During the late 18-hundreds, Rockford was one of the chief furniture makers in the Midwest. The industry was booming with the help of Swedish immigrants. Midway Village Museum Curator of Education Mark Herman says, "For generations, they depended on Swedish craftsmen to come over and do the wood carving and the intricate furniture work that was required." One of those craftsmen was Henry Bengtson who immigrated to Rockfordin 18-91. Herman says, "Just a great story of someone that came here to work inRockford to learn a trade and then stuck with it and worked with it all the way until the end of the era that the factories were needed." When the factory where Bengtson worked finally closed, he retired at the age of 91. "To this day our sister city is in Sweden. It's still a huge connection and there are still a lot of Swedish speaking people and generations of Rockfordians have kept the connections going."
According to the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, the Rockford Region has more Swedish-Americans per capita than any other U-S city.