Rockford History: 1950-1954

1950 ------ Census figure for the city is 92,927. W.R. McIntosh becomes superintendent of Rockford Public Schools.

Feb. 22, 1950 ------- Rockford's 24 public schools are closed Wednesday, Feb. 22, through Friday in wake of soft-coal strike that creates a severe shortage and rationing; wood sawed to heat courthouse.

April 12, 1950 ------ Rockford voters approve continued use of parking meters; vote is 9,101 - 6,256.

Oct. 3, 1950 ------ Gov. Stevenson returns to Rockford to dedicate the newly rebuilt, 104-bed munical tuberculosis sanatorium.

Sept., 1951 ------ $650,000 school built to serve the growing Rolling Green area.

1952 ------ Special census places population of City of Rockford over 100,000 mark - at 105,438. City annexes 2,819 acres, or 4.4 square miles, including the entire Rock River and West View School Districts.

March, 1952 ------ Main and Church Streets are made one-way, north-south traffic arteries. One-way traffic had been tried earlier on Jefferson and Walnut-Chestnut Streets.

April 5 and 6, 1952 ------ Prime Minister Tage Erlander of Sweden visits Rockford and dedicates Erlander Home Museum.

June 5, 1952 ------ Rockford College and Rockford Memorial Hospital each receive about $500,000 under terms of the will of Mrs. Mary Emerson Lathrop, daughter of pioneer Rockford industrialist Ralph Emerson. Mendelssohn Club of Rockford also received valuable piece of property on N. Main St., directly behind its new building which was erected on N. Church St. Site donated by Mrs. Lathrop, who had died May 28 in Orlando, Florida.

June 7-13, 1952 ----- Rockford observes its centennial as a city. Among the events is a giant parade.

July 18, 1952 ------- Eleven inches of rain fall to create Rockford's worst flood and trigger a multi-million-dollar drainage program; two persons drown, property damage set at $1 million.

Nov. 30, 1952 ----- YMCA residence hotel and administration building are dedicated.

1953 ------ Dangers of Dutch elm disease are first recognized; municipal officials are warned, but fail to take positive action. Voters approve $4.39 million in school building bonds, including funds for Jefferson Junior High School.

March 1, 1953 ------ Thomas P. Boustead is named chief of police.

April, 1953 ------ C. Henry Bloom bows out as mayor of Rockford after serving 16 years. Milton Lundstrom wins election and is inaugurated on May 4. This was the year Republicans entered a municipal slate under the national label.

May, 1953 ------ Rockford's first television station. WTVO, begins operation on UHF channel 39. Harold Froehlich is station manager.

July 16, 1953 ----- Ground broken for Rockford's second television station, WREX-TV, channel 13. Telecasts begin in December. Joseph Baisch becomes manager.

July 19, 1953 ------ Bishop John J. Boylan dies while visiting his native Rhode Island.

October, 1953 ----- Dedication of new Harlem High School on Windsor Road; old school property at N. 2nd St. and Harlem Road to be used by Hamilton Junior High School.

1954 ----- City Building permits total $14,725,695; figurs is $23,945,905 for the county. Martin H. Hawkinson begins $4.5 million housing development on E. State St.

July 10, 1954 ------ Rockford Memorial Hospital occupies new 237-bed building on N. Rockton Ave.

Oct. 31, 1954 ----- Gov. William G. Stratton attends dedication ceremonies for Greater Rockford Airport.

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