“A Story to Tell of Two Families – Graham-Ginestra House “ (National Register of Historic Places June 11, 1979) - Freeman Graham arrived with his family from Connecticut and built this house in 1857 with Galena dolomite limestone. He had various businesses including a sour mash whiskey distillery, cotton mill and managed a farm implements company. He was one of the first settlers in Rockford to be elected Alderman.
Sicilian immigrant Leonard Ginestra and wife Mary bought the home in 1927 and Leo operated a mobile home park. The house was later inherited by Therese Ginestra Schmeltzer who kept the home open as a museum until her passing. The basement of this home still features distillery pieces as well as scents from Leon Ginestra’s wine making.
Tour Times are Sundays from 2-4 p.m. Group Tours may be arranged by calling 815 962-7402.
The Graham-Ginestra House and Ethnic Heritage Museum are located in the newly named Heritage Museum Park. Visitors may check in at the Ethnic Heritage Museum - corner of Loomis and S. Main St. - for a tour of both locations.