Main Births etc
LaSalle (La Salle)
none Downtown LaSalle, Illinois.
Downtown LaSalle, Illinois.
Official name: La Salle
Country United States
State Illinois
County LaSalle
Townships LaSalle, Utica, Peru, Waltham, Dimmick
Elevation 517 ft (158 m)
Coordinates 41°20′28″N 89°5′27″W / 41.34111, -89.09083
Highest point 655 feet (200 m)
 - location ABC Wire, Inc.
Lowest point 438 feet (134 m)
 - location Illinois and Michigan Canal
Area 12 sq mi (31 km²)
 - land 11.91 sq mi (31 km²)
 - water 0.09 sq mi (0 km²)
Population 9,601 (2010)
Density 1,500.15 / sq mi (579 / km²)
Founded 1852
Date May 25
Mayor Jeff Grove
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code 61301
Area code 815, 779
Location of LaSalle within Illinois
Location of LaSalle within Illinois
Locator Red.svg
Location of LaSalle within Illinois

Wikimedia Commons: LaSalle, Illinois

LaSalle is a city in LaSalle County, Illinois, United States, located at the intersection of Interstates 39 and 80. It is part of the OttawaStreator Micropolitan Statistical Area. Originally platted in 1837 over one square mile, the city's boundaries have grown to 12 square miles (31 km2). City boundaries extend from the Illinois River and Illinois and Michigan Canal to a mile north of Interstate 80 and from the city of Peru on the west to the village of North Utica on the east. Starved Rock State Park is located approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) to the east. The population in 2010 was 9,601,[1] down from 9,796 of the 2000 census. LaSalle and its twin city, Peru, make up the core of the Illinois Valley.[2] Due to their combined dominance of the zinc processing industry in the early 1900s, they were collectively nicknamed "Zinc City."


LaSalle was named in honor of the early French explorer, Robert de LaSalle. In presettlement times the Illinois River was navigable upstream only to LaSalle; beyond LaSalle were a series of portages, in which boats had to be carried around rapids. During the 1830s, the Illinois and Michigan Canal was built to connect the Illinois River with Lake Michigan. LaSalle was the southwestern terminus of the Canal; Chicago the northeastern. At first LaSalle was the larger of the two cities, but it was soon dwarfed by its partner on the Lake.

Although the original town of LaSalle was platted in the 1830s, the city was not incorporated until 1852.

In 1838 large groups of Irish immigrants moved to the area to work on the canal. In May 1838, the War of the Kerry Patch broke out at Marseilles. The South Irish fought the North Irish, and after the South Irish won, they were joined by two hundred men at the Kerry Patch, near Split Rock Lake and the Pequamsoggin. They then marched on Peru and destroyed the shanties and beat up any Connaught or Ulster man they could find. Sheriff Woodruff and his deputy, Zimri Lewis, along with canal contractor, William Byrne, formed a posse and met them near Buffalo Rock. The posse fired upon a mob of five hundred armed South Irishmen led by "General" Sweeney. The mob dispersed,some fled into the river and were shot, many were arrested, officially only ten were killed.

The Illinois Central Railroad crossed the Illinois river over a mile-long bridge through the eastern side of town on its way from Cairo to Galena. The railroad was the cause of a riot in 1853.[3] In 1853, laborers working on the Illinois Central bridge disputed wages with the contractor, Albert Story. He promised to pay them one dollar and a quarter for their daily wage, but later lowered it to a dollar. Some had not read the notice and were incensed at seeing their paychecks. They broke down the door on Story's house with axes, picks, and shovels. Story tried to flee on horse, but the men rushed the stable and with picks, shovels, and stones murdered him. Twelve were arrested and convicted. Governor Matteson commuted the death sentence to imprisonment for life and later granted them full pardons. When Governor Matteson visited LaSalle, he was publicly burned in effigy.

Coal miners, in sympathy with railroad workers, went on strike in the Great Railroad Strike of 1877.

On April 18, 1880, a cyclonic windstorm tore off the roofs of houses, St. Partrick's school, toppled the Baptist Church, the engine house, the glassworks, and "entirely destroyed all fences between Utica and LaSalle."[4]

LaSalle quickly developed as a railroad hub, due to the Illinois Central, Rock Island Railroad, LaSalle and Bureau County, and Chicago Quincy and Burlington railroads. The commercial stimulus in the downtown created many hotels, restaurants, and bars to cater to passengers.

In the 1920s and 1930s, due to the prohibition, the city was host to many casinos and taverns and dubbed by its Chicago market, "Little Reno".

Though the loss of several large companies, as well as the favoring of large business over small business, led a great atrophy in the local economy. Today many businesses are returning to LaSalle's downtown.


Six years after incorporation, two men – Frederich W. Matthiessen and Edward C. Hegeler – established the Matthiessen and Hegeler Zinc Company in LaSalle. This company would remain one of the largest employers in the city until its closure in the 1960s. Edward Hegeler built the world famous Hegeler Carus Mansion near his company's site. His daughter, Mary, married Paul Carus – Editor of the Open Court Publishing Company. The Hegeler's are noted for introducing Buddhism to the United States. Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki lived in LaSalle and wrote for Open Court. In 1915 Edward Hegeler Carus, a grandson of Edward Hegeler founded Carus Chemical Company. Matthiessen later became mayor of LaSalle.

Matthiessen State Park is a local state park entailing the country estate of Frederich Matthiessen. Hegeler owns the namesake of Hegeler City Park on St. Vincents Avenue.

Other Early Industries in LaSalle:

  • LaSalle Machine and Tool Company
  • Kahn Shirt Factory
  • LaSalle Pressed Brick Company.
  • German American Portland Cement Company

LaSalle is currently home to the Carus Chemical Company,[5] Illinois Cement Company,[6] Air Products,[7] News Tribune, Buckman's Scrap, and the JC Whitney distribution center and Retail Store,[8] Machelle's Backstreet,[9] along with many other local industries and businesses.


Coal was noted at LaSalle when a survey of the canal was made by Major Long in 1817. Coal mines fueled LaSalle's development. The town was the site of a furious firefight during the Bituminous Coal Miners' Strike of 1894. The earliest mine in the area was Dixwell Lathrop's Mine near Rockwell in 1839. LaSalle had one of the three mine rescue stations in Illinois, the others being in Springfield and Benton. Other mines in LaSalle include:[10]

  • Kentucky Mine, 1856–1873
  • Matthiessen and Hegeler Mine, 1874–1937
  • Rockwell Mine, 1865–1912
  • LaSalle Mine, 1874–1949
  • Caledonia Mine, 1870–1884
  • Blackball Mine


La Salle is located at 41°20′28″N 89°5′27″W / 41.34111, -89.09083 (41.341056, −89.090834).[11]

Centrally located along the Illinois and Michigan Canal at the crossroads of I-39 and I-80, LaSalle is just six miles (10 km) from Starved Rock State Park.

According to the 2010 census, the city has a total area of 11.85 square miles (30.7 km2), of which 11.76 square miles (30.5 km2) (or 99.24%) is land and 0.09 square miles (0.23 km2) (or 0.76%) is water.[12]


LaSalle's older neighborhoods can be considered divided by Joliet/St. Vincents and 11th Street to form four residential neighborhoods formalized by wards.

In the Southwest Quadrant, North of the I&M Canal is LaSalle's Downtown. Downtown businesses include: KFC, Marty's Barber Shop, La Salle Public Library, Monari's 101, King Tire, and Lawn And Garden Center, located at the former site of the Peru-LaSalle Station. Uptown Grill is located at 1st and Gooding. Illinois and Michigan Canal Lock 16 and The Volunteer operate here.[13][14] Bucklin Street is a wide boulevard splitting this neighborhood in half. There are many fine homes in this part of town. LaSalle-Peru Township High School is here.

The Southeastern Quadrant is home to the Hegeler-Carus Mansion and the Carus Chemical Co. Pulaski Park is located in front of Trinity Catholic Academy. This part of La Salle includes the 8th Street Business District, which contains a drug store, a Mexican restaurant, a casual dining center, and a bakery and toy train store.

The Northeastern quadrant of LaSalle was primarily workers' residences for the M&H Zinc Co. Early paternal improvement included the asbestos-filled Matthiessen School, Hegeler Park, and St. Mary's Hospital. East of the residential area are the ruins of M&H. Saint Vincent and Saint Hyacinth's cemeteries are located near the north end of city limits. Matthiessen School and St Mary's Hospital have since been abandoned.

The Northwestern quadrant houses the majority of the public school system: Northwest Elementary School and Lincoln Jr. High; as well as LaSalle-Peru Christian Academy. There are several large stately residences on Bucklin Street. Parts of this neighborhood were built over an old horse racing track. The far north of this quadrant is industrial, built along Route 80. Flying J and Denny's are located at Illinois Route 351 and North 30th Road.

To the east of the Little Vermillion River is the Eastern Acquirement. Rotary Park is being constructed here. This is a low populated area with less than 1,000 residents, and includes the LaSalle Speedway.


The Rockwell Colony was founded in 1838 by a group from Norwich Connecticut, due east of LaSalle. They hoped that Illinois Central would cross the Illinois River and that the Illinois and Michigan Canal would terminate at that location. Instead these two events happened in nearby LaSalle. Soon after, the thriving colony of two hundred people was wiped out by a malaria epidemic. Its territory was later incorporated into the city of LaSalle.


Climate data for LaSalle, Illinois
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 29
Average low °F (°C) 12
Source: <La Salle, Illinois Weather= > (2011). "LaSalle, Illinois Weather". LaSalle, Illinois Weather Data. Open Publishing. Retrieved September 12, 2011. 


Entertainment and the Arts[]

LaSalle has performances by the Illinois Valley Symphony. Stage 212 and a ballet studio cultivate the performing arts. Matthiessen Auditorium hosts many examples of performing arts, including the LaSalle-Peru Township High School band, jazz band, choir, musical, and local junior high bands. Maestro and Mi educates musicians.

The Jazz in the Street festival has been held annually since 2006 on the Saturday before Columbus Day. Most years, there have been appearances by locally popular bands, including the Illinois Valley Community College and even Northern Illinois University jazz bands. The day after this festival, the Burgoo festival is held in neighboring town North Utica.


LaSalle has several National Historical Structures: Hotel Kaskaskia, the Hegeler-Carus Mansion, the Julius W. Hegeler House, and the LaSalle City Building.

There is a Museum and Visitor's Center dedicated to the I&M Canal on First and Joliet Streets.

In the Lock 14 basin, just one block south of downtown La Salle on Route 351 is the Volunteer, an 1880s replica Canal Boat. Tourists can enjoy a mule pulled ride on the waterway that changed the face of the nation – the historic Illinois & Michigan Canal. The one-hour, roundtrip journey on a full-size replica canal boat will take you on the same hand-dug waterway that 19th century pioneers traveled. Your guides, dressed as Canal Era crew and passengers, will take you back in time to life on the American frontier and the Illinois prairie.

A few steps from the boat dock and the mule corral, meet ten passengers who rode a canal boat between 1848 and 1853 and three men who worked on the packet boats. These full size steel silhouettes and their labels introduce you to famous and not-so-famous people who walked here before you. Among the famous, see mule driver Wild Bill Hickok, Abraham Lincoln and his family, and Chief Shabonna. Ticket information is available by clicking here.

La Salle also has a National Historic Landmark, in the Hegeler Carus Mansion. The Mansion, built in 1874 for the Hegeler Family by W. W. Boyington is a lavish Victorian-era home with 57 rooms, 10 fireplaces, the oldest private gymnasium in America, and a dining room table that seats 22 people. A showcase of premier 19th century architecture and design, the mansion features intricate, hand-painted walls and ceilings, elaborate woodwork, century-old chandeliers, parquet floors, floor-to-ceiling windows; etched glass windows and other fine details.

The Mansion was associated with advances in Manufacturing, Education, Publishing and Religious Dialog.

The Hegeler Carus Mansion is open for tours all year round and attracts artists, architects and tourists from all over the world. It is the most intact and unaltered example of the work of August Fiedler in existence. The Mansion is owned and operated by the Hegeler Carus Foundation, and is being painstakingly preserved and restored. Most of the exterior restoration is complete, and work on the interior has begun.

In 2012, the Hegeler Carus Mansion became a venue for outdoor Music with its Summer Sunset Concert Series each Friday night in the Summer months.

The Mansion is located at 1307 Seventh Street, at the intersection of Seventh and Sterling streets. For tours, membership, a list of upcoming events or volunteer opportunities visit


There are many parks and nature areas within the city. These include:

  • Hegeler Park

Hegeler Park is LaSalle's largest park. The park was donated by the Hegeler family in 1912. It includes three playgrounds, two baseball diamonds (Adam Bernardi, Volunteer), a softball diamond, a concession stand (only operates during baseball games), restrooms, drinking fountains, the Francis Coutts Tennis Courts, two shelters, two sand volleyball courts and the 85 year old Veterans Memorial Pool.

  • Matthiessen Park (not to be confused with the local Matthiessen State Park)
  • Pulaski Park
  • St. Mary's Park
  • Mary Hegeler Carus Memorial Park
  • Tanagool Park
  • Ninth Street Park
  • Prairie Wildlife Park
  • Rotary Park (under construction)


LaSalle was once a city of smokestacks and churches. St. Patrick's Cathedral, St. Hyacinths, and Holy Rosary churches lead the city's Catholic scene. Trinity Church and the 1st Congregational Church of LaSalle, complete the old churches. St. Roch's and Resurrection have been re purposed. New Churches have sprung up downtown in old shopfronts and schools.


LaSalle has many Little League baseball teams. There are many youth, middle school and high school teams, as well as the Illinois Valley Community College Eagles.

The city housed the LaSalle Blue Sox of the Illinois-Missouri League in 1914.[15] They posted a 26-60 record.


Many radio stations are in the area, including WLPO, WAJK, and WLWF.

For newspaper, the NewsTribune serves the area, as well as many Chicago newspapers.


LaSalle-Peru Township High School serves 9th–12th graders. LaSalle Elementary School District 122 (made up of three schools: Lincoln Junior High, Northwest Elementary, Jackson Preschool) offers education for grades PreK-8th, as well as Trinity Catholic Academy. There is also CCD at St. Hyacinth's Felician Learning Center on Wednesdays.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 3,993
1870 5,200 30.2%
1880 7,847 50.9%
1890 9,855 25.6%
1900 10,446 6.0%
1910 11,537 10.4%
1920 13,050 13.1%
1930 13,149 0.8%
1940 12,812 −2.6%
1950 12,083 −5.7%
1960 11,897 −1.5%
1970 10,736 −9.8%
1980 10,341 −3.7%
1990 9,090 −12.1%
2000 9,470 4.2%
2010 9,601 1.4%
Decennial US Census

As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 9,796 people, 4,161 households, and 2,471 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,543.6 people per square mile (595.6/km²). There were 4,510 housing units at an average density of 710.7 per square mile (274.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.73% White, 1.28% African American, 0.17% Native American, 0.48% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 3.07% from other races, and 1.24% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.22% of the population.

There were 4,161 households out of which 27.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.0% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.6% were non-families. 35.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.4% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 18.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 98.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,491, and the median income for a family was $44,638. Males had a median income of $37,095 versus $21,334 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,099. About 12.1% of families and 15.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.2% of those under age 18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over.


The city is at the crossroads of Interstate 80 and Interstate 39. Illinois Route 351 separates the east and west of US Route 6. US Route 51 also runs through the city. The CSX New Rock Subdivision runs through town, with Iowa Interstate Railroad running via trackage rights. The Illinois Railway LaSalle Line also runs through town, crossing the CSX Line and continuing on to a sand pit that they service.

Points of interest[]

  • Hegeler Carus Mansion
  • LaSalle Speedway
  • Peru-LaSalle Station

Notable people[]

  • James T. Aubrey, Jr., (1918–1994) television and film executive. Born in LaSalle
  • Heinie Berger, (1882–1954) pitcher for the Cleveland Naps. Born in LaSalle
  • Timothy Blackstone, (1829–1900) executive, businessman, philanthropist, and politician, 2nd mayor of LaSalle
  • Alexander Campbell, (1814–1890) first LaSalle mayor and Illinois politician
  • Paul Carus PhD, (1852‑1919), German-American editor and first managing editor of Open Court Publishing Company and first editor of The Monist, lived in the Hegeler Carus Mansion
  • Hal Cherne, (1907–1983) offensive lineman for the Boston Redskins. Born in LaSalle
  • John Fitzpatrick, (1904–1990) Major League Baseball coach for the Los Angeles Angels. Born in LaSalle.
  • Mike Goff, offensive guard for the Kansas City Chiefs; attended LaSalle-Peru High School
  • Edward C. Hegeler, (1835–1910) German-American manufacturer and founder of Open Court Publishing Company and The Monist Built the Hegeler Carus Mansion
  • Thomas L. Kilbride, Illinois Supreme Court Justice, born in LaSalle
  • Albert C. Martin, Sr., (1879–1960) architect and engineer, born in LaSalle
  • Philip Godfrey Reinhard, federal judge, born in LaSalle
  • Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, (1870–1966), noted western author of Buddhist and Zen teachings worked on writings and translations at the Hegeler Carus Mansion
  • Walt Tauscher, (1901–1992) MLB pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Senators, born in LaSalle


Further reading[]

External links[]

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at LaSalle, Illinois. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.