Harry Blakely not Forgotten in African-American Music Month

Source:  Rockford Register Star, March 28,1985, p. 8B.

Education, Business and Social Interests Important to First African-Americans

‘Proud link to Rockford,’ Muralists rediscover female WWII-era pilot history nearly forgot

Muralists Jenny Roesel Ustick and Atalie Gagnet discovered Elizabeth “Libby” Gardner’s story while researching for the Rockford CRE8IV art festival. Gardner, a 1939 graduate from Rockford High School, flew for the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPS) during World War II. The WASP Archive at Texas Woman’s University provided a photo of Gardner in a B-26 Marauder. The mural at 221 E. State Street is based on the photo. Source: Rockford Register Star, May 19, 2019

City celebrates CRE8IV


Nine murals are being painted in Rockford for the CRE8IV festival. The Illinois Dept. of Commerce Office of Tourism provided the $91,800 grant. The artists are: Yulia Avgustinovich, from Denver, CO, Brett Whitacre, from Sycamore, Jenny Roesel Ustick,, from Cincinnati, Corey Barksdale from Atlanta, Lisa and Libbie Frost, from Rockford, Jenny M. Mathews, from Rockford, Chris Silva, from Chicago, and Molly Z, from Chicago.

Source: Rockford Register Star, May 16, 2019

Stronghold Castle


“A New Chapter for Stronghold Castle,” Northwest Quarterly, Cabin Fever, 2019, vol. 16, no.1. William A. Strong, publisher of the Chicago Daily News, purchased 360 acres and built Stronghold Castle in 1928-1929.  Mr. Strong died in May 1931. In 1962, after Mrs. Strong died, the Presbytery of Blackhawk of PC (USA) bought the property. The murals in the castle were painted by Russian artist Nicholas Kaissakoff. One of the most popular events is the Olde English Faire, held the first full weekend in October.