Rockford REALTORS® Celebrate 100 Years

Illinois REALTOR Magazine

Rockford Area Association of REALTORS® Celebrates 100 Years

The Illinois Association of REALTORS® congratulates the Rockford Area Association of REALTORS® on its 100-year anniversary.

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®.

Some milestones from the Rockford Area Association’s first 100 years: 

  • 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.
  • Charles E. Jackson, another Rockford association member who also served as state president (1929-1930) is credited with the vision that led to the state association establishing a legislative program.
  • In the 1920s, Rockford’s first female REALTORS® got their start in the business. In 1975, Marian Schwab was appointed the Rockford association’s first female president. 
  • The first Code of Ethics was implemented in 1919.
  • Rockford was among the early sites of IAR’s annual state conventions.

  • In the 1950s, informal meetings to exchange property listings were replaced with a Real Estate Listing Exchange, the precursor to today’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
  • In 1983, the area’s MLS went fully “online” with a new computer system.

(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®



Illinois REALTOR® Magazine | History of The Illinois Association of REALTORS®


Breakout Text: 

Rockford Area REALTORS® logo

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
Frank Wehrstein

2012 President Elect
Tom Ewing

2012 Secretary-Treasurer
Jim Barbagallo

Executive Officer
Steve Bois

History of IAR

April 2012 Illinois REALTOR

Illinois REALTOR®:

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