“Furniture Center Lost Out to South” – 1968

Source:  Rockford Register-Republic, Feb. 15, 1968; Sesquicentennial Edition. Feb 15-16

Manufacture of phonographs in Rockford – 1920

Source: Furniture Worker; Vol. 37, January 1, 1920

***Full text, full copy at www.hathitrust.org

Main St., North, 306

Miller, H., 306 N. Main, W.R.

Source: 1876 Rockford City Directory

Erickson, Miss Anna, domestic, 306 N. Main

Miller, Frank J., clerk Forest City Furniture Co., res. 306 N. Main

Miller, Mrs. Susan B., widow of Henry, res 306 N Main

Source: 1889-1890 Rockford City Directory

Knowlton, Miss Eva, res. 306 N. Main

Knowlton, Miss M.T., teacher music

Knowlton, W.A., machinist, res. 306 N Main

Source: 1899 Rockford City Directory

“Chicago Fire Had Role in Launching Furniture Industry Here”

Chicago Fire sm

Source: Rockford Morning Star Mar. 20, 1938

Chicago Fire – Oct. 8, 1871  Jonas Peters was working in a furniture plant that fire destroyed, so he came back to Rockford and tried to find interested parties to produce furniture.

In 1874 Gilbert Woodruff interested Johnson and Anderson into starting Forest City Furniture. Began in 1875, pictured above. Rockford Chair and Furniture, Palace Furniture, Rockford Excelsior Furniture Co., Co-Operative Furniture and Standard Furniture Co. soon followed.


Forest City Furniture Co. – 1891

“Forest City Furniture Co.  Rockford’s pioneer industry in the furniture line.  The business was established in 1869 by A. C. Johnson, and the present company was incorporated in 1875.  The officers are:  Gilbert Woodruff, President; R. W. Emerson, Secretary and Treasurer.  A. C. Johnson, Superindent.  A General line of furniture and office desks is manufactured.  The capital stock of the company is $150,000.  The plant of th4e company includes four large four-story brick buildings, with a floor area of 150,000 square feet.  They also have six acres of yard room for lumber storage.  They employ an average of 240 hands and do business exceeding  $300,000 a year.”

Source: “Industrial and Picturesque Rockford,” Eugene Browne and F. Ford Rowe, 1891

Forest City Furniture Co.

Source of picture: “Industrial and Picturesque Rockford,”  Eugene Browne and F. Ford Rowe, 1891

“Forest City Furniture. Gilbert Woodruff, President; R.W. Emerson, secy. and treas., Wholesale manufacturers of bookcases, office desks, library cases, chamber suits, parlor desks, sideboards, table washstands, table beds, etc., R.A. ave. between Seventh and Eighth.”

Source: 1892 Philippi’s Rockford City Directory

Forect City Furn  Vert

Map from 1892 Winnebago County Atlas shows company on both sides of the RR tracks,, Railroad Ave. between 7th and 8th Ave.

The 1928 Sanborn Fire Insurance map is covered over and shows Forest City Phonograph Co. in this location. In 1919 Forest City Furniture was being sold to Forest City Phonograph Co. “400 men to be at work in sixty days.”




Forest City Furniture Co.

Forest City Furniture Co., Gilbert Woodruff, pres’t; R. W. Emerson, secy. and treas. Manufacturers of book cases, office desks, library cases, folding beds, chamber suites, parlor desks, sideboards, table wash stands, table beds, etc., Rail Road ave. between Seventh and Eighth sts.

Source: Philippi’s Rockford City Directory for 1894-95.

in 1899: C. O. Upton, vice-pres’t., C. A. Hult, sec’y and treas. Also manufacture music cabinets, chiffoniers and odd tables.

Source: Philippi’s 1899 Rockford City Directory