Rockford - Encyclopedia

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ROCKFORD, a city and the county seat of Winnebago county, Illinois, U.S.A., on the Rock river, in the northern part of the state, about 85 m. N.W. of Chicago. Pop. (1890) 23,584; (1900) 31,051, of whom 9337 were foreign-born (6690 Swedes); (1910 census) 45,401. Area, 8.91 sq. M. It is served by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, the Chicago & North-Western, the Chicago, Milwaukee & St Paul, the Chicago, Milwaukee & Gary ("Rockford Route") and the Illinois Central railways, and is connected by interurban electric railway with Chicago and Freeport, Illinois, and Janesville, Wisconsin. The city has a Memorial Hall, erected in honour of the soldiers and sailors of Winnebago county, and in charge of the Grand Army of the Republic; a soldiers' memorial fountain; a Carnegie library, containing 51,340 volumes in 1909; and the Velie Museum of natural history. Rockford College (non-sectarian), for the higher education of women, is ranked by the United States Commissioner of Education as one of fifteen women's colleges of the highest grade in the country; it was opened in 1849 as Rockford Seminary, and was named Rockford College in 1892. In 1908-9 it had 196 students. Rockford is the see of a Roman Catholic bishop. In and near the city there are two hospitals and three sanatoriums. Manufacturing is facilitated by good water-power, supplied by a dam across the Rock river about 800 ft. long, constructed in 1844. Among the manufactures are furniture, hosiery and knit goods, agricultural implements, foundry and machine-shop products, saddlery and harness, &c. The total value of all factory products in r905 was $15,276,129. (38.6% more than in 1900). The municipality owns and operates its waterworks; the water supply is obtained from artesian wells. Rockford was first settled in 1834, and was chartered as a city in 1852. More than one-fourth of its area has been annexed to the city since 1889.

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