"This Place Matters" Rockford Edition

We're entering the fourth month of posting here at CitySmiths, and want to say thank you to those of you who've read, commented on, shared, and followed our blog. It's been a very cathartic experience for Michael and me to be able to work through and process things we're learning, thinking, and feeling when it comes to cities. But a crucial part of us wanting to start this site was to find and share (and potentially start!) ways to "live toward a better city, one day at a time." So we're excited to share and invite you to join us in what will be what will be the first CitySmiths activity!

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has started an initiative called "This Place Matters" which invites people from across the nation to take pictures of places that matter to them and to share why it is important, to their history and their future. It's a great opportunity for people to celebrate a place that holds great meaning to them and connect with others who might feel the same way. Through sharing these photos on social media and using the hashtag #thisplacematters people from all walks of life are curating a beautiful story of places that, regardless of their current physical state, still carry deep meaning and value.

An empty building, a decaying structure, are not always easy things to which meaning and value can be attached. By sharing the story of a place -- an experience you or your ancestors had there, the people who lived or worked there, the things that were made there, the events that occurred there, how it fits into the overall story of a city -- the reason why that place matters can be more clear. The goal of the National Trust is to preserve and save places that matter. Rockford has a lot of places that have already been lost or are in danger of being lost because they are perceived as no longer having value. So let's share some stories and change that perception!

Every month we'll meet at a place somewhere in Rockford to share stories, memories, experiences with that place in an effort to connect more deeply to our history and to each other. Michael and I will bring our "This Place Matters" flags and you can order your own, for free, here (scroll down all the way to the bottom). We'll take a picture and post it on CitySmiths and connect it to all the other #thisplacematters stories that are accumulating.

Michael and I have December, January, and February planned (we'll announce each location closer to the date we'll meet) but we need your help coming up with more places to celebrate. If you know the date on which the place opened, or was dedicated, or when it burned or was torn down, those might be good dates to suggest we meet there. Perhaps you'll choose the date your parents were married there, or when you great-uncle became the factory foreman. We're totally open to suggestions, so add them in the comments below!. And obviously, there are more places that matter than we can possibly highlight here -- please share places that matter to you on your feeds and use the tag #thisplacematters! If you're sharing on Instagram and are so inclined, tag @citysmiths_rockford as well to let us know about your efforts.