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A dynamic multi-cultural city, Rockford is the third largest city in Illinois sitting on both banks of the Rock River. It has the highest per capita concentration of Swedish immigrants in the whole of the United States, but this is only a fraction of the melting pot of nationalities in the town. African-Americans arrived when the army base of Camp Grant was built during WWI, thousands of Italians arrived between the years of 1878 and 1912 and over the years diverse ethnic groups flocked to Rockford such as the Irish, the Germans and the Poles as well as other Eastern European nationalities. Due to the large number of Swedish skilled woodworkers, Rockford had over 90 furniture factories before 1950 and later became the town for high-tech precision metalworking. Known as "Forest City", the multi-ethnic base gave rise to an international cuisine scene where you are never short of international food choices.
Apart from feeding your face, the town is known for its architectural wonders such as the Art Deco and Spanish Baroque Revival "Coronado Theater" where Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra and the Marx Brothers have all performed. You will find a Gothic Revival example at the "Lake-Peterson House" and the Victorian era with a Swedish influence can be found at the "Erlander Home Museum" whilst the "Tinker Swiss Cottage" was featured in an episode of "Ghost Hunters" in 2012. You can also gawk at a Frank Lloyd Wright building, the Usonian home, now a museum. The oldest music club in the nation is worth investigating, the "Mendelssohn Club" and there is the Museum of Natural History for the history buffs.
Once you have had your fill of architecture, head to the Rock Cut State Park's 3,000 odd acres to explore by foot, bike, boat or however you fancy. You will find the Anderson Japanese Gardens and the Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden for some Zen moments. There is the Aldeen Golf Course to chase white balls on if so inclined.
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