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Rockford, Minnesota is situated along the north banks of the Crow River and the Lake Rebecca Park Reserve, at its southern border.

Rockford is mostly in Wright County, although a small portion of the city extends into Hennepin County, across the Crow River at the city's east side. The Crow River is formed at Rockford by the confluence of its North Fork and its South Fork. Minnesota State Highway 55 passes through the center of town, in a northwest-southeast direction. Greenfield is about three miles east, Delano six miles southwest, Hanover seven miles northeast, Independence eight miles north-northwest, and Buffalo ten miles to the northwest.

Rockford was platted in 1857, but a post office has been in operation there since 1856. It was incorporated in 1881. There is some disagreement as to the origins of its name.

Some suggest that Rockford was named for the city by that name in Illinois. Although George Ames and Joel Florida were the first settlers in the region in 1855, another early settler was Cyrus C. Jenks, who came from Rockford, Illinois. After a debate over what to name the new township, the group settled on Jenk's suggestion to name it Rockford, for his hometown.

However, another story for its origins, which is repeated on the city's official website, is that it was named for a nearby ford on the Crow River which was rocky in nature. Perhaps the group of early settlers settled on Jenks' suggestion because of the existence of a rocky ford on the river.

Rockford was formed as a result of a campaign started in Saint Paul to attract settlers into the Minnesota Territory. In 1855, the territorial legislature approved the cutting of a road from Minneapolis west to the area that is now Rockford.

The new settlement was cut out of the "Big Woods," which was a thick forest at that time. Settlers dealt with concerns about Indian attacks, and crops were often ruined by swarms of grasshoppers. Early Rockford businesses included a sawmill, woolen mill, and a flour mill, all powered by a dam on the river.

Additional businesses were established to meet the needs of the settlers and those passing through, then the railroad came through Rockford in the 1880s, boosting the town's economy greatly.

Still, the town remained small for many years, its population first exceeding one thousand in the 1970s.

Topics related to Rockford, Minnesota are the focus of this category. Sites representing the city government or any other governmental agency located in Rockford, as well as local churches, schools, organizations, businesses, or people who reside in the city are appropriate for this category.

 

 

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