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rockford, a rocky ford

Rockford, IL was originally called "midway", because it was midway between Chicago and Galena (which was once a place people wanted to go to a lot when they were in Chicago). And really it still has the vibe in some way of a place you go to when you're on the way to somewhere else. Only Galena is now a freaky historical town with no real reason to go there. So now Rockford is sorta midway between Chicago and uh...Wisconsin. It's close enough to Wisconsin that there's a certain sense of rivalry between Chicago Bears fans and Green Bay Packers fans.

I guess I like the Rockford of my youth more than the Rockford of today. I liked it when it really was a midway. It was about 90 minutes out of downtown Chicago, and really it's own town, independant of the suburbs of Chicago, but still accessible to Chicago. It had its own vibe, and it's own local Swedish/Italian culture. Sure, it was boring, but in it's own sleepy way.

It was the second biggest city in Illinois...which really tells you something about Illinois. There was a huge tool-and-die post WWII kinda intelligent industry to it. The biggest business was Sundstrand, a small parts defense contractor. Seriously just a regular American town. But now it has grown towards Chicago, and Chicago towards it. In a way now it's almost a Chicago suburb. It gradually got all the Targets, TGIFridays, and other suburb strip mall chain stuff.

I grew up mainly here in a neighborhood near the outskirts of Rockford, with big greenbelts all round that have now been bulldozed and developed. It's weird to go back and see gas stations where my stomping grounds were.

In the late 1800's they changed the name to Rockford, after a rocky ford in the Rock River, which cuts the city roughly in half.


Heh - you know I've gotten the distinct impression from several of your posts that you're just not real fond of your home town :P

Actually the only bitches I really have about it is the black abyss of a job market. And the lack of good sushi bars and BBQ places.

The lack of a public accessible 200+ yard rifle range sucks too.