The 1918 Standard Oil Filling Station, which serves as the Rochelle Visitor’s Center and was restored in 2001.
Standard Oil of Indiana acquired this property in 1918 from Carrie E. Stocking of Shelby Bolivar County in Mississippi for the grand total of $6,200. It was a perfect site for the filling station, with the location being on a high visibility corner at a 90 degree turn on the transcontinental Lincoln Highway. This was the first filling station on the LincolnHighway in Illinois and the first one built in Rochelle.
Andrew Carnegie’s first library was built in the town of his birth, Dunfermline, Scotland, on July 27, 1881. This was the beginning of the construction of a total of 2,811 buildings of which 1,946 were erected in the United States. Not wanting to have his name on the buildings, they were commonly recognized by sun rays over the text of the words, “LET THERE BE LIGHT.” The Flagg Township Public Library has the words ‘19 TOWNSHIP PUBLIC LIBRARY 12 ‘ over the original main entrance, was built in 1912, and paid for with Carnegie funds. In 1973 the building was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places by the Department of the Interior. This plaque is located on the south side of the library. The library was expanded in 1988 to its present size with the help of federal funds.
The town hall that almost wasn’t. Even though the land was purchased in 1869 for the grand sum of $2,000 the actual building wasn’t built until 1884. In 1866 Flagg Township voted a township tax of $3,000 for the purpose of building a town hall with the understanding that the City of Rochelle would pay $3,000 as part of its share of the cost and the building would be jointly used by both parties. In 1884 both parties came to an agreement and a local contractor built the building for $6,200. The building was almost demolished in 1968 for additional city parking. Fortunately in 1968 the Flagg Township Historical Society was created with one of its main goals being the preservation of the old brick and limestone building. On June 1, 1971 the historical society obtained the building. It since then has been the home of the museum and the resting place for artifacts of Rochelle’s colorful history. The only existing Partin-Palmer resides there which was produced in Rochelle on the site of the old locomotive factory. This car along with other items are on display for the public
The Lincoln Highway Mural of Emily Post on the corner of Lincoln Hwy & 5th Avenue on Hub City Furniture is the 3rd in a group of 43 murals commissioned by the Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition to be placed in towns along the Lincoln Highway National Scenic Byway in Illinois.
Emily Post, before she became widely known as an author of etiquette books, traveled the newly formed Lincoln Highway in 1915. During her travels she became stuck in the mud in Rochelle and spent 3 days in Rochelle at the Collier Hotel. At that time the Lincoln Highway was America’s only coast-to- coast highway. The 10’ x 20’ mural was unveiled on Memorial Day, May 28, 2007.
The Roberts Armory World War II museum displays artifacts from WWII, specializing in the WWII history of the 70th Tank Battalion, the 10th Mountain Division and of Rochelle area veterans. The museum is typically open on the Sunday before Veterans Day, the Saturday of the Lincoln Highway Heritage Festival and on Memorial Day. Private showings may be accommodated upon request. More information is available at http://www.robertsarmory.com .
The first piece of fire equipment that Rochelle owned was a hand drawn hose cart which was drawn by four men. It was eventually sold to 20th Century Fox for $35 in 1935 to be used in the movies. Next purchased by the City was a 1912 American LaFrance chemical fire truck and the two pieces resided for a time in the town hall. In 1924 a second American LaFrance was bought and is the fire truck that has been restored and whose home is in the Fire Station Museum behind the fire station on Main street. If one happens to come by during the evening hours there is a button on the south side of the Museum that can be pushed to turn the lights on and view “Gertie”, which was Rochelle’s first water pumper.
Anywhere from 80 to 120 trains pass through Rochelle in a 24 hour period. This has made Rochelle a “hot spot” for train watching, drawing visitors from every state in the nation and world wide. Because of the number of visitors, Rochelle acquired the land east of the diamond in 1995 and constructed a park just for train watching. The park, which was dedicated August 30, 1998, includes a handicapped accessible observation pavilion with various vantage sites for the best visitor viewing and photography.
The park also includes a gift shop, a 7 ton Whitcomb engine and 50 ton Whitcomb engine which were built in Rochelle, handicapped accessible restrooms, and a replica of the original 1854 Steel Strap Rail. Visitors can see locomotives from many different railroad companies pass through Rochelle on the Union Pacific and the BNSF lines.