Sock Monkeys, Fiberglass – Nuggets of History

See Rockford Historical Society’s Nuggets of History Vol. 53  No.  2, Spring 2015 Article by Carol J, Fox

The original sock monkey was made with Nelson Knitting Co. red-heeled socks (red heels since 1932) of Rockford, Il  in business from 1880 – 1992.

In 1953 Helen Cooke from Aurora, IL patented the sock monkey.  She sued Mr. Stanley Levy for patent infringement.  Levy enlisted the help of Nelson Knitting Co., of Grace Winget, who made a sock monkey in 1951.  Nelson Knitting Co., then bought all patents for the sock monkey until it expired in the 1970’s.

Joan Sage, marketing director of Midway Village and Museum Center, inspired by Chicago’s fiberglass Cow Parade, suggested that Rockford could do similar with Rockford as the Hometown of the Sock Monkey. In 2004-5 businesses and individuals were asked to sponsor six-foot tall fiberglass sock monkeys,  Lpcal artists designed each monkey.

Where they are located:  [pictures of each in the article]  additional information in article

  1.  “Soxanne”  Artists: Marion Olson, Carol Anderson, Carol Ubben   Seated monkey, outdoors, Midway Village.
  2.  “Forest”  Artist Diane Garrett, Location: Chicago Rockford International Airport
  3.  “Earthly Angels”  Artist: Carol Jacobson,  Location:  Swedish American Hospital
  4.  “Lady Liberty” Artist:  Cora Hutchinson, Location:  National Business & Industrial Centre, in the old National Lock Building, 7th St. and 18th Ave.
  5.  “Rockford in Bloom”   Artist: Marty Panzer,  Location: Rockford Arts Council
  6.  “Carl Anders”  Artists: Marion Olsen, Candy Wolf and Carol Jacobson.  Location: Stockholm Inn
  7.  “Symbol” Artist: Deborah Stromsdorfer  Location:  Private residence of sponsor, Dr. Kris Tumilowicz,  across the river from the namesake “Symbol” sculpture.
  8. “Paper Boy” Artist: K Dyer Location: Rockford Register Star lobby.
  9.  “Rockford College Sock Monkey”  Artist: Jeanne Coe. Location:  Nelson Hall, Rockford University
  10.  “Victor e. Lane” Artist:  Jeanne Coe.  Location: Rockford Speedway
  11.  “Patriot”  Artist:  Lonny Stark  Location: Midway Museum Center inside,
  12.  “Cheap Trick”  Artist: Jeanne Coe  Location: Midway Museum Center  inside
  13.  “J. Nelson Pollack” Artist: Lorie Painter  Location: Library Center, Nelson Elementary School
  14.  “Julia M. Scout” Artists:  Karen Harding, Sandy Ures, Lisa Normoyle.  Location:  Camp Medill McCormick, Friendship Center
  15.  “Stillman”  Artist:  Joyce Bietau Rienken  Location:  Stillman Bank, Oregon, IL (now in storage area)
  16.  “Tradesman”  Artist:  Doug Adcock  Location: Project First Rate
  17.  “Building Rockford”  Artist:  Doug Adcock  Location: Fridh Construction
  18.  “Power of the Sun”  Artist:  Nicole Georgis  Location: Rockford Day Nursery
  19.  “Faces of Rockford”  Artists:  Mary Rosandich, Jeanne Coe, Joe Marchione  Location:  Transatlantic Connection   resides in private residence, and has been on display in Stewart Square
  20.  “Rockford Sports Tourist”  Artist: Jessica Cannova   Location unknown, once seen in Stewart Square
  21.  ” E.A.R.L.” Artist: Lorie Painter  Location: Private residence

Source: Nuggets of History, Midway Village, 2015 President: Scott Lewandowski


Rockford’s Oldest Houses

Rockford's Oldest House Herrick Cobblestone House, 2027 Broadway, Built 1847; Elijah L. Herrick; Cape Cod Colonial with Greek Revival style adaptations Graham-Ginestra House, 1115 So. Main St., Built in 1857, Freeman Graham, lived there 1857 – 1927. The Ginestra Family bought the home in 1927 and lived there until 2006. Civil War Hospital, “Camp Fuller Civil War Hospital,” 1260 No. Main St., built in 1842, Brewmaster’s House, Peacock Brewery, 500 No. Madison, Built circa 1845, Jonathan Peacock bought the house in 1849.  By his death in 1893, he was recognized as the richest man in the county, with an estate worth 1/2 a million dollars.  Jacob Posson House, 201 No. Second St., home of a Civil War Veteran, lost an arm in the Battle of Shiloh ; built 1842. Willard Wheeler House, 228 So. First St. Built 1843; Wheeler was the second tinner in Rockford, village trustee, mayor of Rockford.

Source: Nuggets of History; Vol. 52, No. 3,  October 2014

Rock That marks The Ford – Carl Severin

“Carl Severin (1894 – 1975) was the leading figure behind the endeavor to mark the ford location. A superintendent with Rockford Products for nearly 30 years, he retired in 1958 and began an earnest concentration on local and Swedish histories, lifelong interest of his.  He was proud of both his Swedish heritage and his new homeland. Severin emigrated from Gothenburg, Sweden. He was an active member of Swedish Historical Society and helped establish the Erlander House but knew that his adopted Rockford was a mix of multiple cultures and felt that the history of all should be preserved.  Others in the Swedish Historical Society felt the same way. Leaders from the Swedish Historical Society incorporated the Rockford Historical Society  in 1961.  Thus the Rockford Historical Society is an outgrowth of the Swedish Historical Society of Rockford.

In 1959, Severin, a member of the Swedish Historical Society, later its president, and a charter member of the new Rockford Historical Society, wrote a report to the Swedish Historical Society detailing the history of the ford.”

Source: Nuggets of History, Vol. 51 December 2013 Number 4 “The Rock That marks The Ford” by Carol J. Fox

Rock that Marks the Ford

Rock That Marks the Ford

“Carl Severin sits atop the boulder that became the historical marker for the Rockford ford. The marker, dedicated in 1965, is on the west side of the Rock River at the dam.  The picture’s caption does not reflect what actually took place.”

Photo caption: “To be Historical Marker, Carl Severin, director of Rockford Historical Society, sits on a 3.5-ton basalt boulder to be moved to old Rockford college campus, to mark where ferry was operated more than 125 years ago. Boulder was found mile west of Macktown on the farm of Harry Truman — no relation to the former President — who is playing an active role in restoration of historic Macktown.”

Source: Nuggets of History Vol. 51, December 2013 Number 4  “The Rock That Marks the Ford” by Carol J. Fox