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Overview

Introduction to Rockford, Illinois

Rockford is a city located in northern Illinois about 85 miles northwest of Chicago. Sitting on the banks of the Rock River, Rockford serves as the county seat of Winnebago County and is one of the state's largest cities. Located at the intersection of Interstates I-39, I-90, and U.S. Route 20, Rockford is serviced by Chicago/Rockford International Airport (formerly known as the Greater Rockford Airport). The city is home to Rockford College, as well as Judson College, Rock Valley College, and a satellite campus of Northern Illinois University. Nicknamed the Forest City, Rockford has been long known for its abundance of elm trees.

Founded in 1834 by Germanicus Kent, Rockford was originally known as the village of Midway due to its location midway between Chicago and Kent's hometown of Galena. In 1837 the community's name was officially changed to Rock Ford and in 1852 Rockford was incorporated as a city. The arrival of the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad was an early catalyst for the region's economic growth, which continued for several decades. By the turn of the century, Rockford was recognized as a significant industrial and manufacturing center and home to many nationally known manufacturers. Although the city's industry took a major hit during the decades following World War II, the economy in recent years has rebounded, and today features an abundance of professional and business services, making the city a thriving commercial center as well as a cultural and entertainment hub.

Rockford Art, Culture and Entertainment

Rockford is home to several museums and performing arts venues and its surrounding area is known as an outdoor destination. The Burpee Museum of Natural History chronicles animals, rocks and minerals, fossils, and native peoples with exhibits in a facility connected to Riverfront Museum Park. The Discovery Center Museum features a planetarium and both permanent and traveling exhibits. The Erlander Home Museum is the cultural centerpiece of the city's Swedish-ancestry community, and the Ethnic Heritage Museum relates the history of the six ethnic groups that settled in early Rockford (Irish, Italians, African-Americans, Polish, Lithuanians, and Hispanics). The Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center presents an annual concert series by local and world-renowned artists, and the New American Theater is a regional professional theater which offers an annual season of productions including a Christmas performance. The Rock River, which runs through the heart of Rockford, provides a continuous source of recreation for the Rockford community, including a bike path spanning several miles and water sports such as boating, canoeing, fishing and water skiing. "On the Waterfront" is the name of Illinois' largest music festival. This nationally acclaimed event encompasses over 30 blocks of downtown Rockford each Labor Day weekend, bringing together food, fun, and music to satisfy everyone's tastes.

Sports fans have many choices in Rockford. The Rockford Riverhawks are an independent minor league baseball team competing in the Frontier League. The Riverhawks carry the banner for the city's storied baseball history, which includes a team (the Forest Citys) established soon after the Civil War and the Rockford Peaches, a 1940s team playing in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Other former pro baseball franchises playing in Rockford include the Expos, Royals, Cubbies, and Reds. Hockey fans can root for the Rockford Icehogs, a member of the United Hockey League, who play at the city's MetroCentre. Also playing at the MetroCentre are the Rock River Raptors, a professional indoor football team playing in the United Indoor Football (UIF) league. Ironically, Rockford was the site of the first-ever Arena Football game when the Rockford Metros played a "playtest game" in 1986. Another Rockford present-day sports team is the Rockford Thunder, an indoor soccer team, which belongs to the American Indoor Soccer League (AISL).

People

Total Population 150,283
Male Share of the Population 48.6%
Female Share of the Population 51.4%
Senior Citizens 14.6%
Employed Population 16+ 59,927
Age of the Population 36

Families

% of people married 40.9%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 20.9%
Median Earnings25+ $29,256
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $19,364
Median Earnings With High School Degree $24,852

Wealth

Median Family Income $47,653
% Above Poverty Level 75.2%
% Below Poverty Level 24.8%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 20 minutes
% Working from Home 3.6%
% Walking and Biking to Work 1.4%
% Using Public Transportation 1.7%

Housing

People Living Alone 32.9%
Median Gross Rent $728
Median House Value $94,200

Ancestry

Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 42.7%
US/American 0.1%
English 5.9%
Irish 9.9%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Rockford Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 79 miles W of Chicago, Illinois
County Winnebago
Metro Area Rockford
Standard Zip Codes 61101, 61102, 61103, 61104, 61107, 61108, 61109, 61112, 61114
P.O. Box Zip Codes 61105, 61106, 61110, 61125, 61126
Phone Area Codes 815
Time Zone Central (-6 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 42.271
Longitude -89.093

Rockford Climate

Nearest Weather Stations

Notes:

  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Station ROCKFORD AP
Distance 4.9 miles
Jan Temp 11 to 27 F
Apr Temp 37 to 59 F
Jul Temp 63 to 83 F
Oct Temp 40 to 62 F
Annual Precip 36.6 inches
Station BELOIT
Distance 16.1 miles
Jan Temp 12 to 27 F
Apr Temp 38 to 58 F
Jul Temp 62 to 83 F
Oct Temp 41 to 62 F
Annual Precip 35.2 inches
Station AFTON
Distance 23.9 miles
Jan Temp 9 to 27 F
Apr Temp 35 to 58 F
Jul Temp 60 to 84 F
Oct Temp 38 to 61 F
Annual Precip 32.7 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Rockford, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Morristown (61109)

New Milford (61109)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Cherry Valley 2,913 $78,793
Davis Junction 2,532 $70,083

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Rockford Public Libraries

Library
Rockford P.l.
215 NORTH WYMAN STREET
Rockford, Illinois
(815) 965-6731
Library Web Site

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More Information for Librarians

Rockford Hospitals

ROCKFORD MEMORIAL HOSPITAL
(Voluntary non-profit - Private)
2400 NORTH ROCKTON AVENUE
(815) 968-6861
Emergency Service: Yes

SWEDISH AMERICAN HOSPITAL
(Voluntary non-profit - Other)
1401 EAST STATE STREET
(815) 968-4400
Emergency Service: Yes

SAINT ANTHONY MEDICAL CENTER
(Voluntary non-profit - Church)
5666 EAST STATE STREET
(815) 226-2000
Emergency Service: Yes

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Rockford High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

GUILFORD HIGH SCHOOL
5620 SPRING CREEK RD
815-654-4870
Serves 1,974 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 20.4

JEFFERSON HIGH SCHOOL
4145 SAMUELSON RD
815-874-9536
Serves 1,807 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 19.6

ROCKFORD EAST HIGH SCHOOL
2929 CHARLES ST
815-229-2100
Serves 1,804 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 18.8

AUBURN HIGH SCHOOL
5110 AUBURN ST
815-966-3300
Serves 1,665 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 19.7

ROOSEVELT CENTER
978 HASKELL AVE
815-966-3265
A Special Education School
Serves 329 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 12.2

PAGE PARK
5949 SAFFORD RD
815-966-3770
A Special Education School
Serves 86 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 5.7

REGIONAL LEARNING CTR
410 8TH STREET
815-316-8450
A Non-traditional School
Serves 72 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 10

SKYVIEW CENTER
3051 ROTARY RD
815-874-9574
A Special Education School
Serves 66 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 6.6

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Historic Rockford

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Rockford (from college grounds) c1898.

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Rockford (from college grounds) c1898.

Rockford (from college grounds) c1898.

Rockford (C. & N.W. R.R. Chicago and North Western Railway station) between 1880 and 1899

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