The House That Roses Built
After a blind person was involved in several fires during the late 1940’s, a group of Rockford Lions and their wives organized a monthly dinner for blind individuals at the Salvation Army Citadel.
This led to the formation of the Winnebago County Association of the Blind (WCAB). The WCAB approached the Lions in 1953 and asked for help building a center that would serve the blind in our community. The Lions pledged to match whatever funds were raised and began their own fundraising efforts by selling roses. Since then, local Lions Clubs sell roses each year to support the Center, which is often referred to as The House That Roses Built. The first location at 625 Adams Street in Rockford, just south of Rural Street, opened in the fall of 1962 through the collaborative efforts of the WCAB and the Rockford Lions Club.
Our original center was a social agency and a recreational facility with several activities, including bingo, bowling, swimming, and chair-caning services to blind or low vision individuals in the Rockford community. In 1984, additional programs were added to serve deaf or hard of hearing individuals. Our mission has continued to evolve and expand to include a variety of healthcare and rehabilitation services to help people optimize their vision and hearing abilities.
41 years later, in 2003, we relocated to the east side of Rockford near the E. State Street exit on I-90. Our nearly 24,000 square foot facility provides clinical, therapeutic, and rehabilitation programs and services that positively impact the people we serve.