About This Place
Rochelle is a city in Ogle County, Illinois, United States. The population was 9,574 at the 2010 census, up from 9,424 at the 2000 census. Rochelle is about 75 miles (121 km) west of Chicago and 25 miles (40 km) south of Rockford. Rochelle is the birthplace and hometown of three-time Academy Award nominee Joan Allen.
Rochelle is known as the "Hub City" because of its location at the intersection of several major transportation routes. The first transcontinental highway in the United States, the Lincoln Highway, passed through Rochelle, as did US-51, one the first highways to go the full north-south length of the United States. Both these roads have diminished in importance (and are now state highways 38 and 251, respectively), but Rochelle continues to be crossed by major highways, especially Interstates 88 and 39. Besides roadways, Rochelle is also crossed by two major rail lines; the Union Pacific Railroad and BNSF Railway mainlines cross inside of the city limits. The effect, as seen on a map, was one of the spokes of an old wagon wheel meeting at the "hub", and thus the nickname was born. Even the local high school's teams are known as the "Hubs".
Rochelle Railroad Park has spawned many imitators, such as the Railroad Platform in Folkston, Georgia. For many years the Whitcomb Locomotive Works, founded by George Dexter Whitcomb, manufactured industrial locomotives as well as the Partin Palmer automobile, in Rochelle.