Recently, I attended the Levson Square Community Fair, sponsored by the Rock River Development Corporation. I want to thank the city, participating businesses and other organizations like Tinker Cottage, Ethnic Heritage Museum, Klehm Arboretum, Rockford Public Library (kids’ crafts), Liberty Mutual Insurance and others, including local media who helped to bring attention to efforts to further develop the southwest quadrant of the city.
Rain kept many away on Saturday, but that did not deter those who came out for the event, which showcased things to see and do in southwest Rockford and great poetry.
This southwest side has a rich history of migration that includes the early arrival of African-Americans, Irish, Germans and Swedes.
By 1900, two-thirds of Rockford’s African-Americans were clustered in an area of the inner city five blocks long and three blocks wide just west of the Rock River.
A new story of migration trends continues to play out as the Latino population is growing and settling into the southwest quadrant.
I hope this historic trend continues with more businesses investing in the district and more assistance generated to further the economic development and growth of this wonderful historic community resource along the Rock River.
Jeff E. Woodard
Director of Marketing & Community Relations
McLean County Museum of History
From the May 18-24, 2011 issue