W.A.S.P, the Women’s Ambulance Safety Patrol, began in Rockford on April 3, 1940, founded by Rockford women. Some 200 Rockford women were involved in this home front war effort. These women stood ready to fill the roles vacated by the men serving in the military during World War II. This photograph was taken in the basement of the National Guard Armory. Photo courtesy Lou Paoli.
“The Chamber of Commerce assumed the leadership in the two years of negotiations that were required to bring to a completion the new Illinois National Guard Armory. This $350,000 edifice was completed in 1937. The armory provides Rockford with a much-needed civic auditorium. Its main drill hall will seat 3,800 persons and its special balcony another 1,500. Already this building has proved its worth to the city and permitted the production of a number of major attractions which would not have been possible without such a civic building. The spacious auditorium and the number of meeting rooms surrounding the auditorium and on the balcony provide an ideal headquarters for conventions.”