LaSalle County, Illinois
|LaSalle County, Illinois|
Location in the state of Illinois
Illinois's location in the U.S.
|Founded||January 15, 1831|
|Named for||René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle|
1,148.04 sq mi (2,973 km²)
1,134.92 sq mi (2,939 km²)
13.12 sq mi (34 km²), 1.14%
98.3/sq mi (38/km²)
|Time zone||Central: UTC-6/-5|
LaSalle County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 113,924, which is an increase of 2.2% from 111,509 in 2000. Its county seat and largest city is Ottawa.
LaSalle County is part of the Ottawa–Streator Micropolitan Statistical Area. LaSalle County borders Woodford, Marshall, Putnam, Bureau, Livingston, Lee, DeKalb, Kendall, and Grundy counties. Though LaSalle County is in the Chicago media market, it retains a unique identity with a mix of pleasant river towns, and vast expanses of farmland. The county is at the intersection of the Chicago, Peoria, Quad Cities and Rockford television markets, with all four regions advertising (and businesses from the respective regions) and having a strong influence on the area such that despite the county's short distance from Chicago, approximately 60 miles, the county does not necessarily see itself as part of Chicagoland, but it is seen as being part of either Northern Illinois or North-Central Illinois.
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 1,148.04 square miles (2,973.4 km2), of which 1,134.92 square miles (2,939.4 km2) (or 98.86%) is land and 13.12 square miles (34.0 km2) (or 1.14%) is water.
Major highways 
- Interstate 39
- Interstate 80
- U.S. Highway 6
- U.S. Highway 34
- U.S. Highway 51
- U.S. Highway 52
- Illinois Route 17
- Illinois Route 18
- Illinois Route 23
- Illinois Route 71
- Illinois Route 170
- Illinois Route 178
- Illinois Route 251
- Illinois Route 351
Adjacent counties 
- Lee County, Illinois to the northwest
- DeKalb County, Illinois to the north
- Kendall County, Illinois to the northeast
- Grundy County, Illinois to the east
- Livingston County, Illinois to the southeast
- Woodford County, Illinois to the south
- Marshall County, Illinois to the southwest
- Putnam County, Illinois to the west
- Bureau County, Illinois to the west
LaSalle County, Illinois, is one of the few counties in the United States to border as many as nine counties. Illinois has two such counties—LaSalle and Pike. LaSalle County is the second-largest county by land area in the state of Illinois after McLean County.
Many of the residents of LaSalle County live in cities and towns along the Illinois River. It is the main population core, with some exceptions, including Streator to the south of the county. Large cities along the river include Ottawa, LaSalle, Peru, and Marseilles. The regions north and south of the river are mostly agricultural and have few large towns.
LaSalle County was formed on January 15, 1831 out of Tazewell and Putnam Counties. It is named for the early French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle. La Salle was the first European recorded as entering the area. He traveled the Mississippi River upriver from the Gulf of Mexico, claimed the land for France, or rather as a possession of King Louis XIV of France and named it Louisiana. In 1680 he and two other French traders built Fort Crevecoeur on the Illinois River in present-day LaSalle County, and in 1662, the Fort St. Louis on Starved Rock. By 1857 the county was served by the daily arrivals of two trains of the Illinois Central Railroad.
As W.D. Boyce reportedly founded the Boy Scouts of America in Ottawa, the Council is named for him. He and two other founders established the BSA, but Boyce is given the sole credit since his faction of the BSA adopted the other two competing factions elements within the organization. LaSalle County is within what is called the Lowaneu Region of the W.D. Boyce Council.
Through the discovery of barbed wire in DeKalb to the North, the invention of the Harvester Reaper Combine in Plano to the Northeast, The discovery of Pluto, and the area's contribution to sports, multimedia, and politics, the entire area of DeKalb, LaSalle, and Kendall counties all have contributed to the advancement of westward American expansion, science, astronomy, popular culture, and literary and political knowledge.
Ottawa was the first site of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates, where Lincoln delivered his "House Divided" speech to the public. The community has a strong association with the 16th President, and elements of the downtown area of the city retain much mid-19th century architecture. People in LaSalle County were predominantly abolitionist in attitude, and many Underground Railroad sites were maintained in the county prior to the American Civil War.
Utica (or the official name of North Utica) is considered the gateway to the Starved Rock area. Visiting three parks provides a full experience of the area. Starved Rock, (south of Utica on Ill 178), is the crown jewel. Matthiessen (south of Starved Rock on Ill 178) has many of the same features of Starved Rock, but is smaller, and faces the Vermilion River to the West. Buffalo Rock (east of Utica, and west of Naplate/Ottawa on Dee Bennett Road) has an enclosure which features buffalo, as well as the mound sculpture complex, known as the Effigy Tumuli. The village is most well known for a tornado in 2004, which ripped through downtown and killed nine people.
LaSalle County from the time of its creation to 1836, including a large tract of unorganized territory temporarily attached to it.
Notable people 
- Bill Brown, (Mendota) former running back for the Minnesota Vikings
- Herbert Crisler, (Earlville) head football coach at the University of Michigan (1938–1947), namesake of the school's basketball stadium, and is credited for created the helmet design for the Michigan football team
- Doug Dieken, (rural Streator) former tackle with the Cleveland Browns (1971-1984); color commentary for Browns radio broadcasts
- Wild Bill Hickok, (Troy Grove) noted historical Western Figure
- Helen Hokinson, (Mendota) cartoonist for The New Yorker
- Silas Johnson, (Sheridan) credited as the last pitcher to strike out Herman "Babe" Ruth; played for the Cincinnati Reds
- Harry Kelly, (Ottawa) 39th governor of Michigan
- Terrence Malick, (Ottawa) film director, known for Badlands and The Thin Red Line; born in Ottawa
- Bob McGrath, (Ottawa), Sesame Steet performer
- Clarence E. Mulford, (Streator) wrote the "Hopalong Cassidy" cowboy novels
- Cleng Peerson, established the community of Norway
- Edward H. Plumb, (Streator) film composer, worked with Walt Disney on Fantasia; nominated four times for an Academy Award
- Maud Powell, (Peru) violinist
- Adam Shabala, (Streator) former outfielder for the San Francisco Giants
- Aaron Shea, (Ottawa) player for the Cleveland Browns
- Clyde Tombaugh, (Streator) astronomer, discovered Pluto
- W.H.L. Wallace, (Ottawa) Brigadier General
- Walt Willey, (Ottawa) actor, known for "All My Children
- Gary K. Wolf, (Earlville) author of Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, adopted into the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
- Clay Zavada, (Streator) pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks
As of the census of 2000, there were 111,509 people, 43,417 households, and 29,827 families residing in the county. The population density was 98 people per square mile (38/km²). There were 46,438 housing units at an average density of 41 per square mile (16/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 94.97% White, 1.55% Black or African American, 0.17% Native American, 0.54% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.71% from other races, and 1.05% from two or more races. 5.19% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 25.8% were of German, 12.7% Irish, 8.8% Italian, 7.6% American, 7.3% English and 7.3% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000. 94.7% spoke English and 3.6% Spanish as their first language.
There were 43,417 households out of which 31.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.70% were married couples living together, 9.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.30% were non-families. 27.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the county the population was spread out with 25.20% under the age of 18, 8.10% from 18 to 24, 28.00% from 25 to 44, 22.30% from 45 to 64, and 16.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 97.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.40 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $40,308, and the median income for a family was $49,533. Males had a median income of $39,256 versus $22,097 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,185. About 6.90% of families and 9.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.10% of those under age 18 and 6.20% of those age 65 or over.
Cities and towns 
LaSalle County is divided into thirty-seven townships:
Secondary schools and colleges 
- Serena High School (CUSD 2)
- Earlville High School (CUSD 9)(Also has district area in DeKalb County)
- Mendota High School (Also has district area in Bureau and Lee Counties)
- LaSalle-Peru Township High School
- Ottawa Township High School
- Seneca High School
- Somonauk High School [Located within DeKalb County, but serves Northville and Adams Townships]
- Leland High School
- Newark High School [Located within Kendall County, but serves Mission Township]
- Streator High School
- Sandwich Community High School (CUSD 430) [Located within DeKalb County, but serves Northville Township]
| Community Colleges:
- Illinois Valley Community College (Oglesby & Ottawa)
| Private Schools include:
- St. Bede Academy
- Marquette Academy
- Holy Cross Catholic School
- Peru Catholic Elementary School
- Illinois Valley Christian Academy
Election history 
- 1960 presidential election- Republican Richard Nixon
- 1964 presidential election- Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson
- 1968 presidential election- Republican Richard Nixon
- 1972 presidential election- Republican Richard Nixon
- 1976 presidential election- Republican Gerald Ford
- 1980 presidential election- Republican Ronald Reagan
- 1984 presidential election- Republican Ronald Reagan
- 1988 presidential election- Democrat Michael Dukakis
- 1992 presidential election- Democrat Bill Clinton
- 1996 presidential election- Democrat Bill Clinton
- 2000 presidential election- Democrat Al Gore
- 2004 presidential election- Republican George W. Bush
- 2008 presidential election- Democrat Barack Obama
- 2012 presidential election- Republican Mitt Romney
Effigy Tumuli at Buffalo Rock State Park; Streator Public Library building; Gen. W.H.L. Wallace window at Christ Episcopal Church, Ottawa; Fox River aqueduct; Vermilion River; and Middle East Conflicts Memorial Wall, Marseilles.
See also 
- 2004 LaSalle County, Illinois earthquake
- National Register of Historic Places listings in LaSalle County, Illinois
- Sandwich Fault Zone
Climate and weather 
|Climate chart (explanation)|
In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Ottawa have ranged from a low of 12 °F (−11 °C) in January to a high of 85 °F (29 °C) in July, although a record low of −25 °F (−32 °C) was recorded in January 1985 and a record high of 112 °F (44 °C) was recorded in July 1936. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.32 inches (34 mm) in February to 4.13 inches (105 mm) in June.
- "La Salle County, Illinois - Fact Sheet". American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. 2000. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: LaSalle County
- "LaSalle County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
- White, Jesse. Origin and Evolution of Illinois Counties. State of Illinois, March 2010. 
- "Monthly Averages for Ottawa, Illinois". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-01-27.
- Forstall, Richard L. (editor) (1996). Population of states and counties of the United States: 1790 to 1990 : from the twenty-one decennial censuses. United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Population Division. ISBN 0-934213-48-8.
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||Lee County||DeKalb County||Kendall County|
|Putnam County and Bureau County||Grundy County|
|Marshall County||Woodford County||Livingston County|