The History of Loves Park

In 1901, Rockford industrialist and civic leader Malcolm Love purchased a 236-acre tract of land along the Rock River. Love’s property served as a gathering place for social events for several of his industrialist friends and became known as Love’s Park. A railroad soon cut through the area, which population boomed.

The community incorporated in 1947 become the City of Loves Park with 4,500 residents and a municipal government of 8 aldermen and Mayor Homer E. Burton. From 1947-1949, a fire department, police department, and city hall were established with the help of volunteer contributions. The commercial and industrial sector continued to rise throughout this period, and the Parkside Citizen, a biweekly “news sheet,” addressed the new development and city issues.

The 1950 U.S. Census found Loves Park with the following:

City Size (Square Miles)


Median Income

Total Dwellings

Number of Radios

Number of Televisions

“The City with a Heart”

The 1950s brought modern growth to Loves Park. The city became a fully functional community, with a variety of amenities including a train station, grocery stores, and food markets, a library, churches, restaurants, and gas stations. Loves Park had one more great aspect that brought in residents – the lack of a municipal property tax.

Still true today, the city is known as a great place to live with a substantially low cost-of-living. Loves Park provides all of the amenities a community needs through the collection of sales tax within the commercial sector. In the 1950s, the Loves Park Toll Bridge, which crossed the Rock River at Riverside Boulevard and linked the city to Rockford, was built as a symbol of the growth and success of Loves Park. The tolls taken at the bridge provided revenue to pay for the bridge construction over a 40 year period, however, enough toll revenue was accumulated in only 12 years and the bridge construction was paid off early.

Another symbol of the success and prosperity of the Loves Park area was Kiddieland Park. This small amusement park provided fun and entertainment for families, with rides for children and fun for all ages. and carnival rides.

Learn more about the City of Loves Park in the book:

“History of Loves Park, Illinois”
by Craig G. Campbell

A limited number of these hardcover books are available for free at the City Clerk’s Office located at Loves Park City Hall.

Front Cover

Images of America: Loves Park