I explore towns and cities all across the country and describe what physically exists as well as some of the reasons why things are the way they are. The same basic conditions are in evidence in most places and it’s not always pretty. […]
I’ll use Rockford, Illinois as an example of how I think things will play out over time. But it’s important to understand the town’s historical trajectory first. The downtown of Rockford exists because of the Rock River. It was possible to cross or ford the river at this location without a bridge back in the early days so this was a natural gathering spot for commerce and trade. The surrounding forests and farmland provided raw material, fuel, and food for the town. Swedish and Irish immigrants settled the area and manufactured furniture and agricultural machinery in factories along the waterfront. Rockford grew to become the largest city in Illinois outside of Chicagoland.
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