Historic Neighborhoods of Rockford: Day 1
Queen Anne. Greek Rival. Italianate. Dutch Colonial. Tudor. Just a few of the architectural styles of homes located within the eight historic neighborhoods in Rockford's urban core.
Day One, morning
Begin in the southern-most section of the inner-city in a neighborhood called 3rd College Union. Founded in 1847, Rockford Female Seminary, today's Rockford College, brought growth and prosperity to the neighborhood surrounding its campus. Haight Village, Rockford's first historic district, sits immediately to the north of 3rd College Union. This neighborhood blends a unique mixture of Victorian elegance, urban living and local history. The Erlander Home Museum is the cultural centerpiece of this Swedish-ancestry community. The museum is located in Rockford's first brick home, built by the John Erlander family in 1871 and is restored to its original Victorian decor.
If you're looking for a place to have lunch, try Tortacos Soto, a Mexican café in the neighborhood. Some say the owner is one of the best cooks in this city. If Mexican cuisine is too spicy for your palette, enjoy the taste of quality, handcrafted beer in the atmosphere of a true European-style alehouse in the Rockford Region's only microbrewery, Carlyle Brewing Company in downtown's River District.
Historic Neighborhoods of Rockford: Day 2
Day Two, morning
Just northwest of downtown you can visit the Garfield Avenue neighborhood. The first home was built in 1911 and by the late 1920's the long two blocks were regally adorned with stately homes of prominent professionals, entrepreneurs and industrialists.
Just to the east along the banks of the Rock River you'll find the Churchill Grove neighborhood. Its origin dates back to 1829 when, through the Treaty of Prairie du Chien, the land was given to Catherine Myott, daughter of a Winnebago Indian and a French soldier. The neighborhood boasts an abundance of architecturally striking homes with styles ranging from Victorian, Tudor, and Colonial to Prairie and Arts & Crafts.
Enjoy a lunch or dinner on the outdoor patio at the Olympic Tavern. This friendly neighborhood restaurant has been a favorite among locals since 1945 for drinks, sandwiches, pizza, and homemade soup. If it's pasta you're craving, head to Nunzio's Italian Restaurant, with traditional Italian cooking-just like mama used to make!
Day Two, afternoon
Victorian and Italianate architecture abounds in our historic neighborhoods, but to find a drastic change from American styles you need to plan a detour to Anderson Japanese Gardens, the number one Japanese garden in North America. Here you can explore traditional Sukiya-style buildings including the guesthouse, gazebo, and teahouse, as well as discover the 12 acres of this 12th-Century-style "pond-strolling" garden.
Just to the south of the gardens, the historic district of the Brown's Hills-Knightsville neighborhood showcases spacious and elaborate homes built on large wooded lots. You'll see first hand why Rockford calls itself the "Forest City".
Other Historic Neighborhoods
If you still have time in your day, visit these other historic neighborhoods: Coronado Haskell, Indian Terrace, and North End Square.
After a full day of strolling through neighborhoods, you'll be ready to rest your head on a soft pillow. Put your feet up at any one of Rockford's resort hotels, budget lodging or unique bed and breakfast inns.
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