Making fun of and/or guessing the actual color of the Symbol statue is a favorite pastime for many Rockford, Illinois residents, but many don't realize this sculpture has a slightly sad and eventful history.

JB Love|Townsquare Media
JB Love|Townsquare Media

I have been a Rockford area resident all my life and to me, the Symbol has always been standing along the banks of the Rock River in Sinnissippi Park, but today I learned that is 100 percent NOT TRUE. (Feel free to make fun of me if you must.)

Before I get to the thing I never knew about Rockford's Symbol, let's cover a few facts I know are true about the sculpture:

  1. It was built by a Russian artist named Alexander Liberman in 1978.
  2. It is not orange. The actual color is listed as "Liberman Red'.
  3. It weighs 30 tons.

Now for the embarrassing part, when the Symbol was first installed in 1978, (I was born in 1979), it was placed at West State and Wyman Streets in Downtown Rockford where it remained until 1984.


Henry Bruckner, Rockford Rocked via Facebook[/caption]So, why was the Symbol relocated? That's where the sad part of the sculpture's story comes into play.

History of Rockford's Symbol Sculpture

The Symbol came about thanks to community donations that added up to over $100,000, and was designed to "pay homage to Rockford's industrial metal-bending factories, the traditional economic mainstay of the city" according to

The Symbol's intention was hopeful and meaningful, but its original location at the east end of an unpopular downtown mall was not accepted well by the public. Some people felt the area where it was located was too crowded, while others thought it drew too much attention to a "dead business section" or was just a complete waste of money.

In 1984 the Symbol was taken down and left to rust along the banks of the Rock River (how sad) until art fans convinced the City to clean up and reassemble the sculpture in Sinnissippi Park.

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