Rockford Travel Guide

Browse 4 travel reviews, 1 travel blogs and 216 travel photos from real travelers to Rockford.

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Rockford Overview

Rockford was founded in 1834 by Germanicus Kent as the village of Midway because it was approximately midway between his home of Galena and the city of Chicago, the area continued to be recognized as Midway until 1837 when the founders and several respected members of their communities met in Chicago and officially changed Midway’s name to Rockford.

While the earliest settlers were from New York and New England, beginning around the 1850’s immigration drove the population growth of the region and it became a virtual melting pot. The Irish arrived in the early 1850’s followed by the Swedes. In many areas of Rockford the Swedish language was as common as English well into the 1920’s. Other ethnic groups also appeared including the Italians, Poles and Lithuanians, and more recently Laotians, Vietnamese and Hispanics.

Rockford’s baseball began shortly after the Civil War, with the success of the Forest City Baseball Club. Then from 1945 to 1954, Rockford again gained national recognition with the All American Girls Professional Baseball League team, the Rockford Peaches.

Rockford’s economic base has evolved to include an abundance of professional and business services, in addition to manufacturing, resulting in a strong local economy. Rockford is now a thriving commercial hub for the region, as well as a cultural and entertainment center.