River District announces 2nd date for Historical Walk-Abouts

River District announces 2nd date for Historical Walk-Abouts


The second Historical Walk-About will be held Saturday, July 20 and will feature the southwest area of River District. This is a free event, so get out your walking shoes, and plan to meet for an educational and healthy morning.

The River District is full of interesting commercial buildings and private residences that tell the story of Rockford’s 150 years. From June until October, you are invited to join a tour guide in exploring downtown Rockford’s unique architecture and history. Each month, River District Association will sponsor a different Historical Walk-About, spending approximately an hour and a half viewing the exteriors of historic buildings located in the downtown River District and discussing their history. Historical Walk-Abouts were started to commemorate Rockford’s Sesquicentennial Celebration.

Meet at 10 a.m. (reservations are suggested but not required) on the third Saturday of every month (this month: July 20) at Water Street Café, 115 N. Water St. Water Street Café has a full breakfast menu, so come early if you want to grab something to eat.

This month’s featured building is: 119/121/123 S. Main St.—Known as a “common” building (with three floors) that is owned by more than one party and housing more than one business. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1856, it has the distinction of being the last pre-Civil War commercial building in west downtown. Built by banker Thomas D. Robertson, it was originally a dry goods business and insurance company. In the 1870s it was converted to a hotel and remained that for nearly 50 years with various owners (Edward’s House, Griggs House—1886 photo shows balconet along entire Main Street facade above first floor windows, Chick House). Architecture: Greek Revival Style. Current use: 119 S. Main St. is owned and occupied by Rockford Office Supply House, Inc., established in 1912. 121/123 S. Main St. was most recently occupied by the Soda Bar restaurant (first floor) and is for sale.

This local and national treasure is ripe for development in the heart of the Cultural Corridor and River District. Potential uses: restaurant, hotel, residential. Call Ed Hornbeck at 877-5995 for more information on 121/123 S. Main St.

If you would like to participate by attending or being a tour guide, or for more information, please call River District at 964-6221.

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