Established in 1912, the Rockford association was among the earliest local REALTOR® associations formed in Illinois. In the beginning, property showings were aided by horse and buggy and many real estate ads were published in Swedish, reflecting Rockford’s predominantly Swedish immigrant population at the time.
Over the decades, the Rockford Area Association of REALTORS® has grown from around 60 members to 761 today and plays a significant role in championing the local housing market and economy.
“In 1912 at the first Rockford installation there was a small bottle of earth and the inscription ‘Land, the basis of wealth.’ Rockford members have for 100 years applied a meaning of "wealth" beyond income and investment to a century of community and association service,” said Gary L. Clayton, CAE, RCE, chief executive officer of the Illinois Association of REALTORS®, who spoke at Rockford's June 7 event celebrating this milestone.
The Rockford association has a storied history of leadership and collaboration with the Illinois Association of REALTORS®(IAR). In fact, Rockford was there at the beginning.
In May 1916, Rockford was among five charter local boards that joined together to form what would become the Illinois Association of REALTORS®. The objective: To unite brokers, agents, dealers and owners for the purpose of formulating, promoting and enforcing high standards of ethics in real estate.
“Rockford has played a notable role in IAR's history, providing in 1916 one of IAR's first officers; nine past state presidents; hiring the first professional staff; moving and building IAR's headquarters to Springfield; and providing countless hours of committee service and vision,” Clayton said.
On June 7 at a special event at the Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens in Rockford, REALTORS® and local community leaders celebrated the Rockford Area Association of REALTORS® and its long history of service to the Rockford community.
“This is a celebration of fruitful careers, engaged community involvement and of making the American Dream come true for many, many families,” said Steve Bois, chief executive officer of the Rockford Area Association of REALTORS®.
The first president was J.B. Whitehead, who had been instrumental in the creation of the Rockford association. In 1921, he served as president of the state association.
(Source: Rockford Area Association of REALTORS® and the IAR history "A Glimpse from Our Past." )
Historical photos courtesy of the Rockford Area Association of REALTORS®
IAR Salutes the Rockford Area Association of REALTORS®— its proud members and leaders—for 100 years of service to the community and the real estate industry!
Rockford Area Association of REALTORS® 
6776 E. State St.
Rockford, IL 61108
2012 President Elect
History of IAR