side of Church (Hemby) 



Hemby - 7 



When entering the rust-color doors, in the front of the church, there is a 
foyer that has a set of stairs directly ahead that leads one to the sanctuary and a 
set of stairs to the right leading to the fellowship hall. Go up the red carpeted 
stairs, enter the door to the right and there is the sanctuary. Inside eighteen 
pews, that hold about 150 to 200 people, are aligned from the back of the church 
to the front of the church. The pews are all upholstered in red and the carpet is 
red also. This writer likes to sit and admire the beauty of the edifice; when the 
sun shines through the stained glass windows it creates an angelic light that only 
comes from God. 




Angelic Stained Glass Windows (Hemby) 
The ceiling is painted white and blue which the writer does not understand 
since the themed color of the church seems to be red and white and the ceiling 
was once all white (Dixon). On both sides of the sanctuary is what members call 



Hemby - 8 

the "overflows". When the main sanctuary is full, people then sit in the 
"overflows". In the front of the church is a row of four pews that is reserved for 
the choir. On a Sunday morning service, those four pews are not enough to hold 
the 50+ voice choir that the church has. To the left of the choir stand is a set of 
three king-like chairs where the pastor and associate minister sit. In front of the 
chairs is a pulpit where the pastor delivers the message. The sounds of worship 
and praise seem to seep through the walls like a sponge that can hold no more 
water. 




The "Overflow" (Hemby) 
If one were to return to that foyer when entering the front of the church 
and go right, down two steps, they would be in the fellowship hall. The hall is 
aligned with tables and chairs that are used for dinners and Wednesday night 
bible study classes. The kitchen is equipped with an industrial-size refrigerator, 






, 



Hemby - 9 

freezer and oven. "There is a lot of cooking that goes on at Second Christian," 
states Delia Hemby. "We have dinner to celebrate the pastor's anniversary, the 
church's anniversary, and we often have breakfast just for the fellowship." 
(Hemby 2002). Off from the fellowship hall is a room designated for the choirs. 
This room has three closets and holds the choir's robes. When not being used 
for the choir, the children have Sunday School Class and Bible Study Class in 
this room. 

Ms. Bowden, the oldest living member of the church, recalls the first time 
the church celebrated an anniversary with a program. It was the 54 th 
Anniversary. At that time there were only two charter members still alive. They 
were Beatrice Robinson, Ms. Bowden's mother, and Mary Robinson, Ms. 
Bowden's aunt. She said, "They just so happened to have married two brothers." 
The anniversary celebration also included the 2 nd pastor of the church, Rev. 
Anderson, as part of the festivities (Bowden). This 54 th anniversary celebration 
occurred in 1957 and Rockford continued to experience industrial expansion and 
relocation with Amerock, YMCA, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Sundstrand and 
National Lock all adding on additional space or relocating into new buildings. 
Voters in Rockford approved a $3.00 million bond issue for Wilson Junior High 
School, Conklin Grade School and Lathrop Grade School ("Welcome to 
Rockford"). Dr. Seuss published The Cat in the Hat and Soviet Satellite Sputnik 
launched Space Age (Rosenberg). 

"I have been a member of Second Christian for 30 years, and since 
coming here, I can only remember us having no more than a dozen funerals." 



Hemby- 10 

recalls Paul Dixon. Mr. Dixon is the chairman of the church trustee board and he 
also informed the writer that the church has undergone some remodeling and 
updates over the past twenty years. The carpet, pews and drywall have been 
replaced in the sanctuary, and the ceiling was repainted blue. A new bathroom 
on the sanctuary level was built, but Mr. Dixon could not recall what year (Dixon). 

"I like the way this church has grown and filled with young people. It lets 
me know that all young people aren't bad.", states Betty Dixon. "I like to see 
young people working in the church." (Dixon, B) 

The brick and mortar of the church is nothing without the spirit that is felt 
during a Sunday morning service. The deacons of the church start the service 
off with "devotion". This devotion includes: an upbeat tempo song, reading of a 
scripture and prayer. After the devotion, the choir comes in and sings a song; 
one of this writer's favorite songs is called "Press Toward the Mark of the Prize of 
the High Calling in Jesus Christ". After the song, there is the Lord's Prayer 
worship chant that the entire congregation recites. Once the chant is completed, 
the entire church joins and sings a "congregational song". This is the time when 
the whole church seems as if they are all one. There is a collective feeling of 
worship and praise that at anytime during this part of the service one may see 
people lifting their hands in worship to God. A person may also say with their 
mouth "Halleluiah". The pastor's motto is "It's All about Praise" and he delivers a 
sermon that he so often calls "Good meat to get you through the week." 
(Holloway). The spirit is felt throughout the congregation like a warm breeze on a 
summer day. 



Hemby - 1 1 

The rock called Second Christian Church will always be a place where 
one can enter feeling down and low and leave feeling renewed and uplifted. 
Whether a person may believe in a "higher power" or not, once they have visited 
the rock, they will never feel the same. 



Seco> 




950 North Rockton Avenue 
Rockford, Illinois 




815-962-1237 

Church Directory 2001 (Lifetouch) 



Hemby - 1 2 

Works Cited 
"Angelic Stained Glass Windows." Photo by Author. 2002 
Bowden, Ruth. Personal Interview. March 2002. 
Bowden, Ruth. Telephone interview. February 2002. 
"Bruce Street Side of Church." Photo by Author. 2002. 
"Church Directory." Lifetouch. 2001. 
"Cornerstone." Photo by Author. 2002. 
"Disciples of Christ - Christian Church of Charleston, Illinois." No Date Available. 

Disciples of Christ. 20 February 2002. 

<http://www.disciplesofchrist.org/the.html>. 
"Disciples of Christ." Rockfordian Files. Rockford Public Library, 9 September, 

1967. 
"Disciples.org". No Date Available. Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 

19 February, 2002. <http://www.disciples.org/internal/dhist.htm>. 

Dixon, Betty. Personal Interview. April 2002. 

Dixon, Paul. Personal Interview. March 2002. 

Hemby, Delia. Personal Experience. March, April 2002. 

"History of Zion Evangelical United Brethren Church of Rockford." Beth-Eden 

United Methodist Church, 1950. 
Holloway, Terry. Morning sermon. January 2002. 
Ingram, Terri. Personal Interview. April 2002. 
Lee, Pastor Beth-Eden United Meth. Church. Telephone Interview. March 2002. 



Hemby - 1 3 

Nelson, Thomas, Inc. The Holy Bible, King James Version . Matthew 16:17-18. 

Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville. 1983 
"Overflow." Photo by Author. 2002. 
Rosenberg, Jennifer. "20 th Century History." Timeline of the Twentieth Century: 

1900-1969 . No Date Available. The History Net. 27 February 2002. 

<http://history1900s.about.com/library/time/bltime1960.htm>. 
Rosenberg, Jennifer. "20 th Century History." Timeline of the Twentieth Century: 

1900-1972. No Date Available. The History Net. 26 March 2002. 

<http://history1 900s.about.com/library/time/bitime1 957, 1 960, 1 972.htm>. 
"Warranty Deed." City of Rockford, Recorder's Office 1977. 
"Welcome to Rockford, Illinois." No Date Available. Sword Productions. 27 

February 2002. <http://www.rockfordillinois.com/chron2.htm>. 
"Welcome to Rockford, Illinois." No Date Available. Sword Productions. 26, 

March 2002. <http://www.rockfordillinois.com/chron2.htm>. 



i =w 



Home Safe Home - Serenity House 



Robbin Snodgrass 
Spring Semester, 2002 

English 101 
Rock Valley College 



3fe 



Robbin Snodgrass 
English 101 -NDF 1 
14-May-02 

Home Safe Home - Serenity House 



On the west side of what was once the thriving downtown of Rockford, Illinois 
stands a lonely looking brick building. The building is the temporary home of women 
and children seeking shelter from a cold, cruel world. 

Serenity House, a refuge for the homeless, is easy to find, directly across from a 
new million dollar structure known to hundreds of people as Rockford Rescue Missions 
"Hope Place". Located three blocks from the bus depot and the public safety building at 
730 West State Street. 

Now known as Serenity House, this structure was once called the Poole Hotel or 
Hotel Poole. Turbulent times and the tornado of 1913 did not prevent W.D. Poole from 
accomplishing what may have been his dream. The Poole Hotel was built, in the midst of 
a downtown growing feverishly. Mr. Poole built his hotel on West State, down the street 
from the Rock River and what many refer to as the swanky part of town away from the 
limelight. The original number of rooms is a mystery; the clients and guests also a 
mystery. Could this be the hotel for the less elite Chicago mafia as hinted by one 
respectable college professor (Fisher)? Possibly not, but undoubtedly the highest class of 
people are rumored to have slept at the Poole Hotel. 

New management was announced in the Rockford Star on March 21, 1916 
("Many Improvements"). Returning from Long Beach, California, Mr. Frank E. Darrow 
took possession of the hotel and did a thorough renovation, transforming the lobby into a 
warm, homey place where one could pass leisure hours. A large battleship linoleum 



Snodgrass - 2 

floor and pleasing curtains added to the most up-to-date fashion. Traveling into the 
rooms, the faint hint of fresh paint and thoroughly cleaned carpets made one feel like an 
honored guest. The former features of hot and cold water on tap and rumiing ice water in 
each of the halls remained the same ("Many Improvements"). 

Sometime in the early 1930s, Paul Virgil Harmon became the manager/owner. 
Mr. Harmon wanted to give the hotel a reputation for comfort and coziness. It was under 
his direction that salesmen and store clerks made the hotel their home. The hotel then 
boasted of 40 rooms. Being away from the downtown district and yet close enough to 
enjoy all the advantages, there were no parking restrictions and it was comparatively 
quiet. The Star reports guests used a game room, in the basement, during the fall and 
winter. The quiet, out-of-the-way hotel was the headquarters for many magazine crews, 
salesmen and orchestras ("Many Improvements"). 

Over the next forty years, the hotel continued to be more of a home than a hotel 
with many of the guests described as permanent. These guests stayed at the hotel for 
long periods of time and were found "working in local business houses" in the downtown 
area ("Poole Hotel"). 

Exactly when real estate broker Jack Erickson became the owner of the Poole 
Hotel is another one of the mysteries hidden deep within the walls of the once tall, proud 
building. On January 30, 1978, three residents of the hotel, two of them managers, sat in 
the dilapidated lobby passing time. They had found out only the week before that the 
building, home to them for some time, would be closing Feb. 1. "It's costing him [owner 
Jack Erickson] more in heat bills than what he's collecting for rent," said Burt Weiner. 
the day manager. 



Snodgrass - 3 

Mr. Erickson confirmed the hotel would close but said any development plans 
were private business. Mr. Weiner said 30 men usually occupied the 48-room hotel, most 
on social security and long-time residents. He described the hotel as a stand-up ashtray 
leaning more than the Tower of Pisa. According to the managers, the Hotel Poole was 
once known as a fancy place. 

At that time, Erickson would not say for sure what plans he had for the building. 
He did, however, donate the building to the Salvation Army later in 1978. The governing 
board of the Salvation Army, from Chicago, decided not to use the building because of its 
poor condition. The Salvation Army Board decided to offer the facilities including a 
house behind the hotel for sale after the officials inspected the buildings and determined 
they were too expensive to maintain (Fong). 

In 1978, the Rockford Rescue Mission began negotiations to purchase the 
building. They were able to purchase the building and the house behind it for $10,000. It 
took the Rockford Rescue Mission over five years to renovate, restore, and remodel the 
once cozy, comforting, home-like hotel before it became the Rockford Christian Care 
Center. Money had to be raised. Tons of plaster, pipes and scrap wood had to be 
removed. New plumbing, wiring, and windows, as well as the development of a large 
dining and kitchen area in the basement, had to be completed (Snodgrass). The banisters 
and decorative wood on the front porch were scraped and painted. Bricklayers blocked 
the foundation and tuck-pointed the loose brick on the front of the building. 

According to Larry Jamison, Director of the Rockford Christian Care Center, 
many volunteers worked for over a year to frame the new structure inside and redo the 
electricity. Churches in the area were asked to take rooms and decorate them, furnishing 



Snodgrass - 4 

the bedding, curtains, carpet, towels, pictures and furniture. The goal of the ministry was 
to open debt-free (Jamison). 

Micah Snodgrass, one of the construction workers, tells the story that a contest of 
sorts arose as different churches would take a room and see if they could outdo the next 
in decorations (Snodgrass, Jan '02). Micah believes the decorating may have gotten a 
little out of hand and the director of the center, Larry Jamison, had to step in and give 
some guidelines. Several years later Micah returned to work as the head of maintenance 
and by that time many of the beautiful decorations had been stolen, broken or taken out 
by management. Micah remembers he had to constantly fix holes that had been kicked, 
pushed or poked in by women and children who were angry for one reason or another and 
he was also constantly replacing broken glass and stolen door knobs. Micah said, 
"Everything has street value (Snodgrass)." 

Referred to as a diamond in the rough, the remodeled and restored building 
opened in 1986 and has been home to women like one desperate 22-year-old who was 
having a baby in three weeks, deserted by the father and left with nowhere to go. 
Children, sometimes abused and neglected, along with their mothers can be cared for and 
given a place to lay their weary heads (Rockford Rescue Mission). 

The Christian Care Center remains home to a very different clientele, women and 
children, some needing help in overcoming alcohol and drug addictions. The majority of 
those served had suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse. They harbor deep 
feelings of anger, bitterness and shame. The Christian Care Center has been offering help 
and hope to hundreds of women and children in desperate circumstances. Today the 



Snodgrass - 5 

center is located across the street inside the Rockford Rescue Mission's Hope Place that 
opened in 1999. 

When W.D. Poole built the Hotel Poole in 1913, State Street was just beginning 
to grow. The Hotel Poole was built outside of the limelight, with less noise from traffic 
and late night adventures. This may have been the reason that the hotel was not as 
popular so other hotels in the area. Hotel Poole, called home by so many, has remained a 
place for warmth and safety over the years. 

What is currently in the building that was once the Hotel Poole? Serenity House, 
another of the Rockford Rescue Mission's ministry to women. Since opening its doors 
on September 7, 1999, Serenity House has been assisting women and children in need of 
housing, employment, money management, childcare, decision-making, anger 
management and spiritual guidance. 

Until it closed its doors in March of 1984, the Rockford YWCA housed women 
looking for a place to stay. Another Rockford facility, Women Against a Violent 
Environment will only accept battered women (Peterson). Because of the overwhelming 
need for help, Serenity House with 40 beds is operating at near capacity. One night at the 
Red Cross is another option for the homeless women but that is only if Serenity House is 
completely full (Davis). 

The large parking lot with a sign that notifies the world of Serenity House draws 
the visitor to the correct location. No doubt about it. It represents open amis to the 
women and children searching for warmth. The large three-story brick building dotted 
with twenty- five windows on the east side may be a reminder of days long ago. Some of 
the windows have lovely lace curtains; looking carefully one might see a woman or child 



Snodgrass - 6 

gazing out. Many of the windows are dark, hiding pain like eyelids that close, covering 
tears. The next noticeable feature is the large balcony with white spindles surrounding it 
and chairs inviting folks to sit here and rest awhile. 

The front porch spans the entire width of the structure with four massive pillars 
and six concrete steps. (Serenity House front entrance photo) It has not changed over the 
years. The steps with cold metal handrails lead to the large wooden and glass front door, 
donated by an old church. It remains an invitation, like arms held open wide, to all who 
walk up the steps. 

Operating at capacity, it is a temporary home assisting women and children in 
need of housing, employment, child care, decision making, anger management and 
spiritual guidance. After being rescued, by the police, from an abusive environment 
some women arrive at Serenity House. Still others have all that they own in a bag or a 
box and arrive looking like a child that has run away from home. They find this place to 
be their last hope for a new start. 

Homelessness is an extremely complex issue. There are many reasons a person 
becomes homeless — sudden loss of employment, divorce, major illness, family violence, 
insufficient income, untreated abuse or mental illness. There are two types of homeless 
people being seen with increasing frequency in Rockford: young women and chronic 
mental patients. Trying to care for both types at the same time is creating problems. A 
study by the Rockford Coalition for the Homeless found 1,374 people were homeless 
with 80-100 people a day looking for shelter. A recent Harvard Medical School Study 
found that homeless families constitute more than 20 percent of the homeless population 
nationwide and are its fastest-growing subgroup (Collier). 



Snodgrass - 7 

The people who called the Poole Hotel home long ago and the people who now 
call Serenity House home have few things in common. Hard working store clerks, 
magazine reporters and band members called it home in the early years. Many worked in 
the downtown area for beautiful department stores or thriving magazines. The women 
who call it home now are down on their luck, some with children and most come from 
unstable home environments. This three story brick structure is safe and warm and, for a 
short time, home. 

Gwen (fictional name) is very thankful for the safe haven and peaceful 
environment. Finding herself on the street after a series of bad decisions, Gwen did not 
know what to do or where to go (Gwen). When she arrived at Serenity House she was 
fortunate to find that there was an open bed and she would be able to stay. Many times 
when women and children arrive they may find that Serenity House is at capacity, 
leaving them without a place to stay. Once space was available, Gwen spoke to the 
coordinator/case manager on duty and was given a room. 

Most of what is called intakes and assessments are done during the day, providing 
both the staff and the women time to review and investigate all possible solutions to the 
crisis and help them to overcome them one at a time (Davis). According to Janis Davis, 
the Director of Serenity House, only about one person a month comes into the facility in 
the evening. The staff, warm, and caring individuals, have seen and heard more sad, 
heartbreaking stories then they care to talk about, some so troubling that the very thought 
brings tears to their eyes. 

Serenity House is a three-month crisis program for women. The program consists 
of two phases promoting growth in spiritual; mental and emotional maturity. GED 



Snodgrass - 8 

classes, Bible classes, money management, mentoring, crafts, and life skills are included 
in what each woman is taught. The criteria for admission and qualification requirements: 
homeless, intake and assessment, and willingness to commit and participate in an in- 
house structured environment. It is also very important that the woman be physically and 
mentally able to care for herself and her children, Janis Davis stresses. 

Janis Davis also shared with this writer that less then ten percent of the women 
that come to Serenity House will come back a second time and another ten percent will 
decide to make life changes and move across the street to the Christian Care Center 
where they will become part of a more extensive training program. Many of the women 
living at Serenity House are going to school and others work full time. Serenity House 
provides a temporary place from which the women can get a fresh start. 

The other people who come to live at Serenity House are the children. They 
arrive with their mothers, frightened, angry and uncertain of what the future holds. Girls 
up to 17 years of age and boys up to 13 years of age are welcome. Girls 18 or older may 
arrive with their mothers, but are required to sign themselves in (Davis). In November of 
1988 it was reported that homeless children often moved from place to place or shelter to 
shelter. These children, underprivileged by society standards, excel and although 
powerless in their circumstances, they are found to be courageous in their efforts to not 
only survive but to achieve the dreams that they have (Rockford Rescue Mission, 
Serenity House). The Christian Care Center helps these powerless, courageous young 
children, physically and spiritually. 

Perry Pitney writes " . . . A desperate cry from our city streets. These voices of 
pain are from homeless women." The phones ring on the hour with people seeking help. 



Snodgrass - 9 

Forty percent of those calls are single women and women with children. " We could not 
meet the demands of bed space for women in crisis. This situation is the most urgent and 
critical need our city's social system is facing". The growing needs of women and 
children in emergency and housing crisis is the reason there is Serenity House. 

At Serenity House, single women and women with children seeking help can find 
warm beds, safety, love, support and understanding all under one roof. This ministry is 
totally supported by churches and private donations (RRM, Serenity House, no date) and 
will continue to provide lodging, free clothing, one-on-one counseling, training, and 
meals for as long as the donations continue. 

When the Poole Hotel was originally built no one knew the need for this facility 
and the impact on the community the building would become. The impact of Serenity 
House in downtown Rockford is immeasurable. Touching the lives of women and 
children who have lost all hope, whose vision of happy times is clouded and their need 
for help appearing out of reach - unimaginable. The community benefits by helping these 
individuals. Training them to work, take care of their children and provide food, 
clothing and shelter for their family and themselves. The end result for those who leave 
Serenity House after 90 days; individuals who break the cycle of being hopeless, 
helpless, and homeless. What a worthwhile ministry Serenity House has become and will 
continue to be. What a wonderful building now standing tall and proud like a new father 
holding his infant child. 



The 
Christian 
Care Center 

1986 - 1999 

ROCKFORD RESCUE MISSION MINISTRIES 



Serenity 
House 

1999 - 

ROCKFORD RESCUE MISSION MINISTRIES 



WOMEN'S LIFE RECOVERY PROGRAM 
HELPING TO BUILD NEW LIVES 

for Women and Children 
Caught in the despair of: 



♦ Domestic Violence 



Homelessness 



♦ Abandonment 



♦ Addictions 



♦ Abuse 



WOMEN'S CRISIS PROGRAM 
A PLACE OF PEACE & SAFETY 

for Women & Children in 
need of emergency assistance for: 



Domestic Violence 
• Homelessness 

• Abandonment 

• Addictions 

• Abuse 











Micah Snodgrass was one of many that helped with renovating and remodeling. 




""-*# 



Fresh Paint, New Doors, Well Lit Halls and New Carpet Grace each Hall. 



■I> ■■•' 




Some rooms have twin beds other 
rooms have a single twin bed and a crib. 









1 

If 



ft* 




Lovely Curtains adorn the windows. 




From the large Parking lot one can see the sign of hope. 
"Rockford Rescue Mission - Restoring Hope One Life at a Time" 




Over 50 Windows bring light from outside and Hide tears on the inside of 

Serenity House. 




The large porch, concrete steps, steel railings (above) and Serenity House sign(belovv) 

welcome everyone that arrives. 




Works Cited 

Barrie, Vance. Personal Interview, 29 January 2002. 

Christian Care Center from State Street. Photo by Micah Snodgrass, January 1985. 

City Directories, 1912-2001. 

Collier, Lorna. "Homeless Problem 'Critical'", The Register Star, 12-2-86. 

A Corner of Poole Hotel Lobby. Rockford, Illinois. Photo from The Morning Star, 

23 October 1938. 
Davis, Janis. Personal Interview. April 22, 2002. 

Finished Bedrooms of Christian Care Center. Photo by Micah Snodgrass, April 1986. 
Fisher, Scott. Comment made in class. February 26, 2002. 
Fong, Joe. "Two Organizations Plan Women's Crisis Center", The Rockford Register Star, 

11-30-78. 
Gwen, Fictional name, Telephone Interview, March 21, 2002. 
"Heat Bills Spell End for Poole Hotel." Rockford Register Star 30 January 1978. 
Jamison, Larry. Personal Correspondence. February 2002. 

"Many Improvements Made in Hotel Poole." Rockford Register Star 21 March 1916. 
"Mission Opens Temporary Home for Children", The Register Star, date unclear. 
Peterson, Eileen. "Crisis Center Issues Distress Call", The Register Star, 12-2-85. 
Pitney, Nadine. Personal Correspondence. February 2002. 
Pitney, Perry. The Rescuer, Fall 1999, Vol. 25 No. 4. Serenity House. 
"Poole Hotel is Home of Many Permanent Guests." The Morning Star, 23 October 1938. 
Redmond, Diana. "No Place Like Home, But Center is Cozy", The Register Star, 12-20-92. 
Remodeling of Christian Care Center. Photo by Micah Snodgrass, Spring 19S5. 



Rockford Rescue Mission. Serenity House . Pamphlet. No date. 
Rockford Rescue Mission. The Christian Care Center . Pamphlet. No date. 
Serenity House front entrance. Personal photo by the author. February, 2002. 
Serenity House photos from parking lot. Personal photo by the author. February, 2002. 
Snodgrass, Micah. Telephone interview and personal correspondence. January 2002. 



Slavic Gospel Association: 

The Legacy of its Founder 

and 
History of the Organization 



by 

Nichole Matthews 

English 101- DX 

Professor Scott Fisher 

14 May 2002 



Slavic Gospel Association: 
The Legacy of its Founder and History of the Organization 

Numerous buildings, trees and homes veil Slavic Gospel Association from the 
busyness of two high traffic roads in Rockford and Loves Park. It modestly takes a 
backseat to area homes and businesses. Though humble and discreet in its location, the 
brilliant site of SGA (Appendix A, p. 10) clearly reveals the boldness of its vision and 
distinction of its mission. The vision of SGA is to see peoples' lives eternally changed. 
The mission of SGA is to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to those people. A global and 
godly organization, SGA has always existed to bring honor and glory to God by "going 
into the world to preach the gospel [of Jesus Christ] to every creature" (Beers, Mark 
16:15). Since 1934, the organization has been committed to "helping Bible-preaching 
churches in the lands of Russia make disciples for Jesus Christ, through provision of 
Bibles, training, sponsorship and humanitarian aid" (History"). It is because of that 
commitment that, through world events, location and staff changes, and day-to-day 
obstacles, the Lord continues to bless the ministries of SGA at its newest location in 
Loves Park, Illinois, and lives have been eternally changed. 

The mission of SGA began with a love story. It was not a typical love story 
between a man and a woman, rather a love story between a man and his people. More 
than a century ago, God gave life to a man, whom twenty-two years later, gave his life 
to serving others through Christ. In 1898, Peter Deyneka, Sr. was born in Storlolemya, a 
small and poverty-stricken town in Russia ("History"). He immigrated alone to the 
United States (US) when he was 16 to earn money to help his family. In 1920, Peter 
surrendered his life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ during worship services at Moody 



I 



Matthews 2 
Memorial Church in Chicago. Eleven years after he arrived in the US and made his 
home in Chicago, Illinois, God made His plan clear to Peter, to be a missionary to 
Russia. With a passion for serving God and love for the people of his homeland, he 
earned a degree in 1925 from St. Paul Bible School, a degree that gave him the biblical 
foundation necessary to pursue God's purpose for his life ("Biography.."). 

Peter dedicated himself to that purpose by sharing the good news of Jesus 
Christ. For several years, he ministered to Russian immigrants domestically, in South 
Dakota, Montana and Idaho, and internationally in Europe and Russia ("Biography.."). 
His missions in Russia were not without complications. In the early 1930's, Joseph 
Stalin, political leader in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) intensified 
persecution of missionaries in Russia, forcing Peter to return to the United States (US). 
In 1933, he felt an increasing need for a mission dedicated solely to the Russian people 
("History"). The following year, he and four other Christians formed the Russian 
Gospel Association (RGA), headquartered in Chicago at 64 West Randolph Street 
("Biography..", "Historical Background"). The purpose of the association was to 
evangelize to Russian people primarily in the USSR (Historical Background"). 

Persecution from Russian communist leaders and the rivalry between the US 
and the USSR, the "Cold War", made it difficult to evangelize in the USSR ("History"). 
Consequently, the RGA covertly distributed Bibles and Christian Books into the hands 
of believers throughout the Soviet Union, while also producing and broadcasting 
thousands of Christian radio programs ("History"). As persecution and restrictions from 



Matthews 3 
Russia increased, the RGA focused its efforts on the Slavic communities worldwide, 
helping them through training, teaching and church planting ("History"). 

In 1949, the organization's name was changed to Slavic Gospel Association 
(SGA) ("Historical Background"). With a new name that fully represented the people 
they served, the headquarters relocated to 2434 North Kedzie, still in Chicago. By 1964, 
SGA employed 100 workers in 21 countries. As a result of its growth, the organization 
relocated once again in 1975 to 139 N. Washington Street in Wheaton, Illinois, a 
Chicago suburb. In combination with their move, SGA opened an Institute of Slavic 
Studies at the Wheaton Headquarters to offer courses in Slavic culture, as well as 
specialized training in evangelism, radio, literature preparation, and Christian education 
("Historical Background"). By the early 1980s, SGA partnered with the Wheaton 
College graduate school to offer Slavic Studies and closed their Institute. Five years 
after relocating to Wheaton, the number of workers more than doubled to 210 
("Historical Background"). Peter and his faithful workers ministered extensively 
throughout the 1980's. It was his love for the people of his homeland and a passion to 
righteously pursue his God-given purpose that made the organization grow. 

As the lives of Slavic people were changed by God's love and the aid of SGA, a 
world event occurred in 1989 that brought many changes for SGA. The Cold War ended 
("Timeline"). Peter died just two years before ("Biography.."). Serving as a missionary 
to Russia, as he knew it, would have been less complicated. However, as divinely 
planned, Peter's perseverance and the end of a bitter rivalry paved the way for future 
missionary efforts and a new home for SGA. "The following years brought political. 



Matthews 4 
economic and social chaos to the countries of the former Soviet Union. What I 
witnessed," said Anthony Suan, "amidst the endless landscape of raw beauty was not 
what I would call poverty- material nothingness would be more accurate". 

Two years after the Cold War ended, the USSR was dissolved and the 
Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was formed, consisting of 12 former Soviet 
Republics including Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine ("Timeline"). The CIS 
lessened restrictions and welcomed aid in many forms due to its poor economic 
situation ("History"). "As a result, the need for SGA employees to travel into Russia 
dwindled. Many of the functions could be done by nationals overseas" (Pauley). 
Subsequently, a decision was made to reduce staff and sell the Wheaton headquarters, 
which had grown to four buildings (Pauley). With many opportunities to build and 
strengthen their ministry to Russia, SGA sought a new leader and initiated a plan to find 
a new location to call "home". It was difficult to replace Peter Deyneka, a man with 
such passion and love for his people and God. 

On February 3, 1992, John Aker, former Pastor of First Evangelical Free Church 
in Rockford, Illinois, was appointed president of SGA ("Aker.."). Although John likely 
did not have the same deep-rooted love for the Slavic people that Peter had, indeed he 
loved God and desired to serve those people. Believing that Rockford was "the best 
kept secret of the Midwest", John Aker encouraged the organization to consider his 
hometown for their new location (Smith). He was insightful about the benefits SGA 
would reap by relocating to Rockford (Gianisen). In comparison, the cost of living in 
Rockford was significantly more affordable for the remaining 35 staff members 



Matthews 5 
(Gianisen). Additionally, the abundant number of churches and nursing homes in the 
area potentially provided a good pool of volunteers (Gianisen). With obvious benefits 
determined, SGA made a final decision when a local land developer and member of 
First Evangelical Free Church donated land in Loves Park to the organization 
(Gianisen). The land, just north of Riverside and Mulford Road, was consumed with tall 
grass and ragweed and surrounded by trees, cornfields and a creek (Smith). 

Plans to transform the land quickly got under way in the fall of 1992 (Pauley). An 
agreement was made in conjunction with the donation, that SGA would utilize the 
donor's Rockford construction company. When the exterior and interior plans were 
squared away, the groundbreaking ceremony was held. On a cold day in February 1993, 
President Aker, Loves Park Mayor Joseph Sinkiawic (Barnes), SGA employees and local 
media attended the ceremony (Gianisen; Pauley; Smith) (Appendix A, p. 6). Mayor 
Sinkiawic gave the organization the privilege to select three street names and granted 
their 3 rd choice, "Commonwealth Drive", which represents the Commonwealth of 
Independent States. As a result of the mayor's concession, SGA incorporated Loves Park 
in their mailing address, a choice they had because their land was on the boundary line of 
Rockford and Loves Park (Gianisen). 'The media and local officials were very positive 
about SGA coming to Loves Park" (Smith). "Most of the enthusiasm and welcome came 
from local Christian congregations. SGA was well respected for its long history of 
ministering to the Soviet Union and Peter Deyneka's reputation" (Pauley). 

The design for the exterior resembled neighboring businesses on the donor's 
adjoining land. The interior, including the style of furniture, colors and artwork, was 



Matthews 6 
designed by SGA's former art director, Michael Anderson, with the help of other 
employees (Pauley). Unlike the four buildings in Wheaton, which separated SGA's 
employees and functions, the condensed layout was devised to meet SGA's specific 
needs of worship, shipping, receiving and administration, all under one roof (Gianisen). 
A chapel was designed where worship and prayer services are held daily to seek God's 
will concerning all ministry efforts. It was determined that flags would represent the 
countries served by the organization (Smith). In honor of SGA's deceased founder, 
employees created a dedication plaque, which was placed on a large stone. The plaque 
read: "Much Prayer... Much Power! With this motto for life and ministry, Peter, a man of 
great vision and passion, advanced the cause of Jesus Christ among the peoples of Russia. 
To God be the glory!" (Matthews, Observation) (Appendix A, p. 8). 

The construction began in the spring (Appendix A, pp. 1-5), when the plans 
were complete, shortly after the groundbreaking ceremony. "Heavy rainfalls prolonged 
the construction of the building" recalls Rosemary Gianisen. "It was completed in 
October 1993." Five flags stand on the northwest corner of the land and represent the 
United States and the four predominate countries served by the organization: 
Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Russia and Belarus (Appendix A, p. 7). Laid beneath the flags on 
November 2, 1993, was the dedication stone. Behind the flags and stone, SLAVIC 
GOSPEL ASSOCIATION, in bold letters, is displayed on the north side of the 
building (Appendix A, p. 8). "Like the bold presentation of its name, SGA is equally 
bold in its stand for Christ" (Matthews). 



Matthews 7 
Unlike the boldness of its flags and display of its name, the one-level building's 
exterior is simple in its colors and shape. Neutral cremes and tans decorate the mostly 
square, brick exterior. The colors are subtle as to not steal the glory of its accessories. 
Nearly 20 windows on three sides of the building create a gateway for the light of the 
outdoors to shine inside. The well-manicured landscape, includes hardy evergreen 
shrubs, which keep the grounds lively all year around. The entryway invitingly 
protrudes from the front, center of the building. With two pillars that create a foundation 
for a triangle-shaped overhang, the entryway is solid and stately. The triangle structure 
directs its guest's attention heavenward, serving as a reminder to "Set your mind on 
things above, not on earthly things" (Colossians 3:2, Life Application Study Bible). 
Tucked beneath the overhang, like a baby cub protected by its mother, is the fragile 
glass foyer. The doors are translucent and welcome their guests like the warmth of a 
grandmother's inviting arms. 

Upon completion, all costs were covered by the sale of the four Wheaton 
Buildings (Gianisen). "Praise the Lord," was the sentiment of SGA's employees, echoed 
by the writer! The staff members moved the equipment, supplies and furniture into their 
new "home" (Pauley). "We were all excited about having everyone under one roof," 
shared Doug Smith, Information Technology Director. The new location provided the 
benefits conveyed by President Aker, plus a slower pace and less travel time. Doug Smith 
pleasingly shared, "Moving to Rockford was a great thing for SGA and my family. The 
cost of living and pace of life are so much different than in the Chicago suburbs. Just 
moving to the area enabled us to buy a house, which wasn't even a consideration before. 



Matthews 8 
It was like getting a huge raise." Janet Pauley, former accounting employee, lived in 
Rockford and commuted daily to Wheaton. "I didn't mind the commute," said Janet, "but 
it was nice not to have to get up at 5 am and not get home until after 6 pm each day." 
Furthermore, because SGA is an international organization, airport access is a must. 
Reduced traffic and the direct toll way route from Loves Park, allows employees to get to 
O'Hare in about the same time it took when SGA was located in Wheaton (Smith). 

As employees reaped the benefits of its relocation, they continued shifting SGA's 
ministry efforts overseas. President John Aker was instrumental in "moving the 
organization to the point of [Russian] nationals ministering to their own" ("Aker.."). That 
goal was accomplished and shortly thereafter, in January 1994, Aker resigned to return to 
preaching. "Dr. Aker is a very gifted preacher and teacher, and that's where his spiritual 
gift is. He would like to do that through a local church," said Bob Lovell, former Vice 
President of Stewardship at SGA ("Aker.."). Lovell also noted that Dr. Aker left in good 
standing. With many opportunities to further their ministries in the lands of Russia, once 
again SGA sought a new leader. Robert Provost was appointed president in September 
1994. "He brings the experience, knowledge and compassion needed to effectively serve 
the church in the former Soviet Union, as well as accurately portray their needs to the 
church in North America," said Warner Tillman, SGA Board Chairman ("Slavic 
Group.."). 

Established under the direction of their new leader, SGA's employees determined 
a need to reorganize the internal layout of several cubicles and departments. The original 
layout left the departments openly exposed to one another, which resulted in distracting 



Matthews 9 
noise volume (Smith). "We found that employees needed a little more isolation to be able 
to do their jobs well. Because of that, more of the staff is now in the outer ring of the 
building where the cubicle walls are higher and reduce noise better," informed Smith. 
The accounting area and information technology departments were closed off with high 
cubicle walls, rather than working in open areas as originally designed (Smith). "This 
helps workgroups communicate more effectively while not disturbing the rest of the 
office," Smith added. "No major reconstruction was needed to make the changes. I guess 
I put in enough wire so I didn't have to run much more", Smith happily shared. 
As changes occurred and missions in the CIS continued, a crisis in another country, 
thousands of miles away from Loves Park, hit the heart of SGA in late spring of 1999, 
"the Kosovo crisis" ("Local Relief..", Smith). Kosovo, a small southern province, is 
located in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Haney). The country was occupied by 
Serbs and ethnic Albanians, who made up 90% of Kosovo's population. As a result of the 
Albanians' desire for full independence for the province, battles were started in 1996 
between the Serbs and the Albanians within Kosovo, both fighting for control. Many 
were killed and the conflict escalated. Due to increasing deaths, the National Atlantic 
Treaty Organization (NATO) intervened in 1998 to protect fellow human beings from 
crimes against humanity (Haney). After months of unsuccessful attempts at restoring 
peace in Kosovo, US-led NATO resorted to military action in March 1999 (Haney). An 
air campaign was launched that lasted for 78 days (Haney). More than 800,000 ethnic 
Albanians were displaced and were in great need of help ("Local Relief.."). 



Matthews 10 
Burdened by the Albanians' great suffering, SGA partnered with a group in 
Albania and the Winnebago County Bar Association to collect donations for the 
thousands of refugees who streamed out of war-torn Kosovo ("Local Relief.."). "Spurred 
by horrific images of weary, weeping ethnic Albanian refugees", [Rockford area] 
residents overwhelmed SGA with donations" ("Local Relief.."). Three 40-foot long 
containers were filled with relief supplies, including hygiene and first aid items, clothes 
and disposable diapers ("Local Relief."). Doug Smith recalls, "We collected so much 
humanitarian aide so quickly that it was stacked everywhere in the office. That took its 
toll on the walls and carpet. As a result," Doug explained, "walls had to be repainted and 
the carpets had to be cleaned" (Appendix A, p. 9). 

Overall, there have been minimal changes at the site of SGA since it relocated to 
the Rockford area. People have come and gone. Cubicles have shifted. The carpet has 
worn and the walls have been repainted. Though some things have changed, one thing 
has remained the same: its purpose of ministering the love of God to the people of the 
Commonwealth of Independent States. 

"Operating a ministry on the other side of the world can be difficult" ("Regional 
Ministry Centers"). Consequently, SGA placed four Regional Ministry Centers (RMC) in 
the CIS to coordinate projects and insure that financial support, humanitarian aid and 
essential materials are accounted for and distributed as intended. Their distribution 
network through the RMC guarantees deliveries. Each month an average of $200,000 
worth of Bibles, humanitarian aide, ministry materials and equipment is distributed 
through the RMC for SGA's various ministries ("Regional Ministry Centers"). 



Matthews 1 1 
"With an estimated 100,000 towns, villages and cities that do not have even one 
church, SGA has provided financial support for on-going church planting in these areas. 
The economic collapse of the former Soviet Union significantly hindered the national 
churches. The collapse made it virtually impossible for the Slavic people to send out and 
support their own church planters" ("Church Planting"). During 2001, SGA helped 75 
churches across the CIS with building projects ("Construction"). Furthermore, realizing 
that nearly half of the churches in the CIS need a pastor, SGA sponsored four seminaries 
and 1 1 Bible Institutes in 2002 to offer biblical training to pastoral students, youth 
pastors, Sunday school teachers and layworkers ("Training"). "Over 90% of the 
graduates are church planters, evangelists, pastors, teachers and church workers" 
("Church Planting"). 

Unwavering in their commitment to fulfill Jesus' command to "make disciples of 
all nations" (Beers, Matthew 28:19), they reach the hopeless in the lands of the CIS, 
including nearly 500,000 orphans. Through their Orphans Reborn program, which was 
started in the late 1990s, workers are equipped to make regular visits to local orphanages 
("Orphans Reborn Program"). They minister the love of God to the children, sharing that 
God is "the Father" (Beers, Psalm 68:5) and "the Helper" (Beers, Psalm 10:14) "to the 
fatherless" (Beers, Psalm 68:5, 10:14). They hold weekly Bible lessons for the children 
and provide humanitarian aid, Bibles and other materials ("Orphans Reborn Program"). 
One of the orphanage workers told an SGA sponsored church planter: "The help we 
receive from the government is so little that we would not survive if not for the additional 
help received from philanthropic and humanitarian missions" (Lickhach). 



Matthews 12 
In addition to the ways in which Slavic People across the CIS benefit from the 
ministries of SGA, Rockford area residents profit as well (King). SGA employs 28 
Rockford residents. The organization encourages volunteerism, thus advocating good 
community relations. With adequate storage space in their warehouses, it accepts and 
provides a place for donations and gives Rockford residents recognition for its gifts 
(King, "Local Relief'..). By serving people across the 1 1 time zones ("Regional Ministry 
Centers") of the CIS, it promotes international relations (King). 

Everything in the history of SGA was divinely orchestrated and prepared in 
advance by God. "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good 
works, which God prepared in advance for us to db"(Beers, Ephesians 2:10). 
Furthermore, Peter Deyneka's life is reminiscent of biblical patriarchs' like Abraham's 
and Moses'. God commanded Abraham to "leave your country, your people and your 
father's household and go to the land I will show you" (Beers, Genesis 12:1). Like 
Abraham, Peter traveled thousands of miles to an unfamiliar place from his country, his 
people and his family. It was in the United States that Peter walked the footsteps of faith 
after surrendering his life to Jesus Christ. And much like Moses, who walked by faith but 
did not live to see the fruits of his labor (Beers, Hebrews 1 1:39), Peter did not live to see 
the unveiling of SGA's newest home in Loves Park, Illinois. "In all things, God works for 
the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" (Beers, 
Romans 8:28). Indeed, God called Peter to the purpose of serving the people of Russia 
("Biography"). Through Peter's love of God and commitment to that purpose, God 
worked good in all of the things that occurred throughout Peter's life and SGA's history. 



Matthews 13 

Through various changes prior to and since SGA's birth in Loves Park, Illinois, 
its employees, the people they serve and area residents have experienced abundant 
blessings. Most importantly, the love of God continues to be proclaimed: "For God so 
loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall 
not perish but have eternal life" (Beers, John 3: 16). It is by believing in this truth from 
God's Word, that through temporal changes, SGA employees remain committed to 
serving God by leading people to trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. And 
ultimately lives are eternally changed. 



Matthews 14 
Works Cited 
"Aker Resigns as Group Leader." Rockford Register Star. 6 February 1994. sec. D: 5. 
Barnes, Maryann. Loves Park Mayor's Office 654-5030, February 2002. 
Beers, Ronald, ed. "Colossians 3:2." Life Application Study Bible, New International Version. 

Tyndale House Publishers and Zondervan Publishing House. P. 2165. 
Beers, Ronald, ed. "Ephesians 2:10." Life Application Study Bible, New International Version. 

Tyndale House Publishers and Zondervan Publishing House. P. 2133. 
Beers, Ronald, ed. "Genesis 12:1." Life Application Study Bible, New International Version. 

Tyndale House Publishers and Zondervan Publishing House. P. 26. 
Beers, Ronald, ed. "Hebrews 1 1:39." Life Application Study Bible, New International Version. 

Tyndale House Publishers and Zondervan Publishing House. P. 2238. 
Beers, Ronald, ed. "James 1:27." Life Application Study Bible, New International Version. 

Tyndale House Publishers and Zondervan Publishing House. P. 2246. 
Beers, Ronald, ed. "James 2:15-16." Life Application Study Bible, New International Version. 

Tyndale House Publishers and Zondervan Publishing House. P. 2248. 
Beers, Ronald, ed. "John 3:16." Life Application Study Bible, New International 

Version. Tyndale House Publishers and Zondervan Publishing House. P. 1878. 
Beers, Ronald, ed. "Mark 16:15." Life Application Study Bible, New International 

Version. Tyndale House Publishers and Zondervan Publishing House. P. 1 780. 
Beers, Ronald, ed. "Matthew 28:19." Life Application Study Bible, New International Version. 

Tyndale House Publishers and Zondervan Publishing House. P. 1721. 
Beers, Ronald, ed. "Psalm 10:14." Life Application Study Bible, New International Version. 

Tyndale House Publishers and Zondervan Publishing House. P. 910. 
Beers, Ronald, ed. "Psalm 68:5." Life Application Study Bible, New International Version. 

Tyndale House Publishers and Zondervan Publishing House. P. 975. 



Matthews 15 
Beers, Ronald, ed. "Romans 8:28". Life Application Study Bible, New International 

Version. T yndale House Publishers and Zondervan Publishing House. P. 2043. 
Beers, Ronald, ed. "Romans 13:8". Life Application Study Bible, New International 

Version. Tyndale House Publishers and Zondervan Publishing House. P. 2052. 
"Biography: Peter Deyneka Sr." Records of the Slavic Gospel Association-Collection 

237. Billy Graham Center Archives. 3 paragraphs. 16 February 2002. 

<http : //www. wheaton. edu/bgc/archi ves/guides/2 3 7 . html> 
"Church Planting." Slavic Gospel Association. 1 page. 21 April 2002. 

<http://www.sga.org/ministries/planting/index.html.> 
"Construction." Slavic Gospel Association. 1 page. 21 April 2002. 

<http://www.sga.org/ministries/construction/index.html.> 
"Cruelty and Neglect in Russian Orphanages." Human Rights Watch. Dec 1998. (Received copy 

of this report from Rich King at SGA) 
Doyle, Sean. Personal Interview. 16 February 2002. 
Gianisen, Rosemary. Personal Interview. 18 February 2002. 
Haney, Elissa. "Kosovo Factsheet." Updated 16 June 1999. 10 paragraphs. 24 March 

2002. <http://www.infoplease.com/spot/kosovo 1 .html>. 
"Historical Background." Records of the Slavic Gospel Association-Collection 237 

Billy Graham Center Archives. 9 paragraphs. 16 February 2002. 

http : //www . wheaton . edu/bgc/archi ves/gui des/2 3 7 . html 
"History." Slavic Gospel Association. 1 page. 20 January 2002. 

<http .//www. sga.org/about/history/index.htmI> 
"Humanitarian Aid." Slavic Gospel Association. 1 page. 10 April 2002. 

<http://www.sga.org/ministries/aid/index.html>. 
King, Richard. Personal Interview. 8 April 2002. 



Matthews 16 
Lickhach, Pavel. "'The Power of God to Redeem." SGA Insight. August 2001: 6. 
"Local Relief Effort 'Blessed'." Rockford Register Star. 10 April 1999, sec. A: 3. 
Maleva, Tayana. "What Sort of Russia has the New President Inherited?". April 2000. 

<http://pubs.carnegie/ru/english/briefings/2000/issue04-00.asp>. (Received a copy of this 

article from Rich at SGA) 
Matthews, Nichole. Observation of site of SGA. 8 March 2002. 
Matthews, Nichole. Personal experience. 2002. 
Montogomery, Dave. "Cruel Times For Russia's Children." Knight Ridder News Service . 4 Nov 

1998: 2 pp. <http://phillynews.com:80/inquirer/98/Nov/04/frontpage/KIDS04.htm>. 

(Received copy of this article from Rich King at SGA) 
Newsline . Vol. 5, No. 60, Part I. 27 March 2001. (Copy of a report from Rich King of SGA) 
Newsline . Vol. 6, No. 1 1, Part I. 17 January 2002. (Copy of a report from Rich King of SGA) 
"Orphans Reborn Program." Slavic Gospel Association. 1 page. 10 April 2002. 

<http://www. sga. org/ministries/OR/index.html>. 
Orphans Reborn: Reaching Russia's Forgotten Children. SGA. Videotape. 2000. 
"Our Financial Commitment to You." Slavic Gospel Association. 1 page. 10 April 2002. 

<http://www.sga.org/about/accountability/index.html>. 
Pauley, Janet. Personal Interview. 18 February 2002. 
Phillips, Sarah. "Cruelty and Neglect in Russian Orphanages." Human Rights Watch. Dec 1998. 

(Used a direct quote from this article made by Sarah Phillips. Received copy of this 

report from Rich King at SGA) 
"Regional Ministry Centers." Slavic Gospel Association. 1 page. 21 April 2002. 

<http://www.sga.org/ministries/RMC/index.html.> 
"Russia: Sacrificial Lambs". Cable News Network. 19 November 1998: 2 pp. 

<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/archives/Nov98/0310.html>. (Received copy of article from 



Matthews 17 

Rich King at SGA) 
"Slavic Group Names Provost as President." Rockford Register Star. 12 July 1994, 

sec. C: 6. 
Smith, Doug. Personal Interview. 22 Feb 2002. 
Smith, Doug. Email Interview. 15 March 2002. 
Smith, Doug. Email Interview. 19 March 2002. 

Suan, Anthony. "Documentary of the End of the Cold War." <www.time.com>. 
"Timeline." The Cold War Guide. 1 page. 17 February 2002. 

<http://www.thehistorynet.com/cs/coldwar/index.html > 
"Training." Slavic Gospel Association. 1 page. 21 April 2002. 

<http://www.sga.org/ministries/training/index.html.> 
Wolfe, Elizabeth. "Miramed Center Gives Orphans a Second Chance". The Moscow Times. 20 

March 2001: 1. (Received copy of this article from Rich King at SGA) 
Zuckerman, Mortimer. "Proud Russia on its Knees". U.S. News & World Report . 8 February 

1999: 1-2. (Received a copy of this article from Rich King at SGA.) 



APPENDIX A: Photographs 
Page 1 




All three photos shown here 
are of the initial phase 
of the construction of 
SGA in Loves Park, Illinois. 
As seen in two of the photos, 
the surrounding area is 
mostly trees. (Photo by 
Tim Dabner, SGA 
Photographer. Spring 1993) 





L 



APPENDIX A: Photographs 
Page 2 




The construction 
of the entryway . 
(Photo by Tim 
Dabner, SGA 
Photographer. 
1993) 



Front view from the 
northwest angle with 
the walls up and ready 
for brick laying. (Photo 
by Tim Dabner, SGA 
Photographer. 1993) 




The construction 
crew works at laying 
the bricks. (Photo 
by Tim Dabner, SGA 
Photographer. 1993) 



APPENDIX A: Photographs 
Page 3 



All three photos 
are a view of the 
inside of SGA 
during its 

construction. (Photo 
by Tim Dabner, SGA 
Photographer. 1993) 




APPENDIX A: Photographs 
Page 4 




More photos of 
the inside during 
construction. The 
drywall is up in the 
two lower photos. 
(Photo by Tim 
Dabner, SGA 
Photographer. 1993) 





APPENDIX A: Photographs 
Page 5 




An upclose photo 
of the solid and 
stately entryway. 
Two pillars create 
a foundation for the 
triangle-shaped 
overhang. 
(Photo by Tim 
Dabner, SGA 
Photographer. 1993) 



Northwest view of 
SGA in the final stages 
of the construction 
phase. Brick exterior 
is complete. (Photo 
by Tim Dabner, SGA 
Photographer. 1993) 



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Rear view of SGA 

in the final stages 
of construction. 
1 (Photo by Tim 
Dabner, SGA 



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Photographer. 1993) 



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APPENDIX A: Photographs 
Page 6 




The groundbreaking ceremony in February 1993. President John Aker speaks to the 
attendees, including Loves Park's Mayor Joseph Sinkiawic, staff members and local 
media. (Photo by Tim Dabner, SGA Photographer. Feb 1993.) 




Tom Clinton, former SGA VP of Ministry, holds up a drawing of the future site of SGA 
at the groundbreaking ceremony. (Photo by Tim Dabner, SGA Photographer. Feb 1993.) 



APPENDIX A: Photographs 
Page 7 




The flag of Kazakhstan. (Photo 
by Tim Dabner, SGA Photo- 
grapher. Date of photo unknown.) 



The flag of Ukraine. (Photo by 
Tim Dabner, SGA Photographer. 
Date of photo unknown.) 





The flag of Russia. (Photo 
by Tim Dabner, SGA Photo- 
grapher. Date of photo unknown.) 



The flag of Belarus. (Photo by 
Tim Dabner, SGA Photographer. 
Date of photo unknown.) 



APPENDIX A: Photographs 
Page 8 




The bold display 
of SLAVIC 
GOSPEL 
ASSOCIATION 

on the north side of 
its building. 
(Photo by Nichole 
Matthews. 8 Mar 2002) 



y 



The dedication plaque 
displayed on the large 
stone which lies 
beneath the flags 
in the northwest 
corner of the land. 
(Photo by Nichole 
Matthews. 8 March 
2002) 




APPENDIX A: Photographs 
Page 9 




Plethora of donated 
humanitarian aid from 
Rockford area residents for 
the "Kosovo Crisis" (Photo 
by Tim Dabner, SGA 
Photographer. April 1999. 



Once the humanitarian aid was 
organized, volunteers and SGA 
employees boxed it. As seen in 
the photo, the boxes are in the 
office area of SGA. Due to the 
abundance of donations, the 
warehouse could not hold it all. 
(Photo by Tim Dabner, SGA 
Photographer. Aprill 1999) 




Volunteers load the boxes 
of humanitarian aid into one 
of three 40-foot long 
containers. (Photo by Tim 
Dabner, SGA 
Photographer. April 1999) 



APPENDIX A: Photographs 
Page 10 




The bold and brilliant site of Slavic Gospel Association in Loves Park, Illinois. 

As shown in the picture, the 5 flags, which represent the United States 

and the four predominate countries served by SGA: 

Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, 

stand at full staff ready to greet their visitors. 

The stone dedicated to SGA's founder lies just beneath 

the flags and its name is boldly displayed behind the stone on the north side 

of the building. 
(Photo by Tim Dabner, SGA Photographer. Date unknown) 



Rockford Enters a New Age of Prosperity 




By Scott Edlund 



Scott Edlund 
NDF1 



Opportunity Knocks for State Street Bridge Travelers 

As the United States was ebbing ever westward, states were formed 
out of the rustic wilderness. In the year 1818, Illinois was granted statehood, 
starting a boom in population and industry, but that did not mean the 
wilderness had been settled. This fledgling state was to experience many 
growing pains, including the battles with the native Indians to be endured. In 
August of 1832, the Blackhawk War had ended and the immigrants 
venturing forth to claim homesteads for their families, were making great 
strides in development of their new land. Bridges and roads were of great 
importance for those early residents who had settled the land. 

Early pioneers faced many difficulties; travel and transportation were 
only two problems to be overcome. One settlement, founded in 1834, on the 
banks of the Rock River, was soon to be known as Rockford. Germanicus 
Kent and Thatcher Blake were given credit as the founders of this fair city. 
In the following year, the town population was told to be 27 people. 



Edlund Bridge 

As Rockford was growing, some of the settlers had split up, and 
inhabitants were now on both the east and west banks of the Rock River. 
The need for a bridge was soon apparent to both sides of the river. While the 
population of Rockford was growing, so too were the people's needs. 

Triumph and tragedy were to be experienced in these formative years 
by local residents. One highpoint of the burgeoning economy was a contract 
for construction in the sum of 5,500 dollars, awarded to Derastus Harper in 
1844, to build a bridge across the Rock River. The site chosen for this bridge 
was to connect State Street from east to west. Hewn of lumber from the 
government land on the Pecatonica River, this bridge was a boon to the local 
economy. The raw lumber was processed at the sawmill, owned and 
operated by Germanicus Kent. 

After numerous attempts, the earliest construction of this bridge was 
washed down river with an ice flow, the bridge construction was finished. 
Setting the project back, the builders and the townsfolk were not to be 
denied in this accomplishment. The 4 th of July, 1845, selected as the grand 
opening day, holds two special meanings for local inhabitants. 



Edlund Bridge 

Independence from England as well as the birth of one of the most 
important developments in local history is celebrated on that day. 

State Street was, and still is, a main thoroughfare of this city. "My 
company holds a State Street address, and I often see traffic problems in that 
area," Explains Mike Bunjan, co-owner of Medicine Man Graphic Design 
Studio, "but, that is a sign of better economy in the area." Traversing the 
river, the State Street Bridge connects east and west helping to facilitate 
commerce and convenience. 

The site has not changed in 157 years, although the bridge itself has 
undergone numerous rebuilds. The most recent rebuild of the bridge was 
completed by the Shappert Construction Company, using local tradesmen, 
spurring on the local employment rate. Only the first, in a long procession of 
construction contracts, the original bridge contract opened the door to local 
economy. 

During the reign of this bridge as a fixture of the downtown 
landscape, many advances in the construction field have taken place. The 
first bridge was made mostly of lumber and very little metal. The most 
recent rebuild was a modern marvel of concrete and steel. 



Edlund Bridge 



This was not the only renovation of the downtown area. A group of 
citizens have banded together to improve and infuse the area with a new 
vitality." The River District is a local organization, committed to revitalizing 
businesses and landscape in the downtown area of Rockford," Sandy Cohn, 
River District board member replies. A boon to travelers, the bridges of the 
Rock River valley offer easy access to both sides of Rockford. Becoming 
second nature, to traverse the river with such ease, these bridges are often 
overlooked as a vital part of the city infrastructure. "I cross the river about 
three times a week, just to have lunch." Sandy explained 

Imagine crossing the river in a boat or canoe, pioneers of the area had 
no choice in the matter. Current area residents do not seem to hold the same 
appreciation of the bridge as those early inhabitants did. For early residents 
of the Rock River Valley, who were struggling to make a new life for 
themselves, crossing the river was a very dangerous trip indeed. 

For those who may occasionally travel to the opposite side of the 
river, take a moment, on your next journey, to savor the efforts of local 
workmen that have provided this city with many bridges to cross the river. 



ML i - I HL 

ElEIEIiil 
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II K 








■■■■■■ 



■Hi^nHHB^l^HBH 



. 



SOURCES 



Bunjan, Mike. A Personal Interview. 4 April 2002. 

Church, Charles A. 

History of Rockford and Winnebago County, Illinois. 

First published in 1 900, by The New England Society of 

Rockford Illinois. Photographically reproduced in 1985, by 

Leonard and Mary Adrignola. Chapter 36, page 23 1 . 
Cohn, Sandy. A Personal Interview. 24 April 2002. 

Dunker, Joe. A Telephone Interview. 27 March 2002. 

Milo, Brian. Photographs contributed. 2002 

Sinnisippi Saga, A History of Rockford and Winnebago County, 

Illinois. Editor, Nelson, C. Hal. Copyright 1968, by C. Hjalmer 

Nelson and Dennis W. Johnson. Chronological history, pages 

503 to 535. 
United States Census Bureau. Online records at 

http;//quickfacts. census. gov 
Vaughn, Jason. A Personal Interview. 4 April 2002. 



Stewart's: A Place in Rockford's Past. 



Kyle Auman 

English 101 NDF1 

May 14, 2002 

Rockvalley Spring sem. 



Kyle Auman 
English 101 NDF1 
April 22, 2002 



Stewart's: A place in Rockford's Past. 



Rockford has had many of fine places to shop and to socialize in its many decades 
as a city. Some are more prominent than others such as Cherryvale Mall, where people 
travel from many surrounding areas to spend all day congregating and trading goods. 
Places such as Cherryvale will go down in history just as earlier historical shops have. 
When writing of history and shopping in the same article, one building in Rockford sticks 
out more than any other. The inventors of many modern ideas and the pioneers of young 
Rockford help stores get their start. Not only did these young businessmen and women 
help to start these stores, but also the stores helped to spark an interest in the community. 
The Stewart's store played a major role in Rockford's social upbringing. Not only did 
they give customers top quality products, but they also gave them excellent customer 
service and a state of the art shopping experience. 

Rockford was young, having a population of only around 13,129. It was the early 
1880's (Grimes 19). Along with young Rockford's small population came competitive 
business. With many of the city's storefronts being dry-good stores, it made for fierce 
competition for many families. Some of these new storeowners decided to team up and 
make this competition easier on themselves. The Stewarts had joined forces with the 
Brown family and used their resourceful and dependable partnership (Grimes 1 8). In 
1 883 Rockford got its first electricity from Electric Light and Power Company. This 
helped Rockford business to boom, and made it easier for others to join in the retail game 
of trade. 



The Brown and Stewart's store first occupied the 202 and 204 storefronts on 
North Main Street. After a little more than a decade the Browns and Stewarts parted 
ways. C.W. Brown lost interest in the store. The Stewarts then decided to build a new 
store and venture on their own. The new store was located at 1 1 3 to 117 South Main 
Street. This building was much larger than the previous. The first building was 22 feet by 
75 feet and was dwarfed by the new one which was 44 feet by 1 56 feet plus three floors 
on top of that (Grimes 26). With this new space D.J. Stewart could also use a new 
supplier, which he got when contacted by Marshall Fields of Chicago. D.J. Stewart had 
now begun to make his mark. When he expanded he also gained great publicity from the 
local paper. The founder of the Morning Star, Henry Starr, wrote an article stating 
Stewart's successes. Henry was not only founder of the major newspaper of Rockford but 
he was also a former partner of both Brown and Stewart. 

By 1 900, Stewart had made a major impact on Rockford. Along with many other 
D.J. took interest in the growth of his town. In 1900 the plans for the Rockford Country 
Club were finished and building had begun. In 1 904 the new City Hall had been 
completed, along with Memorial Hall (Grimes 38). 

Stewart not only impacted Rockford but town and cities for miles around. Women 
brought their children and traveled for hundreds of miles. These families spent all day 
shopping and enjoying themselves in downtown Rockford. The store gave these women a 
place to socialize and gossip. Clerks at the store bonded with customers and had close 
relationships with many. While bonding with the customers the clerks learned favorite 
colors and styles, along with the latest news. 



In December of 1922 D.J. Stewart passed away. The store and community was 
saddened. D.J. Stewart had been the man who helped the store grow and managed it 
when it was at its peak. D.J. was the one who had the idea for the stores move and the 
vision of the four-story store. Not only did he control the store but he also helped to 
control Rockford's growing industry. He was present of many industrial committees and 
helped to run Barnes Drill Company (Grimes). After his death the store would not be the 
same. 

After D.J.'s Death in 1922 Sturtevant Stewart took control. Sturtevant was the 
grandson of D.J. He graduated from Univ. of Wisconsin with a degree in electrical 
engineering. Sturtevant would be the last Stewart family member to run the store. 
Sturtevant died in 1976 but the memory of the store would live on. 

The building still remains in the same location to this day. When driving west 
down East State cross the bridge and look to the left. There is a building with green 
awnings. On the awning it reads Stewart's Square. The building is now a shopping mall, 
not owned by the Stewart's but it is still a place to socialize and shop. The memory of the 
Stewarts lives on. They were a family that wanted to give their community quality goods 
and a place to congregate. 



L 



■*",'#!■* 



Work Cited 

Auman, Linda. Personal interview. March 20, 2002 

Cleveland, Dr. Joseph. "Sturtevant Stewart". Rockford, Illinois. March 1 9, 1 976. 
Grimes, Mollie. The Stewart Story. D.J. Stewart & Company. Rockford, Illinois. 1966 
Niman, Delyle. Personal interview. March 20, 2002. 




Picture taken 1887, in front of D.J. Stewarts 202-204 South Main Street (Stewart Story). 




Inside D.J. Stewarts during the 1900^ (Stewart Story) 



L 



Hamilton Sundstrand: Yesterday and Today 



Tony Saladino 

14 May 2002 

English 101 

Rock Valley College 



Tony Saladino 

English 101 Section RRM 

May 1,2002 

Hamilton Sundstrand: Yesterday and Today 

Hamilton Sundstrand needs no introduction to those who live in the city of 

Rockford, Illinois. Hamilton Sundstrand has been in existence in the Rockford 

community for more than three quarters of a century and is a common name and place to 

those who live in the community. Over the years, Hamilton Sundstrand has progressed at 

a rapid pace. The innovation of leadership allowed Sundstrand to evolve and has 

established them as Rockford's largest industrial employer. 

Before Sundstrand became Sundstrand there had to be ideas. In the early 1900s 

Rockford was a thriving city. "Four young men, who worked in different jobs in 

Rockford, met frequently to discuss the happenings and opportunities of the times. One 

was Levin Faust, a investor and stockholder in a factory, another was Hugo Olson, a 

cashier and bookkeeper for an insurance company, and the other two were Swan 

Anderson and Elmer Lutzoff, who were tool makers working at various machine shops. 

As their discussions continued, the young men became enthused with the ambition to 

form their own company," This is Sundstrand . 

In late 1905, three of the men, Faust, Lutzoff and Anderson, pooled their money 

together and opened Rockford Tool Company. With an idea and $1,500 the company 

went into the manufacturing of a small cutter chuck for the city's thriving furniture 

industry. (Lundin 191). Rockford Tool originally opened in an old stone building in the 

Water Power District, where many young companies began, because the Rock River 



Saladino 2 

offered a large source of inexpensive power This is Sundstrand . Hugo Olsen later joined 
the partnership after helping the company out of a financial situation. 

Later in 1909, the Rockford Milling Machine Company, owned by Oscar 
Sundstrand and his brother-in-law Edwin Cedarleaf, opened in the same building as the 
Rockford Tool Company (Lundin 191). Rockford Milling Machine Company was the 
manufacturer of bench-type milling machines. Both companies were going through ups 
and downs and were struggling financially. On the advice of Hugo Olsen the two 
companies pooled their capital to better withstand financial struggles. Hugo Olsen served 
as an investor and advisor in both companies. In 1911, Rockford Milling Machine moved 
to the corner of Harrison Avenue and Eleventh Street. A year after, Rockford Tool 
moved across the street (Lundin 191). 

An invention that helped spark the company's success was the invention of a 10- 
key adding machine by the Sundstrand brothers. They first got the idea of the adding 
machine when they peaked through a window of an appliance business store and saw an 
adding machine with nine rows of nine keys and thought they could simplify it. Before 
that day, they had never seen one before, so they were starting from scratch. David 
Sundstrand, who was the company's chief engineer and chronic thinker with mechanics, 
produced the first working model in 1911, secured its patents in 1913 and sold the first 
one in 1914 "Sundstrand Still Creating". The ten-key adding machine swept the domestic 
market at the time of the First World War. Sundstrand Adding Machine Company was 
formed as a subsidiary of Rockford Milling Machine. The Sundstrand Figuring Machine 
continued to be a national sales leader well into the next decade, with corporations such 
as Sears and Standard Oil making regular volume purchases. (Lundin 116). 



Saladino 3 

In 1926, Rockford Tool and Rockford Milling primary companies were 
combined to form the Sundstrand Machine Tool Company, with Hugo Olsen as President. 
Also in that same year the adding machine business was sold to Elliot Fisher. Sundstrand 
continued to produce adding machines for Underwood-Elliot-Fisher under contract until 
1933 (Carroll). Sundstrand' s new focus was on hydraulic systems, which would apply to 
machine tools. Sundstrand's first hydraulic machine tool in the early 1930's led to gather 
applications of fluid power in the succeeding years, such as fuel oil pumps, automatic 
lathes, and hydraulic transmissions for aircraft. This was very typical of Rockford's 
industry in the 1930s and 1940s, as fluid power became the state-of-the art in machining 
operations (Lundin 117). 

Sundstrand went on to form a Hydraulics division from all this newly-acquired 
business. In the war years to come, 1939-1945, Sundstrand was devoted to high-level 
production with two daily shifts meeting the heavy demand for machine tools used to 
make numerous aircraft parts. "By 1945 military aircraft were shifting from direct current 
(DC) to alternating current (AC) electrical systems. A device was needed to drive an 
aircraft AC generators. Sundstrand's answer to that was a hydraulic constant speed drive 
(CSD) transmission, which converts the variable speed of the engine into a constant speed 
to run the generator" (Carroll). The drive made aviation history. This opened up the 
gates for Sundstrand's Aviation Division. 

In the upcoming years, Sundstrand became more diversified in the type of 
product they made. Sundstrand's product is seen in everything from home furnaces to 
fighter jets. In 1959 Sundstrand Machine Tool Company was ready for a new name. 
'The name modification had been under study for some time," Olsen said. "Even while 



Saladino 4 

the machine tool division of our company has continued to expand through product 
developments and acquisitions, the 3 3 -year-old name has failed to reflect the rapid 
growth which also has taken place in non-machine tool operations," he added 
("Sundstrand Name Change.."). The company was now called, Sundstrand Corporation. 

With steady growth Sundstrand created several new businesses, leveraging 
technology spin-offs. By 1962, there were four operating divisions: Machine Tool, 
Hydraulics, Hydro-Transmission and Aviation, which had become the dominant supplier 
of electrical power systems for commercial aircraft and proven supplier of other engine 
and air frame accessories, as well as a supplier of secondary power actuation for 
commercial, military and space applications, including NASA's Dyna-Soar manned space 
program" (Carroll). This large increase in business for Sundstrand's Aviation Division 
caused Sundstrand to look for a new area to construct a building for Sundstrand's 
research and testing equipment. "Construction of a 400,000 square-foot research and 
development center for Sundstrand Corporation Aviation Division broke ground in May 
16, 1966. The multi-million dollar engineering, testing, and office complex will be built 
on an 88-acre tract on the South East comer of Alpine Road and Harrison Avenue" 
("Sundstrand to Construct. . ."). 

Evans W. Erickson, Sundstrand's Aviation Manager, said, "Sundstrand was 
virtually forced into the big building project. Its aviation business had expanded rapidly 
the past few years and it's expected to increase sharply over the next several years". Plant 
Engineer Rowland W Adrian added, "The new facility will be home to Sundstrand's 
Aviation research and Development Division. About 800 engineering employees will 
move into the facility in late February 1967" ("Sundstrand to Construct..."). This was 



Saladino 5 

just the first stage of the Sundstrand Aviation project. Future additions to the plant site 
include another building, increasing the total space to 840,000 square feet. Erickson 
states, 'The goal is to make the 88-acre complex an integrated, complete facility". The 
newest of the Sundstrand plant sites would become occupied in early 1968 ("Sundstrand 
Building Project. . ."). The Harrison Ave. plant would later go on to be awarded one of 
the top ten plants built in 1968 ("Sundstrand Plant Among. . ."). The construction of 
Sundstrand 's Harrison Avenue and Alpine Road research and development center was the 
result of the company's success in the aerospace market. The facility was a showcase for 
both Rockford and Sundstrand to the aerospace industry. 

For Sundstrand, the 1970s was a continuation of rapid growth. Sundstrand' s 
success was due to being awarded major key contracts. A key contract Sundstrand was 
awarded was supplying parts for the B-l Bomber. Sundstrand supplied the aircraft's 
constant speed drive and wing sweep actuation system. In the future, these products 
contributed to increased sales volume ("2 Rockford Firms. . ."). Another development 
that was very beneficial to Sundstrand and its employees was the development of the 
actuation systems for the Lockheed L- 1011 commercial aircraft. Down the road this 
would prove to save several Sundstrand employees their jobs ("Sundstrand Praises. . ."). 
At the end of the decade Sundstrand developed an electrical power generating systems 
(EPGS). This was later selected by Boeing for their 757 and 767 and by Airbus's A3 10. 
With all this new business Sundstrand continued to grow and prosper into the 1980s 
(Hamilton Sundstrand). 

The 1980s served as a good time for growth for Sundstrand Corporation. Some 
very important acquisitions were made during the early '80s that helped Sundstrand get 



Saladino 6 

more involved in the manufacturing of aviation navigation systems ("Firm's Purchase 
Flies. . ."). The first was Sullair Corporation. Sullair was based in Michigan City, 
Indiana, and was a leading manufacturer of air compressor engines. Another important 
acquisition of the '80s was Signatron Incorporated. Signatron was a Lexington, 
Massachusetts-based Company, which manufactured aviation navigation equipment. 
These along with other acquisitions in the early 80' s steered Sundstrand away from the 
older industries, it once operated and more towards the Aerospace Industry. The 
Aerospace Industry looked to be the future of the company ("Finns Purchase Flies. . ."). 

During the Reagan era of the 1980s, Sundstrand saw a high increase in business. 
This was due to President Reagan building up the military's Air Force. Mike Epling, a 
GM for international business, states that, "The cold war brought about a lot of 
government spending on defense systems. During the Regan era Sundstrand's 
manufacturing was 80% military and 20% commercial compared to today's 80% 
commercial and 20% government" (Epling). A prime example of this was President 
Reagan's decision to build 100 B-l bombers. This would mean more than $120 million 
worth of business for Rockford's Sundstrand Corporation ("B-l to Benefit..."). 

In the late 1980s, Sundstrand's pride and reputation took a huge dive. An 
investigation began in 1986 into Sundstrand fraudulently charging the government. In 
1987 Sundstrand was charged with four counts of fraud. "Those counts were: Count 
One: From at least August 1981 to June 1985, Sundstrand hid millions of dollars in cost 
overruns on contracts deliberately underbid to give the competitive edge. Count Two: 
From at least February 1980 to November 1986, 30 unnamed field marketing employees 
in Sundstrand's Washington, DC, and Dayton, Ohio, offices wined and dined Defense 



Saladino 7 

Department employees and their spouses in a conspiracy to improve Sundstrand's ability 
to market hardware to the Defense Department. Count Three: From at least April 1983 
to December 1984, Sundstrand took millions of dollars in tax write-offs for parts 
supposedly scrapped, but instead warehoused in Rochelle and Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, 
until they could be re-sold to the government. Count Four: From at least January 1980 to 
January 1987, Sundstrand billed the government for millions of dollars in perks for 
company bigwigs, including such things as baby-sitting, saunas, golf, movies, dog 
kennels, snowplowing, radar detectors, executive's servants and entertainment" ("Details 
of the..;'). 

On October 21, 1988 Sundstrand Corporation pleaded guilty in a federal court to 
all four counts of fraud and paid $198 million in fines. That was the largest defense- 
contract fraud case up to that time. "The Chicago Sun Times gave Sundstrand its Golden 
Rodent award for suckering the government out of tax payer dollars in so many cunning 
ways" (Lundin 136-137). Company executives used government funds to pay for 
household servants, liquor, lavish birthday parties, travel, country club memberships, air 
shows, and numerous other extravagant perks. "Birthday parties for executives or their 
spouses cost as much as $50,000 each. At one of them, the driveway at a home was 
carpeted, a huge piano was bought rather then rented, a huge tent was set up on the lawn, 
and liquor was provided for hundreds of guests all at the governments expense. Company 
employees sometimes were recruited to plan the parties, and anybody who raised 
questions was told that it was a condition of employment" (Lundin 137). Dale True, now 
a 25-year inspector with the company recalls, "This was a very bad period for the 
company a lot of the workers downstairs felt betrayed and cheated" (True). At the end of 



Saladino 8 

this time of turmoil, Sundstrand needed to find a way to get back on its feet and regain the 
government and communities trust. 

In 1 987, Harry Stonecipher entered the company, and became the key to getting 
Sundstrand back on its feet. "Stonecipher, 58, came to Rockford after working for 
General Electric for 26 years, bringing experience the company needed. At this time the 
government was investigating Sundstrand for irregularities in defense contracts and 
Stoncipher had been through such investigations at General Electric. Nine months after 
bumping to Sundstrand, Stonecipher became its president. Two months after Sundstrand 
pleaded guilty to defense fraud and was suspended from doing new business with the 
military, Stonecipher took over. In 1988 Sundstrand chairman Evans Erickson resigned 
and Stonecipher added CEO to his business card. With Stonecipher at the helm, by early 
1989 the company had resolved all fraud charges after agreeing to pay nearly $200 
million to settle them. It again qualified for government contracts. The fraud case cast a 
shadow over Sundstrand in Rockford. Stonecipher set out to change that image. In two 
years, he helped raise $9 million for community projects. Employees were strongly 
encouraged to get involved in the community and support such causes as United Way" 
("Sundstrand at a Glance"). 

While working to change the company's damaged community image, Stonecipher 
set out to change the company, which is exactly what he did. John F. McDonnell states 
about Stonecipher's stay with Sundstrand, "Harry restored Sundstrand's credibility with 
the Department of Defense, developed and put in place a top notch management team, 
instituted self directed work teams, developed outstanding relations with the unions, 
focused Sundstrand's many business and dramatically improved their financial 



Saladino 9 

performance ("Sundstrand at a Glance"). These changes would lead Sundstrand into the 
'90s with positive out-look and plan for future business. Steve Meyers, an engineer at the 
time, "Remembered the end of eighties being a very positive time for the company. 
Morale was high and the outlook of the future was good. Talk of fraud and unrest was 
mostly forgotten (Meyers). 

Entering the '90s on a strong foot, Sundstrand was prepared to make numerous 
acquisitions and acquire many new contracts. A strong acquisition of the early '90s was 
Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Mike Epling states, "Westinghouse was a main 
competitor of Sundstrand. The buyout was a strategic business decision to eliminate our 
primary competitor" (Epling). During this time Sundstrand focused on increasing sales 
and earnings through overseas aerospace and industrial markets "Sundstrand Target of. 
Later in the decade, Sundstrand was subject to its biggest change since becoming 
Sundstrand Corporation. In early 1999, stock prices skyrocketed amid rumors, that the 
cites largest manufacturing employer could be a take over target (Sundstrand target of. . .). 
The author notes this was a time of many rumors. People were not too sure what to 
believe. Many questioned what the future held for Sundstrand. Rumors continued to fly 
around the plant like wild fire. 

Then, in March of 1999, United Technologies Corporation of Hartford, 
Connecticut announced a deal to buy Sundstrand Corporation and merge with subsidiary 
Hamilton Standard in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. The new company was named 
Hamilton Sundstrand. By June of 1999 United Technologies Corporation purchase of 
Sundstrand would be complete ("Sundstrand Chief. . ."). The acquisition better enabled 
United Technologies to complete against competing companies such as General Electric 



Saladino 10 

and Rolls Royce. It allowed Hamilton Sundstrand customers to do more one-stop 
shopping (Hamilton Sundstrand). 

On the personal side of the buy-out, the author remembers first reactions of the 
employees to be very negative. The employees felt betrayed and let down by its leaders. 
Most employees became very worried about possible downsizing. As the years 
progressed, there were layoffs. Epling states, "Many of these layoffs were due to the 
downturn in the aerospace industry and not because of the lay off (Epling). In the 
author's eyes the layoff was a slap in the face to many employees. It was a wake up call 
to how the real world works. Before the merger Sundstrand was a very naive company, 
financially. 

In order to establish a strong company over a long period one must be willing to 
make changes. Sundstrand made numerous changes throughout the years to stay among 
the top of the industry businesses. Today, Hamilton Sundstrand is currently positioned as 
a market leader in the commercial and military aerospace markets. Their products display 
the latest technologies and highest level of reliability in this industry. Sundstrand began 
as a market leader, and Hamilton Sundstrand is continuing on with this position on a 
global scale. 



Works cited 

"2 Rockford Firms Build Parts for B-l". Star. 30 January 1973. Rockford Public 

Library, Rockfordiana files. 
"B-l to benefit Sundstrand". RStar . 4 October 1981. Rockford Public Library, 

Rockfordiana files. 
Carroll, Colleen. E-mail. 22 February 2002. 
"Changing the Way of Business". RStar . 27 September 1994. Rockford Public Library, 

Rockfordiana files. 
"Details of the Changes". RStar . 13 October 1988. Rockford Public Library, 

Rockfordiana files. 
Epling, Mike. Personal Interview. 27 March 2002. 
"Firms Purchase Flies Sundstrand Toward New Goal". RStar . 29 Novemberl984. 

Rockford Public Library, Rockfordiana files. 
Hamilton Sundstrand. "Our Company". 2002. Online. Intranet. 15 March 2002. URL: 

www.hsd.utc.com/abouths.html 
Lundin, John W. Rockford . American Historical Press: 1989. 
Meyers, Steve. Personal Interview. 25 March 2002. 
"Sundstrand at a Glance". RStar . 1 1 November 1988. Rockford Public Library, 

Rockfordiana files. 
"Sundstrand Biography: Sundstrand began". Origination unknown. E-Mail. Received 

from Colleen Carroll at Hamilton Sundstrand. 4 March 2002. 
"Sundstrand Building Project Is Only Part Of Long Range Plan". RR- 22 Aug 1966. 

Rockford Public Library, Local History Room, vertical files. 



"Sundstrand Chief Blames Overall Drop in Aerospace". RStar . 22 September 1999. 

Rockford Public Library, Rockfordiana files. 
"Sundstrand Name Change is Approved". Star . 29 Apr 1959 Rockford Public Library, 

Local History Room, vertical files. 
"Sunstrand Plant Among Top Ten Plants". Star . 1 May 1969. Rockford Public Library, 

Local History Room, vertical files. 
"Sundstrand Praises Lockheed Loan Vote". Star . 4 August 1971. Rockford Public 

Library, Rockfordanian files. 
"Sunstrand Still Creating". R Star . 30 Nov 1969. Rockford Public Library, Local 

History Room, vertical files. 
"Sundstrand Sustains Rapid Rate of Growth". Star . 30 January 1973. Rockford Public 

Library, Rockfordiana files. 
"Sundstrand Target of Possible Buyout?" RStar . 20 February 1999. Rockford Public 

Library, Rockfordiana files. 
"Sunstrand To Construct Complex Here". Star . 8 May 1966. Rockford Public Library, 

Local History Room, vertical files. 
This Is Sundstrand . Author unknown. Rockford Public Library, Local History Room, 

vertical files. 4 March 2002. 
True, Dale. Personal Interview. 1 April 2002. 




TOP: Illustration of Hamilton Sundstrand's plant 6 facility, located at 4747 Harrison Ave. Rockford IL. 61 108. 

Picture was taken from Alpine Road just south of Harrison Avenue. 

BELOW: Illustration of Hamilton Sundstrand's plant 6 facility, located at 4747 Harrison Ave. Rockford IL. 61 108. 

Picture was taken from Harrison Avenue, just west of Alpine Road. 

PHOTOS TAKEN BY TONY SALADINO 




; 

(i 







ABOVE: Picture shows Southeast corner of Hamilton Sundstrand's plant 6 facility, located at 4747 
Harrison Ave. Rockford IL. 61 108. Picture is taken on a calm summer afternoon in early summer. 
PHOTOS TAKEN BY TONY SALADINO 

BELOW: Picture shows Southwest corner of Hamilton Sundstrand's plant 6 facility, located at 4747 
Harrison Ave. Rockford IL. 61 108. Picture is taken on a calm summer afternoon in early summer. 




I 




TOP AND BOTTOM: Both are views of the West side of Hamilton Sundstrand's plant 6 facility, 
located at 4747 Harrison Ave. Rockford IL. 61 108. Picture is taken on a calm summer afternoon in 
early summer. 
PHOTOS TAKEN BY TONY SALADINO 




i 



3 




All 3 photos view Hamilton Sundstrand's plant 6 facility, located at 4747 Harrison Ave. Rockford IL. 61 108. 
Picture is taken on a calm summer afternoon in early summer. The pictures show the front end of the building 
where most of the offices are located. PHOTOS TAKEN BY TONY SALADINO 




. 




The West Side Symbol 
West Middle School 



Kim Ponder 

Spring Semester 2002 

English 101 

Rock Valley College 



West Middle School, as it is now called, was a building that emerged from a vacant lot on 
Rockton Avenue. When it was built it became one of our city's and society's symbols of human 
resolve during an era of depression and war. It was a metamorphosis of a decaying, down 
trodden Central High School into a beautifully-built, sleekly designed, new west side high school 
for our children to attend. Today, many individuals may, by definition, consider it an historical 
landmark in our community. Some may just remember the controversy that surrounds the 
building, the students, or the educational system that can not decide its fate 

West Middle School is located approximately three miles west of the 
Rock River. This is a large part of where the history of WEST Middle School begins and so 
shall these directions and our journey. 

The Rock River runs north to south through the city of Rockford, for which the city is 
named. North Second Street or Highway 251, lies on the east bank of the river and follows the 
rivers path through the city. It can be accessed from any direction around the city of Rockford. 
From as far north as the Illinois/Wisconsin state line, to as far south as the U.S. 20 bypass, one 
can intersect with Highway 25 1 on almost any major east/west road that bridges the Rock River 



Kim Ponder 
Page Two 



Traveling on North Second Street/Highway 251 there is an unmistakably large orange 
statue standing like a beacon at the edge of the river. This distinctive landmark lets one know 
that he/she has reached the Auburn Street cloverleaf exchange, which is our starting point. 
Regardless from which direction that the journey began, exit the exchange toward the river 
heading west on Spring Creek/ Auburn Street. 

At this point cross the Rock River over the Auburn Street Bridge. The orange Symbol, as 
it is interestingly called, should be exiting view. Directly in front is a picturesque view of 
historical homes resting along the river. Welcome to the WEST side of Rockford. Continue 
heading west on Auburn Street, through its residential pathway for several blocks. On the right, 
St. Mary/St. James and Greenwood cemeteries, encompass a whole city block On the right, 
nestled in the corner of the cemetery, is a subdued, yet peaceful, war memorial. Continue 
heading west on Auburn Street for several more blocks, and the residential homes give way to 
small to medium size older apartment buildings. Reaching the corner of Auburn Street and 
Rockton Avenue, on the right- hand side of the road are remnants of what was once a Hardees 
Restaurant, now with boarded up windows and real estate sign left in its wake. At this 
intersection, turn right heading north on Rockton Avenue. When passing across the train tracks a 
large beige building begins to emerge on the left just past the Mr Clean dry cleaners 



Kim Ponder 
Page Three 



Depending on the time of day, or day of the week, there may be a hustle and bustle of school 
children, lines of big yellow buses, and the lonely crossing guard in the sea of cars, directing 
traffic. Or there may be a lonely, quiet, empty shell of a building, with only its wonderful 
memories echoing through the hallways. 

In the early 1930's history shows that our country, including Rockford, had been hit hard 
by depression. The census figures in Rockford had dropped from 85, 828 in 1930, to 84, 687 in 
1940 (Welcome to Rockford Illinois). Amongst high unemployment and lower populations, the 
Rockford School Board began a battle to build a new high school. They insisted that a new high 
school was desperately needed. They armed themselves with a University of Michigan study 
that indicated that the old Central High School was overcrowded, located in a hazardous area, 
and was a dangerous firetrap. Interestingly enough, the land ( 1 5.29 acres, at a cost of 
$30,580.00) had already been purchased back in 193 1 in the height of the Depression ("West 
High School." 22a). The University of Michigan survey was not completed until several years 
later, and not presented to the taxpayers until 1938. Information surrounding whom the original 
owners of the land on Rockton Avenue and its purchase has been rather difficult to clarify. 

At this point, battle lines were drawn. Members of the Winnebago County Taxpayers 
Association were strong opponents of the need for new schools. Their argument was that the 



Kim Ponder 
Page Four 



plan was designed only to help "the bus business, a favored few sub-dividers and bond 
salesmen." ("Goodbye West High: 49 Years of Memories" 3d.) In what might be considered a 
coincidence, buses had just replaced electric streetcars in Rockford in July of 1936. The 
Association also strongly aired concerns related to funding and location issues. 

The voters of Winnebago County silenced the bickering. They overwhelmingly approved 
a school referendum to build one high school on either side of the city as a compromise. The 
cease-fire did not last long. The debate over administration, teachers, school property, and 
school pride exploded. The reigning Central High School principal, James E. Blue, was required 
to choose which of the two schools he would like to oversee. He chose West High School 
Many people recall that he brought the elite teachers, all of which had to have a master's degree, 
with him to West High School. It became a competition over which school had the "best" of 
everything. This led the school district to try to make both schools as identical as possible, just 
geographically different ("Goodbye West High: 49 Years of Memories" 18d .). 

Lost in the political shuffle, were the students. Many recalled the sadness and tears over 
leaving classmates as the students were designated to their new school The students agonized 
over which school would retain the school song, school colors, trophies, and memorabilia. 
Although the school board decided to leave both schools with the same colors and school song. 



Kim Ponder 
Page Five 



as an attempt to ease the tension, a sense of resentment and competition between the schools and 
students began, that would last for decades. 

A strange sense of calmness seemed to settle in after the initial upheaval was resolved. It 
was the calm before the storm. By the middle of 1940, just as the school board had predicted, 
the funding ran out. Amongst the turmoil that September, our nation's Selective Service 
Program was enacted. By November, the taxpayers were asked to support a school tax rate 
increase to supplement the operating budget shortfalls, which was rejected. This caused a 
spiraling effect of what schools, programs, and administration, should be cut. By the following 
November 1941, the school board ordered all schools closed, citing shortages of operating funds 
("History 1901-1941"). 

Within a few short weeks, Rockford school issues were overshadowed by the attack on 
Pearl Harbor, as the declaration of war shocked the city and the country. Rockford, as the 
country's focus changed, it became a war workshop, producing military necessities. In the 
shadows of our honor, on December 16, 1941, in a special school election the city 
overwhelmingly voted to increase the educational-fund tax and support our schools' needs for 
funding ("History 1901-1941") 

Rockford could now proudly declare that it supported the education of its students 
Would it have happened if the circumstances had been different? We will never know. 



Kim Ponder 
Page Six 



Do you believe in time travel? Move your clock ahead sixty years and look at the same building 
on Rockton Avenue, the school district, and our educational system, and you be the judge 

Architect Jesse Barloga designed the exterior of West Middle School choosing an Art 
Deco and Art Modern style, which immediately set it apart as a building of the 1930 "great 
American architecture movement" ("How Much Will History Cost District 7 " 4a). With the 
zigzag brick clusters and bas-relief stone carvings at the main entrance, block glass windows, 
horizontal design lines and curved section of the building, there is no mistaking the fact that this 
building was unique to cultural architectural history. Of the hundreds of area buildings designed 
by Barloga, only two remain, the Rockford Register Star News Tower and West Middle School 
("History May Save West." la). As distinct and different as its outward appearance, this 
building also stood out for its inward educational controversy. 

Until the spring of 1989, the building at 1900 Rockton Avenue operated as a high school. 
Then, in the fall of that year, under much controversy, it became a middle school. In 1996, citing 
legal constraints, evidence of physical deterioration, and cost constraints to refurbish, there was 
talk of closing the school and possibly tearing it down. This is what began the quest to define the 
school as a historical landmark in 1996. Alice Saudargas and Glenda Shaver began a mission to 
save "our school" ("History May Save West." la). They began with petitions and an application 
for landmark status. This stirred up controversy as to cost implications to taxpayers, and 
constraints 



Kim Ponder 
Page Seven 



to the school board to maintain the building. As these women gained support for their cause, and 

as approvals picked up steam, a whisper was heard about changing the school back into a high 

school. It seemed as if that whisper calmed all fears, and like the effect of water on 

a steaming fire, a hush fell over the ladies' request for landmark approval The topic seemed to 

just fade away into the landscape. Does it really need to be a landmark'? What makes it 

historical? 

To find the history of West Middle School, just ask alumni of the school. They will, 
with pride and without hesitation, tell everything one needs to know. Maida Kalb, class of '56, 
tells stories of basketball championships, life-long schoolmate friendships, and teachers that 
inspired her to continue her education and become a teacher herself. Cathy Logsdon, class of 
78, recalls memories of swim team, field hockey, dances, and graduation ceremonies. Kevan 
Kalb, class of '86, states "to this day, 1 remember the teachers, and how they encouraged me to 
follow my dreams". 

Many prominent people have passed through those stone carvings at the front entrance of 
the school. In the late 1970s Rockford's mayor, the superintendent of schools and chief of police 
were all West High School graduates (""Goodbye West High: 49 Years of Memories " 15d) 
Ron Merriott, 78:01ympic Bronze medal winner; Aidan Quinn, 77:film star-Desperately 
Seeking Susan and others; Ben Abruzo, '48:first Trans-Atlantic balloon flight ("Goodbye West 
High: 49 Years of Memories." I5d), are all alumni. These are the faces, souls, and spirits 



Kim Ponder 
Page Eight 



that this author sees as the prominent landmarks and memorable objects in the landscape of the 
building. 

There is no need to have the Historical Preservation Commission tell people that the 
building called West Middle School is a historical landmark. The heart of the school, as the 
Laing family explained it "The pride that went into West... will never die even if you tear it to 
the ground" ("Panel Advances Quest for Historic Status." 3a), will always remain 

West Middle School is also an important historical thread through many generations in 
this writer's family. Three generations have either graduated high school or attended middle 
school classes, in the building that stands at 1900 Rockton Avenue. Over the years I have 
listened to my mother tell of her fond memories of Central High School being separated into 
West and East High School. She tells stories describing how beautiful the new building was, and 
how proud she was to be a student at West High School. She tells stories about the sporting 
events, theatrical reviews, dances, and how her mind wanders to these fond memories, each time 
she drives by the building. 

My sister, brother and 1 also graduated from West High School. We have our own 
memories of the building, although ours may not be as grandiose as my mothers. We attended in 
the era of quiet gymnasiums (no sports due to budget constraints), smoking in the alley next to 



Kim Ponder 
Page Nine 

the building, and fights in the hallways over racial issues. Yet, we all proudly proclaim that we 

graduated from that same building at 1900 Rockton Avenue. My nieces and nephews also went 

to school in the same building although it was called West Middle School. Their memories seem 

less precious. They were delivered to school in the big yellow buses that line up in a solid row in 

front of the building. Dilapidated tennis courts and rusty field equipment confirm the lack of 

sports and school activities. 

My whole family was very sad when the decision was made to turn the building into a 
middle school. Together, as if as a group we could support one another, we all attended the 
memory walk at the school before it was converted into a middle school. We all thoroughly 
enjoyed seeing all of the historical data displayed on that walk down memory lane 

While looking at the building today, it is apparent that the bricks and mortar were laid to 
with stand the tests of time. The brown brick building stands tall and grand amongst its 
residential setting. Its many sets of rust color doors almost welcoming one to come in, proudly 
displaying its sign of name sake, West Middle School and crest of honor, the Warriors, with 
expanses of windows for the children to look out into the world and us to look into our 
memories. One can almost sense how it once was, and maybe still is: one of Rockford's elite, 
West Side schools. The building is not as cold as the brick and mortar that the building is made 
of. This author believes that each brick represents a person in time, and space, that creates the 
building. The love, spirit, and memories create the historical mortar that holds that building 
together. It is today and will always be a landmark in the hearts of many 



Works Cited 

Funk and Wagner. New International Dictionary of the English Language . Chicago:Ferguson, 2001 
"Goodbye West High: 49 Years of Memories". Rockford Register Star . 6 June 1989: 3d. 

Rockfordiana Files Rockford Public Library 
"Goodbye West High: 49 Years of Memories". Rockford Register Star . 6 June 1989: 15d. 

Rockfordiana Files Rockford Public Library. 
"Goodbye West High: 49 Years of Memories". Rockford Register Star . 6 June 1989: 18d. 

Rockfordiana Files Rockford Public Library. 
"History May Save West". Rockford Register Star . 3 Jan. 1996: la. Rockfordiana Files 

Rockford Public Library. 
"How Much Will History Cost District?". Rockford Register Star . 13 Feb. 1996: 4a. 

Rockfordiana Files Rockford Public Library. 
Infoplease. "1940." Online: 26 Feb. 2002 http://www. infoplease.com . 
"Is it a Change for the Better 9 ". Rockford Register Star . 20 April 1990: 5a. Rockfordiana 

Files Rockford Public Library. 
Kalb, Maida. Personal Interview. Feb. 2002. 
Kalb, Kevan. Personal Interview, March 2002. 
Logsdon, Cathy. Personal Interview, March 2002. 
McEwan, E. 10 Traits of Highly Successful Schools . 32:45, 1999 
Molyneux, John. Personal Interview 25 April, 2002. 



Works Cited 

O'Brien, M. 2000 Akron Law Review, and Symposium: Education and the Constitution: 

Shaping each other and the next century: Free at Last: Charter school and the 

"Deregulated" Curriculum: 1-19. 
"Panel Advances Quest for Historic Status." Rockford Register Star . 1 Feb. 1996: 3a. 

Rockfordiana Files Rockford Public Library. 
Welcome to Rockford Illinois. "History 1901-1941." Online: 26 Feb. 2002 

http://\v\v\ v. Rockrordlllin ois .com . 
"West High School." Rockford Register Star. 21 March 1955: 22a. Rockfordiana Files Rockford 

Public Library. 
West Middle School, Rockford Illinois. Rockton Avenue Entrance. Photographer unknown, Rockford 

Register Star . 20 January 1980. 
West Middle School, Rockford Illinois. Airial View Photographer unknown, Rockford Register Star 

21 March 1955. 
West Middle School, Rockford Illinois. Front Entrance. Photographer unknown, Rockford Register 

Star . 3 January 1996 









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The West building was built in 1939. 



Register Star file 



2325 Ohio Parkway 
Whitehead: The School of Change 



Allester Hightower 
Spring semester 2002 

English 101 
Rock Valley College 



Hightowerl 

Allester Hightower 
English 101 NDF-1 
Scott Fisher 
23 April 2002 

Whitehead: The School of Change 

As the baby boom after WWII began to takeover the East-side elementary 
schools of Rockford, a solution to the problem had to be found. The solution was 
the addition of Rolling Green Elementary School of the East-side of Rockford, but 
that school also became overcrowded; so the Rockford School Board had to come 
up with something to completely solve the overflow problem. 

The School Board, Which included Alan A. Mattison (President), Phobe J. 
Barnes (Secretary), and W. Ray Macintosh (Superintendent of Schools), had a 
never-ending situation of overcrowding that needed a solution (Hildreth 
Interview). After several meetings and the voter's approval of $4,235,000 in bonds 
in June of 1958, the decision was made to build three new schools, which included 
Whitehead Elementary School ("Rkfd. History" no pg.). 

The School Board decided that the school would be named after John R. 
Whitehead. The only thing left to decide was where the school was going to be 
located. The School Board decided to buy a plot of farmland on the South East- 
side of Rockford, from whom is not known (Russy Interview). The architect that 
was chosen to build the new school was Gilbert A. Johnson (Hildreth, Interview). 



Hightower2 

A rainy fall and a harsh winter slowed the construction, but finally in September of 
1959, along with Wilson Junior High School and Haskell Elem. School, Whitehead 
opened its doors for the first time ("Rkfd. History", no pg.). 

With Preston Askeland as Whitehead's first principal, it seemed that only 
good things were to come for the new school. Whitehead Elementary, in its first 
years under Askeland, was a split as a 90% majority and a 10% minority with as 
enrollment of over 600 students. Even though not integrated, Whitehead still 
offered the best in elementary education (Tunnel Interview). 

After Preston Askeland's 15 years as principal, the School Board hired Bill 
Callacci for his replacement. After Bill Callacci's short four years as principal, 
Sam Matele was brought in to do the job. As Bill Callacci left Whitehead in 1978 
and Sam Matele entered, out with the old and in came the new, so was the people's 
intent Hildreth Interview). 

In the late 1970's a lawsuit was filed against the Rockford School Board in 
the attempt to desegregate the Rockford Public Schools. This was to solve the 
East-side vs. West-side stereotype. The East-side schools consisted of mostly the 
upper to middle class white students and the West-side schools consisted of mostly 
the minority population. The dilemma was that with this being practiced, all of the 
good and experienced teachers went to the East-side schools and the younger more 
inexperienced teachers went to the West-side schools. This caused the level of 



Hightower3 

education just between two sides of a city to greatly differ from one another 
(Tunnel Interview). 

With the lawsuit filed and the citizens of Rockford breathing down their 
necks, the School Board came up with a non-solution to the problem. The board 
proposed that programs be put into the West-side schools like Gifted Programs that 
still exist in some Rockford Schools today, so that more potential East- side 
students would want to attend the West-side schools. These programs were later 
known as Magnet Programs (Hildreth Interview). 

The proposal worked, but at the same time it didn't. It did cause the schools 
to be more mixed in number but in reality the new way made one school become 
two, a school within a school. Most minority students were not admitted into the 
Gifted Programs, so they took the regular courses that were offered and the 
majority students were accepted into the Gifted programs, which made the problem 
of segregation even more apparent. Now not only was there as education gap 
between the students, but the gap resided within the same school instead of across 
town (Russy Interview). 

In the early 1980s, under the leadership of Sam Matele, while things around 
were changing, Whitehead stayed the same. Whitehead at this time had not yet 
even had a minority teacher and, though the attendance numbers were down, the 



Hightower4 

percentage of minority and majority stayed about the same, 88% majority and 12% 
minority (Hildreth Interview). 

Whitehead Started out with a great future ahead of it, starting out as the best 
that Rockford had to offer in elementary education. But, in 1988, Whitehead had 
come to the point in time at which change was needed to keep the school going in 
the right direction (Tunnel Interview). After the first lawsuit had failed and made a 
big problem into a huge one, the unending questions still remained: would things 
ever change and will Whitehead finally bring itself into the 20 Century or risk 
being left behind in the dark ages? 

Some say that change is just a part of life and that through the course of time 
everything to some extent will change and become different. For Whitehead 
Elementary and the other schools of District 205, it was very evident that change 
had to occur. With everyone expecting the change, the only question was: when 
will the change come? 

In 1989 when the second lawsuit was filed against the Rockford School 
Board for discrimination of minority students and faculty for decades, the change 
had finally begun (Hildreth Interview). 

The second lawsuit brought many changes with it. Among those changes 
was the introduction of Controlled Choice. This program was put into place so that 
the School Board would have control over where the students went to school. This 



Hightower5 

made it so that more of the East-side students attended more of the West-side 
schools and the West-side students attended more of the East-side schools. This 
changed greatly affected Whitehead because before the final lawsuit, the student 
percentage was at 88% majority and 22% minority with a enrollment of 500+ 
students, but after Controlled Choice was put into place, the percentages went to 
68% majority and 32% minority with about 600 students (Hildreth Interview). 

Another change that came with the lawsuit was the closing of eleven schools 
which consisted of: Ellis, Wilson, Church, Haight, Garrison, Marsh, Vandercook, 
Riverdale, Halstrom, and Styles elementary schools and Kennedy Middle school 
("Rkfd. History"). 

In 1990, things were still changing at Whitehead Elementary. After Jim 
Anderson, Principal from 1983-1988, and Jean Hernandez, Principal from 1988- 
1 990 had their chance to lead Whitehead into the future, at the beginning of the 
1990 school year Ms. Jean Venest, the school's first African American Principal, 
was given the task to do what her predecessors couldn't, bring Whitehead into the 
20 Century (Russy Interview). 

Under the leadership of Ms. Venest, Whitehead opened its playground on 
September 25, 1991 and in the same year Whitehead attained two new minority 
teachers, Ms Lotta Russy and Dr. Glinda Hildreth that were the second and third 
minority teachers to teach at the school. The fist was Ms. Presiso, as Asian 



Hightower6 

American in 1989. The student's attendance was at approximately 600 students 
and growing. From 1991 to 1997 when Dr. Glinda Hildreth took over as principal 
the student attendance rate stayed the same around 400+ students each year 
(Hildreth Interview). 

In 1997 when Dr. Glinda Hildreth became just the second African American 
Principal in school history, the school began to go in an attendance decline. In 
1989, having 600 students and no have an attendance of only 400+ students made 
the decline evident. The decline of Whitehead's attendance was simply economic. 
As the number of kids in the neighborhood declined, so did the school's 
attendance. Through the years, Dr. Hildreth has been able to maintain the student 
attendance between 300-400 students but at best she can "A principal can only do 
so much" (Hildreth Interview). 

Today, in 2002, under the leadership of Dr. Hildreth, Whitehead Elementary 
is still thriving. With programs like Junior Achievement, Peer Mediation, Safety 
Patrol, Student Council, Chorus, Grade Level Buddies, Excellent Reader, 
Volunteer Tutors, and have an all day Kinder-garden keeps Whitehead afloat. The 
decline has leveled itself off so that Whitehead, on a consistent basis, has about 
350 students with 65% majority and 35% minority (Tunnel Interview). 

Things have changed over the years, some changes good and some bad, but 
over all Whitehead has survived. Under Dr. Glinda Hildreth there is great hope that 



Hightower7 

Whitehead may be able to return to its former status as the best that Rockford has 
to offer, but only time will tell. 



Hightower8 

Works Cited 

Hildreth, Glinda Dr. Principal. Personal Interview. Whitehead Elementary 

School, Rockford, IL. 28 Mar. 2002. 
"Rockford History 1958-1990" Welcome to Rockford Website. 

www.rockfordillinois.com 3/26/02 
Russy, Lotta. 2 nd Grade Teacher. Personal Interview. Whitehead Elementary 

School, Rockford IL. 28 Mar. 2002. 
"Street Map of Rockford." Yahoo Maps Website 4/30/02. 
Tunnel, Joan. 1 st Grade Teacher. Personal Interview. Whitehead Elementary 

School, Rockford IL. 28 Mar. 2002. 
"Whitehead School Today." Illinois Schools Website. 4/30/02. 







Whitehead School today. 




2325 Ohio Parkway 

Rockford, IL 61108 

(815)229-2840 



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