130 Years on the banks of the Rock
Edgewater and Harlem Park (the section of the neighborhood where Rock Terrace runs along the river) were first platted in 1890. Did you know that an amusement park once stood on the Harlem Park land? Learn more about the Harlem Park Amusement Park HERE. To the right you will find some pictures portraying the rich history of Edgewater. Below, you can find details about the history of this land on the northwest side of Rockford, from 1829 all the way up to 1979 when the Edgewater Neighborhood Association was formed.
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The U.S. Government signed a treaty at Prairie du Chien with the Winnebago Indian tribe. One of the provisions grants a section of land to several individuals, generally children of fur traders and their Indian wives. One of these was Catharine Myott. These land grants were known as “Indian Floats” because they could be used to select any piece of property not already settled.
The first settlers in what is now Rockford; Germanicus Kent, Thatcher Blake and Lewis Lemon, settle near the mouth of Kent Creek on the west side of the Rock River.
Winnebago Co. is created, carved out of Jo Davies Co. Nicholas Boilvin purchased an “Indian float” from Catharine Myott. He used it to select a section of land that included part of what is now the Edgewater neighborhood. Boilvin platted a town there that he named Winnebago and tried to have it named the county seat. He sold lots and blocks to settlers and other land speculators.
The state legislature orders that an election be held to determine the county seat of Winnebago Co. The election is held and Rockford beats out Winnebago 320 to 75. It is the beginning of the end for Winnebago.
The remaining land in Winnebago is sold at a tax sale and the land reverts back to farmland. For the next 45 years, the land is farmed.
Greenwood Cemetery is created when the railroad comes to town and uses the existing cemetery for a rail yard. The old graves are moved to Greenwood.
Mr. Edward H. Marsh purchases the land now constituting Edgewater and plats two subdivisions, Edgewater and Harlem Park. The streets are laid out and the first homes in Edgewater are built. The Harlem Park amusement park is opened. A trolley line is built leading to the park.
Winthrop Ingersoll brings his company here from Cleveland and builds a plant on Fulton Ave. at the north end of Edgewater. Ingersoll Milling Machine Co. becomes a major machine tool manufacturer. The factory is still located on Fulton Ave., a century later. The Schumann Piano factory is built on Fulton St. next door to Ingersoll.
Riverside Park is built in the block bordered by Cumberland, Fulton, Oxford and Van Wie. It is the home of the Rockford minor league baseball team until 1913.
The Rockford Chautauqua is formed and hosts speakers and performers at the Harlem Park auditorium. The Rockford Country Club is founded. The North End High Bridge is built.
The part of Edgewater south of Brown Ave. is annexed into the City of Rockford.
The Rockford Rox baseball team moves to a new home on 15th Ave. Riverside Park is used for local games for a few more years and then is torn down to make room for more houses.
Melrose and Clinton Streets are paved with bricks. The same bricks cover them today.
The area between Brown Ave. and Fulton St. is annexed into the City. There are now 325 houses and apartment buildings in Edgewater.
Harlem Park is closed.
A rival firm purchased the Schumann Piano Co. and the plant on Fulton St. is closed.
The Auburn St. Bridge is built, replacing the old North End High Bridge.
Rock Terrace is built on the site of the old Harlem Park.
Country Club Terrace and Clinton Road are annexed into the City of Rockford.
The area between Fulton and Willoughby where the Ingersoll plant is located is annexed into the City.
The Edgewater Neighborhood Association is founded.