by Melanie Moore Krogman.
You know those cute grey and red sock monkeys we see in toy stores? Yes! A piece of the story behind them lies within the walls of this charming, not too big, but not too small, perfectly petite, 1557-sq. ft. house. This Second-Empire style, two-story house in Rockford, Illinois boasts an amazing staircase, fireplace, and hardwood floors. It also retains its exterior ornament: dormer windows, paired brackets, hooded windows, and big, welcoming double doors! Its amazing features will sparkle once again when restored to their former state of dignity.
1401 Clifton Ave, Rockford, IL
Listing courtesy of RE/MAX Valley Realtors
Here’s the fun part: Long before it fell into its current state of disrepair, this once-grand home belonged to inventor and industrial pioneer, William Worth Burson. Burson invented an automatic knitting machine to fulfill a contract in partnership with Ralph Emerson and John Nelson. This knitting machine was extremely successful in Nelson’s Knitting Company, which went on to create red-heeled socks in an effort to make their socks stand-out (this feature is still dubbed the “Rockford Red Heel”). From there, came the famed Sock Monkey!
All of that said, get ready to roll up your sleeves. This house has good bones, but is going to require more than a little renovation enthusiasm. For $40,000, this is an incredible opportunity for someone to own a piece of Rockford history… and maybe a pair of sock monkeys.
AUTHOR MELANIE MOORE KROGMAN
Born and raised in Iowa, Melanie’s mother and father both grew up on family farms where the old houses (mostly American Foursquares) were more often than not built by family and handed down to later generations. She remembers trips into town looking out the window of the back seat of the car admiring the Grand Victorian houses on the hills overlooking the river.
Melanie has a degree in Art Education from South Dakota State University. She has taught visual art and art history for 18 years. Besides teaching, she stays busy with her three kids, Kyle, Karlee and Caden along with the family dogs, Gus and Buddy. She can still be seen going through historical districts, but now she’s in the driver’s seat! She is super excited to contribute to CIRCA and hopes to help save some old houses!