Rockford, Illinois

City: Rockford

County: Winnebago

State: Illinois

Lat/Long: 42.2667, -89.0833

Located in northern Illinois, eighty miles northwest of Chicago, Rockford is the county seat of Winnebago County. Germanicus Kent founded what would become Rockford in 1834, when he established a settlement on the west bank of the Rock River. Originally known as Midway because it lay halfway between Chicago and Galena, the settlement came to be known as Rockford in 1836. In August 1837, the U.S. Post Office Department established a post office in the village. In 1839, the Illinois General Assembly incorporated Rockford as a town, and in May of that year, Winnebago County voters selected Rockford as the county seat. The town grew steadily, and in January 1852, Rockford citizens voted to charter the town as a city under the general incorporation law of 1849, using Springfield's city charter as a model. In February 1853, the General Assembly legalized and amended this incorporation. The General Assembly further amended the city charter in 1854, 1859, and 1861, before combining all these amendments into one charter in February 1865.

Webster's New Geographical Dictionary (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1988), 1023; The History of Winnebago County, Ill., Its Past and Present (Chicago: H. F. Kett, 1877), 399, 404, 405; Charles A. Church, History of Rockford and Winnebago County Illinois (Rockford: W. P. Lamb, 1900), 154-58; Edward Callary, Place Names of Illinois (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2009), 300; "An Act to Legalize the Incorporation of the City of Rockford, and Amend the Charter of Said City," 8 February 1853, Private Laws of Illinois (1853), 565-66; "An Act to Reduce the Charter of the City of Rockford, and the Several Acts Amendatory Thereof into One Act, and to Revise and Amend the Same," 15 February 1865, Private Laws of Illinois (1865), 1:472-506.