ROCKTON—The village is adding two more local landmarks and erecting national historic district signs to highlight the historical significance of the village and to protect its treasures.
Of the 300 buildings in Rockton’s historic district, most of them were built in the 1840s to 1920s and still feature their historical character, according to Rockton’s Planning & Development Administrator Patricia Diduch.
On Wednesday, July 21 at 5:30 p.m., the Village’s Historic Preservation Commission will gather in front of one of those landmarks, 109 S. Blackhawk Blvd., to celebrate preservation victories before leading the second in a three-part historic walking tour series that begins at 6 p.m. at Settlers Park, 150 E. Hawick St.
Each of the landmarks has received a bronze plaque. While there are many national and state designations for historic preservation, Diduch said having a local classification would require the village to have to approve any demolition of significant changes to the character of the buildings, therefore protecting them.
Rockton’s historic buildings help boost tourism and give Rockton its character.
“We hope to make Rockton a destination for day or weekend trips,” Diduch said.
The two local landmarks added are the Manley Building at 109 S. Blackhawk Blvd. and 119 W. Chapel St. The Manley Building was built in 1907 and has retained its historical exterior elements as a Craftsman-style office building.
The Manley Building was home to the Rockton Moulding Sand Company launched by Edward B. Manley. It served foundries in nearby Beloit and Rockford. Today the building is known as The Green Quarter, a landscape design company owned by Tricia Davey who has restored many historical aspects of the building, Diduch said.
The George Royden house at 119 W. Chapel St. was built between the late 1860s and 1870s and was home to George Royden, who owned and operated the Village’s main grocery store in the 1860s and his son, William, was town druggist at George’s grocery store. Both owners of the local landmarks have recently undergone extensive renovations to preserve the historical integrity of the buildings.
The Village is also celebrating the erection of 17 signs within the National Historic District, designated by the National Park Service in the late 1970s.
The two new local landmarks join two existing local landmarks at 203 W. Franklin St. and 529 Green St., bringing the Village’s total local landmarks to four since the Historic Preservation Commission was approved in 2014 by the Village Board, with the Commission officially operational in 2015.
The local landmark status allows property owners to access economic incentive programs at the local, state and federal levels to increase the likelihood of retaining the historic architectural elements.