Rockford wasn't always Rockford. The city's first name was Laphamville, named for one of the town's first settlers, Smith Lapham, who built a mill on the Rogue River before the Civil War. It wasn't until after the war that the town's name was changed to Rockford. Soon after, the river's dam was build to supply power for the numerous lumber and grist mills and--much later--electricity for the area.
These and many other interesting facts are presented along with many vintage photographs in the soon-to-be-released "Images of America: Rockford."
Compiled by local author Roberta H.J. Schirado on behalf of the Rockford Historical Society, the book details the rise of the city from the arrival of its first permanent residents in the early 1840s all the way through to the present day.
According to advance publicity, Schirado--a local family historian--earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Central Michigan University and is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. A freelance writer for the past eight years, she has edited "Michigana," the quarterly journal of the Western Michigan Genealogical Society.
Some of the highlights of her most recent book include a nod to the Rockford Area Historical Society, which played an important role in the development of the book by providing photographs from the society's extensive collection.
The Hirth Krause Shoe Company--the predecessor of Wolverine World Wide--also provided many of the photographs, particularly those depicting the development of shoe manufacturing in the area.
Tragic events are also included in the book. The 1922 fire, which burned the Union School Building to the ground, is illustrated in photos of the fire, as well as the resulting aftermath.
The book is published by Arcadia Publishing, the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States.
According to Arcadia Publicist Emily Higgins, the goal of the company is to "...make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America's people and places."
"Images of America: Rockford" will be available at local bookstores as well as online at www.arcadiapublishing.com.