Local Area History Collection

The Winnebago Area Local History Collection is owned and maintained by the Winnebago Community Historical Society and housed at the Winnebago Public Library, 210 N. Elida Street in Winnebago. The extensive collection of books, photographs, scrapbooks, memorabilia, and clipping files was established at the library in 1990 by Township Historian John D. Rowley. For many years, Winnebago Township owned the collection and assisted with its maintenance. In 2018, the Township transferred ownership of the collection to WCHS. Following an inventory and reorganization of the book collection, the history room was rededicated in October 2019 as the John D. Rowley Local History Room.

John and his assistants are working to digitize the photographs and memorabilia in the collection and to inventory and cross reference the extensive collection of family and organization files.

Access to the Collection
The John D. Rowley Local History Room is normally open and staffed on Thursdays from 2 pm-4m. The collection can also be accessed by appointment.

Attention, Teachers
We can provide programming or materials for your classroom.

WCHS welcomes donations of materials related to the Winnebago area for the local history collection. We appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and assess potential contributions. Space considerations may limit our ability to accept certain items. 

Share Your Memories
We would love to videotape you as you share your Winnebago area memories.

through Winnebago Public Library at 815-335-7050 or via email at [email protected].

Helpful Resources

The Local Area History Collection. focuses on the people and history of Winnebago Township and the area immediately surrounding the Township in northern Illinois.  It does not  focus on Rockford or other Townships in Winnebago County Illinois.

Within Our Focus Area

Winnebago Public Library
210 N. Elida St., Winnebago, IL 61088

Outside Our Focus Area

For those seeking information about individuals from or the history of the Rockford area or Winnebago County outside of Winnebago Township, the resources listed below may be helpful.

Rockford Public Library Local History & Genealogy Department
Hart Interim Library
214 N. Church St. Rockford, IL 61101
The Local History & Genealogy Department, part of the Adult Services Department, exists to provide materials and support for those interested in the history of Rockford and Winnebago County and for those who are doing research in family history. The collection has over 9,000 volumes of books, plus materials on genealogical collection is focused on materials from the United States east of the Mississippi River, particularly those areas people came from when they came to Illinois.

Midway Village Museum Research Library
6799 Guilford Rd. Rockford, IL 61107
[email protected]
The Collections at Midway Village Museum include photographs, postcards, paper materials and objects pertaining to the history of Rockford from the 1830s to the present. These resources are available for researchers by appointment only. Appointments must be made in advance and are scheduled with the Curator of Collections and Exhibits. Walk-ins cannot be accommodated.

North Suburban Library
6340 N. Second St. Loves Park, IL 61111
North Suburban Library District collects and preserves primary documents, photos, and records in various formats that are of historical significance to the communities of Loves Park, Machesney Park, Argyle, Harlem, and Roscoe.

Rockford Historical Society
211 N. Main St. Rockford, Illinois 61101  [email protected]
The Rockford Historical Society is a volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to helping preserve the history of the Rockford area.  The society does not have an archive. They will try to help with a history question by offering connections to others. 

Veteran’s Memorial Hall & Museum
211 N. Main St. Rockford, IL 61101
 The mission of Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum is to preserve, display, and share the artifacts of Rockford and Winnebago County veterans who served in branches of the military.