Beginnings and history of Rochelle, Illinois in 20,000 words and photographs as old as 1876.
Barnes & Noble
The Lincoln Highway through Rochelle, Illinois, was originally a Potawatomi Indian trail. In 1853 Robert P. Lane purchased lane near the settlement known as Hickory Grove and called the town Lane. After a scandal, the citizens renamed their village Rochelle. From there the town grew to the largest city in Ogle County, Illinois. Rochelle's also famous railroad park and its diamond (crossing of Burling Northern and Santa Fe Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad) attract visitors throughout the year. This is also the home town of actress Joan Allen, down the highway from home town DeKalb of model Cindy Crawford.
Known originally as Hickory Grove, Rochelle acrued the nickname of Loblolly Grove. A loblolly was a Southern term for someone who lived around wetlands. Loblolly pines grew best in poor surface drainage soil, such as on the terraces of rivers like Kyte Creek. So the Hickory Grove settlers became known as loblollies.
Loblolly pines are sturdy pioneer trees. Their seeds feed animals, birds, and wild turkeys. Woodpeckers live in their cavities. Hickory Grove became workld-known for its bird hunting. Prince Albert of the United Kingdom is said to have hunted there. Loblolly pines were a preview of the people who would create the strong, enjoyable town of Lane.