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About the City of Rockford

Nestled along the banks of the Crow River on the edge of both Hennepin and Wright Counties, the City of Rockford offers some of the best of small-town living found in Minnesota. Located along Highway 55, just 30 miles west of Minneapolis, Rockford is home to over 4,500 residents and a variety of local businesses.

Rockford City Council and staff are committed to recognizing and fulfilling our citizens’ needs for services in a respectful, efficient, and economical manner. We do this by listening to our residents, making fact-based decisions, and utilize financially sound strategies to benefit our community.

Recreation for Every Season

Rockford offers a variety of recreation venues and community events for people of all ages. Traverse the trails of Lake Rebecca Park Reserve or enjoy various seasonal activities like volleyball, basketball, hockey, or ice skating at one of our many neighborhood parks. The City of Rockford has something for everyone.

Rooted in History. Steeped in Tradition.

Named for a nearby rocky “ford” on the Crow River, Rockford was founded in 1855 through a campaign which was started in St. Paul to lure settlers to the Minnesota Territory.

Sometime in 1855, Mr. Frazer built a log cabin on a large claim of land just west of the Crow River becoming the first settler in what would become the City of Rockford. October of 1855 George Ames, Joel Florida and Guilford George came by boat up the Crow River with intentions of settling in Greenwood (now called Greenfield) with plans of building a mill. Arriving in Greenwood the three men noticed the landscape was less than ideal for water powered mills. Undeterred, Messrs. Ames, Florida, and George traveled back upstream where the banks of the river were suitable for building a dam to hold back water. George Ames, Joel Florida, and Guilford George proceeded to establish the townsite of Rockford.

Early settlers faced many hardships building their lives in Rockford some of which included grasshopper infestations, financial crashes, and floods. One advantage the early settlers of Rockford had was the abundance of wild ginseng that grew along the banks and in the woods of the Crow River. Men, women, and children all harvested this valuable root which helped early settlers weather the tough times of the early days of the city.

The 1870’s sparked the dawn of business growth, with the 1880’s seeing these businesses prosper and expand. Rockford was officially incorporated as a village in 1881, which is reflected on the City’s official logo. Progress continued as a new century began and excited townsfolks cheered as the first Soo Line steam engine rolled through Rockford in 1907. By 1915 Rockford had four churches, a bank, a creamery, a hotel, a grain elevator, two blacksmiths, two general stores, two saloons, a barber, a veterinarian, a grocer, a meat market, and several other local proprietors and offerings.

Building up to WWII, Rockford businesses bloomed, and growth continued at a steady pace across the city. Rockford Road would become highway 55 in the 1940’s creating better access to the Twin Cities as well as other communities to the west. In the 1950’s Rockford fielded a championship amateur baseball team. 1965 downtown experienced massive flooding in which several homes and businesses were damaged beyond repair. Between 1970 and 1980 the population of Rockford tripled from 730 to over 2,400. Today, over 4,500 residents call Rockford home, and enjoy the small-town life from the dreams of Messrs. Frazer, Ames, Florida, and Guilford George.

 

Rockford Fun Facts

  • Rockford’s first steam mill was operational in 1857 and cut lumber for homes, businesses, and farms in the area. This was the first sawmill in operation within Wright County.
  • Elmwood Cemetery was officially established in 1864, with the first burial commencing in 1866. It is also the final resting place for many Civil War veterans.
  • Rockford’s first school opened for classes in 1856, however Rockford did not have a high school until 1917.
  • In 1861 Rockford’s first physician, Dr. Josiah Richardson set up a practice here.
  • The Rockford Creamery first opened in 1889. The primary product produced initially was butter. The butter was of such high quality that it was sold in Philadelphia and New York.
  • The “Liberty Pole” was a flagpole placed in Rockford prior to July 4th, 1859. It was moved a few times as buildings were built. At one point it was over 70 feet tall and painted red, white, and blue.
  • Guilford George and Mary Ames were the first couple to be married in Rockford on December 25, 1856.
  • Rockford’s first post office was established in 1857.
  • The first Wright County Fair was held in Rockford in 1861 and continued to be held here annually through 1869. The fair would be held again in Rockford in 1873, 1874, and for the final time in 1882.
  • The Ames-Florida-Stork House – the oldest residency in Rockford – was built in 1861 by George Ames. Only three families have lived in the home in the 160 years of its existence, which was currently  donated to the city and converted into a museum that is now operated by the Rockford Area Historical Society.

Contact Us

City Hall

Contact

Phone:763-477-6565 

Fax: 763-477-4393

Address

6031 Main Street

Rockford, MN 55373

Hours 

8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

(Monday – Friday)

Electric Service

Wright-Hennepin Electric

763-477-3000 

Properties located South of Highway 55

Xcel Energy

1-800-895-4999 

Properties located North of Highway 55

Police Protection

Wright County Sheriff’s Department

Non-emergency:763-682-1162

Hennepin County Sheriff’s

Department

Non-emergency:952-258-5321

Fire Protection

Rockford Volunteer Fire & Rescue

Non-emergency:763-477-6565

Station (Answering Machine)

763-477-4840

Rockford Historical Community News.

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