One of the great joys of traveling around the country for work is getting to see events and landmarks that you probably would never see otherwise. Even though one of the museum attendants told us that some folks came from Atlanta, Georgia to see the sock monkey festival, I doubt that very many made the 1,000 mile trek to see some historical brown socks with red heels.
But if you are located for a few months, in a part of the country where you have never been, you are happy to visit the local museum and see unusual sights. I had no idea when we got the call to go to Rockford, that it was known for the sock monkey. The way it goes is that John Nelson immigrated to Rockford from Sweden in 1852. He was an inventor and started several factories in the town. He knew that there could be a better way to make a sock and was determined to invent a machine that would do it. So at the risk of losing everything, meaning that he sold his furniture company, and his wife had to take in laundry, it finally came together for him in 1870. Then an innovative knitter made a monkey out of those socks and….. the rest is history.