Rockford Redux

~~ After the Fire: We Keep Going. It’s What We Do ~~

We have successfully removed the Rockford Cabinet Company Entranceway from its former location and have it safely stored in the former National Lock Building. We are entering Phase 2 of our fundraising efforts for reconstruction of the doorway as soon as we decide on a suitable location for this historic treasure. You can view some photographs of the removal process by clicking here.




 Rockford Cabinet Company Entry: A storied past, a hopeful future!


On January 6th, 2015 a massive fire destroyed the Rockford Cabinet Company building, a 187,000 square-foot property on 11th Street and 18th Avenue. Remarkably, the 14'x12' limestone entry remained intact.


With your help, we can salvage this icon of Rockford's manufacturing history. Visit the 'Mission Statement' section of our website and the 'Building History' page to learn more about the piece.


    ~~ After the Fire: We Keep Going. It’s What We Do ~~


That’s what Chicago did after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. And where did they turn to for new furniture? You guessed it: Rockford.


 The Rockford Cabinet Company helped put Rockford’s furniture-making industry on the map, in Chicago and across the country. Founded in 1880 at 309-311 South Main Street, the company grew rapidly, acquiring other businesses and expanding its line of products. After a long period of sustained growth, it erected a new factory building in 1924 at 11th Street and 18th Avenue. At 187,000 square feet, it was considered to be one of the largest furniture factories in the world.


(The building housed other interesting enterprises. WWII soldier uniforms were made here by W. Shanhouse & Sons, a clothing manufacturer known around the globe. Shanhouse occupied the building from July 1941 until 1951.The Shanhouse corporate office would remain in the building until 1957. Carter Corporation best known for its manufacture of toys and electronic items moved into the building in 1958 and continued operations there until 1989.) See our Building History section for more detail.


On January 6, 2015, the factory was destroyed by a massive fire. Remarkably, the limestone entryway remained intact, while the building behind it was burned to the ground. It was as if the doorway had a life of its own and refused to die. The entry is decorated with distinctive details that make it unique and noteworthy: The company’s name is engraved on the lintel, flanked by Rockford Rs and sculptured eagles. Rockford residents began to ask: “Is there any way this entry can be saved?” After consulting with a well-known mason contractor specializing in historic properties, we have concluded that the piece has not been damaged by the fire. It, indeed, can be removed safely and re-purposed successfully.



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