What’s to Like About Rockford: Toad Hall, The Coolest Place You Didn’t Know About

Toad Hall Frontage

Toad Hall Frontage

Well you might have known about it, but I sure didn’t. Not until one of my students wrote about the place in a report for class, and all the time while I’m reading I’m thinking, “I need to go to to this store. How cool is this!” And so I did. And you know what?


Love the warm tone of a vinyl record album? They’ve got thousands, from Aerosmith to Mozart to ZZ Top.
Looking for a comic from childhood? Got ’em.
Books in general? Stacked to the ceiling.
Magazines? Those too.
Movie posters. Cassettes and 8 track tapes, 8mm movies, vintage toys, art . . .

Toad Hall Main Floor

Toad Hall Main Floor

And just when you think you’ve seen it all, you round the corner and there’s another nook filled to the brim, another stairwell that leads to another floor with overflowing shelves of Life magazine, TV Guide, true crime books, classical choral and orchestra recordings, Nancy Drew, and Little Golden Books. In this store, John Belushi lives next door to Betty Davis and Louis Armstrong. There is literally and musically, something for everyone.

Toad Hall Main Floor 2

Toad Hall Main Floor Record Bins

So much fun to browse. Plan on spending at least a couple hours. But let’s say you are an out of state friend, or even– out of the continent. That’s okay too, because even though Toad Hall sells a lot of “blast from the past” they are a techno savvy modern day company with an UBER COOL website you can check out here: www.toadhallonline.com.

I went to take a couple pictures and completely lost track of time. I brought my oldest kid, who quickly found the pinball machine. Oh, and you never know who you might run into. Rick Nielsen, from Cheap Trick, likes the place too.

So where to go to find the gem that is Toad Hall? 2106 Broadway Rockford, IL 61104, Hours: Wed-Sun, 12pm-5pm. And, yes, I bought something while visiting for this blog post. Tales from the Crypt, Issues 11-15, Vol 3 Reprint. Couldn’t help myself.

Pictures (C) Karin Blaski 3/30/13