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Rockford, Illinois

Rockmen Guardians

The city of Rockford, Illinois is symbolically protected by a quartet of fittingly stony sentinels. 

Standing eternal guard in the terrifically named Sinnissippi Park are a stoic quartet of golems known as the Rockmen Guardians who have acted as silent sentinels of the city of Rockford, Illinois since the late 1980s. 

Created by Milwaukee artist Terese Agnew in 1987, the four stone figures cut proud silhouettes in their secluded spot in the park. The 12-foot tall guardians are made up completely of boulders, each weighing hundreds of pounds, and held together with cement. They each hold a different superheroic pose with the obvious leader holding his hand on a rocky sword, ready for battle. The bulbous boulder men are designed to look as though they are wearing historic suits of armor complete with battle skirts, not that giants made of rock would need such protection. And lest anyone accuse the Rockmen Guardians of being gendered in the admission to their ranks, it appears as though at least two of the figures are female, although this could also just be a bit of confusion caused by boulder pecs.

Not ones to shout out their existence, the Rockmen stand among a small group of pine trees along the Rock River Recreational Bike Path not unlike a rocky family of bigfoots. Given a name like Rockford it is little surprise that the city’s silent protectors would be made of rock.

Illinois Week on Atlas Obscura was created in partnership with Enjoy Illinois as part of the launch of the new Illinois Obscura Society. Sign up to find out more about the back room tours, unusual adventures, and incredible parties that Atlas Obscura will be putting on in Chicago and greater Illinois.