Sock Monkey

This 6-foot tall sock monkey statue was commissioned by Amcore Bank in Rockford, Illinois in 2005. Amcore provided the funding to purchase the fiberglass frame and then arranged for local artist Jane Petersson Hooker (Tom Petersson’s sister) to design the monkey. Tom Petersson donated one of his Waterstone TP-2 12-string basses to the project. This statute was later donated by Amcore Bank to the Midway Village and Museum Center, which still displays it prominently.

The sock monkey travels throughout the Rockford area visiting schools and events.


A little history: Rockford, Illinois was the home of the Nelson Knitting Company, incorporated in 1880 by John Nelson, inventor of the sock knitting machine. Around the end of the 19th century, mothers began using the socks to create sock monkeys and other animals as toys for their children. In 1920, Nelson Knitting Mills began to include directions for making sock monkeys with every pair of socks they sold.

A few years ago the tourism folks in Rockford resurrected the idea of the sock monkey. Now a small army of these sock statues, some standing up to 7 feet tall, show up at events in the Rockford area. Some are even flown to special occasions all across the country.


Guitarist Rick Nielsen with the Cheap Trick sock monkey and the artist, Jane Petersson Hooker.

Front page teaser from the Rockford Register Star.

Article published in the Rockford Register Star on Tuesday, August 2, 2005.


The placard at the foot of the sock monkey.


It is rumored that when the museum closes at night, the Sock Monkey comes alive and plays Motorhead tunes. And even more oddly, checkered-tailed sock monkeys are usually only found in Madagascar…

Editor’s note: Amcore bank was declared insolvent and closed in 2010. Maybe they spent too much money on sock monkey statues….