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Rockford Public Schools

In the early years of  Rockford education was generally provided by a parent or the  clergy. Many of the new residents were from the New England states where schools  were well established and education was a much coveted thing. The first school in  Rockford was opened in July, 1837 at 110 South Second Street in a log house with  an earthen floor. The teacher was Miss Eunice Brown and there were six pupils. Before providing a central location for education, students attended two separate  school districts, District 1 on the East side and District 2 on the West side of the  Rock River. The districts were established in 1854 and three years later school  buildings were opened. In 1884 the City Council merged the two districts into one city wide school system and Professor P. R. Walker became the first superintendent  of the newly formed school district.  A high school was established in the same year  but no school building had been built, so the students from  Lincoln, Adams and  Kent schools met on the second floor of a building at 113 West State Street. A  centrally located single high school was  established at 201 South Madison Street on what had been known as the Thurston lots on Madison Street just south of Walnut  Street and was dedicated on March 18,1886. Most schools in early Rockford were  named for the ward they were located in. So if a child lived in the first ward of the  city, he would attend First Ward School, if in the fourth ward, Fourth Ward School  and so on. Under Walker the names of the schools were renamed for local people who contributed greatly to Rockford, with the exception of Adams and Lincoln  Schools named after past presidents and Kishwaukee School named for the  Kishwaukee Indians. Later on in the 1920's junior high schools came along and were named after American Presidents as was the case with Lincoln and Roosevelt Junior High. High Schools in the 1940's followed along the lines of  the geographic location in which they were located, Central High, East and West  respectively. Later Auburn and Guilford named after the roads they are located on,  the exception being Jefferson being named after a president. Lincoln and Adams  Schools were torn down in 1892 and 1893 respectively and in the place of the old  stone buildings, two story brick buildings would replace them. Over the years many  old school buildings were demolished, rebuilt, upgraded and sold. We will expand  on that in a later gallery.

Schools Located in Rockford in 1880

Some postcards and pictures of the Rockford Public School System  over the years

Lincoln School - 3703 West State Street  1857

Freeman School - 910 - 2nd Avenue  1857

Kent School  - 524 Kent Street   1858

 Ellis School - 1520 Elm Street  1868

 Marsh School - Corner of 2nd Avenue & 8th Street

John Nelson School - 600 14th Street  Built 1881

Rockford High School - 201 South Madison Street  Built 1885

Hall School - 426 North Third Street  1866

Garrison School - 1105 North Court Street  1887

Wight School -  1358 Fourth Avenue  1889

Brown School  - 1621 Eighth Street  1892

Highland School - 119 Rome Avenue  1893

Church School - 1411 Blaisdell Street  1894

Kishwaukee School - 526 Catlin Street  1896

Turner School - 1400 Broadway  1898

Blake School - 424 Chestnut Street  1899

Jackson School - 315 Summit Street  1903

P.R. Walker School - 1520 Post Avenue  1912

O. F. Barbour  School - 1116 Montague Street

Theodore Roosevelt Junior High School - 978 Haskell Street  1922

Theodore Roosevelt Junior High School - 930 Haskell Avenue  1922

Wight School -  1358 Fourth Avenue  1923

J. Herman Hallstrom School - 1300 Seventeenth Street   1924

Abraham Lincoln Junior High School - 1500 Charles Street  1924

Abraham Lincoln Junior High School - 1500 Charles Street  1924

Abraham Lincoln Junior High School - 1500 Charles Street  1924

West High School - 1914 Rockton Avenue   1939

West High School - 1914 Rockton Avenue  1939-1940

East High School - 2900 Charles Street  1939-1940

East High School - 2900 Charles Street  1939-1940

George Washington Junior High School - 1421 West Street  1940

Jefferson High School - 2525 Ohio Parkway. Now Flinn Middle School

Auburn High School - 5110 Auburn Street  1960

Guilford High School - 5620 Spring Creek Road  1963

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