LaSalle County, Illinois
|LaSalle County, Illinois|
LaSalle County Courthouse
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|
|• Total||1,148 sq mi (2,973 km2)|
|• Land||1,135 sq mi (2,940 km2)|
|• Water||13 sq mi (34 km2), 1.1%|
|• Density||100/sq mi (39/km²)|
|Time zone||Central: UTC-6/-5|
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 (97 km). The county is part of the far southwestern reaches of the Chicago metropolitan area, and it is also part of the Fox Valley subregion and the larger Northern Illinois region.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Education
- 5 Infrastructure
- 6 Politics
- 7 Communities
- 8 Visitor attractions
- 9 Notable people
- 10 See also
- 11 Notes
- 12 References
- 13 External links
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 Tazewell County, and in 1662, the Fort St. Louis on Starved Rock in present-day LaSalle County. By 1857, the county was served by the daily arrivals of two trains of the Illinois Central Railroad.
As William 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.
The Tri-County Area of DeKalb, LaSalle, and Kendall Counties have been influential in terms of their political, sports, multimedia, industry, and technology. DeKalb County was the birthplace of plant hybridization (DeKalb, DeKalb Agricultural), the hot-air hand dryer (Sandwich, Sahara-Pak), and is the home of supermodel Cindy Crawford, at least 6 MLB players, two NFL coaches, and three NFL players. LaSalle County was home to the Westclox Company for many years, was the site of the first Lincoln-Douglas Debates, and was the home to the discoverer of Pluto, as well as a Wild West figure, multiple published authors, a legendary NCAA athletic director and coach, and multiple political figures. Kendall County is the home to a seminal piece of 20th Century architecture, the birthplace of the Harvester Reaper, (as well as the precursor to the International Harvester Company), the plastic tackle box and plastic-injection molding, and is the home of multiple athletes, politicians, and a former Speaker of the House of Representatives. DeKalb, LaSalle, and Kendall Counties have all been featured in major films, either having been written by residents or former residents, having been filmed in the communities, or both.
La Salle County was founded exclusively by immigrants from New England. These were old stock Yankee immigrants, who were descended from the English Puritans who settled New England in the 1600s. The completion of the Erie Canal caused a surge in New England immigration to what was then the Northwest Territory. The end of the Black Hawk War led to an additional surge of immigration, once again coming almost exclusively from the six New England states as a result of overpopulation combined with land shortages in that region. Some of these later settlers were from upstate New York and had parents who had moved to that region from New England shortly after the Revolutionary War. New Englanders and New England transplants from upstate New York were the vast majority of La Salle County's inhabitants during the first several decades of its history. These settlers were primarily members of the Congregational Church, though due to the Second Great Awakening, many of them had converted to Methodism, and some had become Baptists before coming to what is now La Salle County. The Congregational Church has subsequently gone through many divisions, and some factions, including those in La Salle County, are now known as the Church of Christ and the United Church of Christ. As a result of this heritage, the vast majority of inhabitants in La Salle County − much like antebellum New England − were overwhelmingly in favor of the abolitionist movement during the decades leading up to the Civil War. When the New Englanders arrived in what is now La Salle County, there was nothing but dense virgin forest and wild prairie. They laid out farms, constructed roads, erected government buildings and established post routes. In the late 1880s and early 1890s Irish and German migrants began moving into La Salle County; most of these later immigrants did not move directly from Ireland and Germany, but rather from other areas in the Midwest where they had been living, particularly the state of Ohio.
Ottawa was the first site of the famous Lincoln–Douglas debates on August 21, 1858. 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 State Park, (south of Utica on Illinois Route 178), is the crown jewel. Matthiessen State Park (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 State Park (east of Utica, and west of Naplate/Ottawa on Dee Bennett Road) has an enclosure which features American bison, as well as the mound sculpture complex, known as the Effigy Tumuli. The village is most well known for the April 20, 2004 tornado, which ripped through the 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.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,148 square miles (2,970 km2), of which 1,135 square miles (2,940 km2) is land and 13 square miles (34 km2) (1.1%) is water. It is the second-largest county in Illinois by land area and the fourth-largest by total area.
LaSalle County, Illinois, is one of the few counties in the United States to border as many as nine counties.
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 Illinois River are mostly agricultural, including the Fox River portion of the county, and have few large towns.
|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.
|U.S. Decennial Census
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, 0.18% 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.
- Earlville High School (CUSD 9), also has district area in DeKalb and Lee Counties
- LaSalle-Peru High School, LaSalle
- Leland High School, Leland, also has district area in DeKalb County
- Mendota Township High School, Mendota, also has district area in Bureau and Lee Counties
- Newark Community High School, located within Kendall County, but serves Mission Township
- Ottawa Township High School, Ottawa
- Sandwich Community High School (CUSD 430), located within DeKalb County, but serves Northville Township
- Seneca High School
- Serena High School (CUSD 2)
- Somonauk High School, located within DeKalb County, but serves Northville and Adams Townships
- Streator Township High School, Streator
- Woodland High School, Streator
Colleges and universities
- Illinois Valley Community College, Oglesby and Ottawa
- 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
LaSalle County is divided into thirty-seven townships:
- Deer Park
- Fall River
- Farm Ridge
- Grand Rapids
- Otter Creek
- South Ottawa
- Troy Grove
- Hegeler Carus Mansion
- Hopalong Cassidy River Trail
- Illini State Park
- Kaskaskia Alliance Trail
- LaSalle Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area
- Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial
- Ottawa Avenue Cemetery
- Plum Island Eagle Sanctuary
- Washington Park Historic District (Ottawa, Illinois)
- Wild Bill Hickok Memorial
- 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
- J.A. Happ, (Peru) current pitcher for Toronto Blue Jays, former pitcher for World Series Champions Philadelphia Phillies
- 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 Street 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
- "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
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- History of La Salle County, Illinois: Together with Sketches of Its Cities, Villages and Towns, Educational, Religious, Civil, Military, and Political History, Portraits of Prominent Persons, and Biographies of Representative Citizens : Also a Condensed History of Illinois, Embodying Accounts of Prehistoric Races, Aborigines, Winnebago and Black Hawk Wars, and a Brief Review of Its Civil and Political History, Volume 1 by Inter-state Publishing Company, 1886
- History of LaSalle County, Illinois, Volume 1 by Michael Cyprian O'Byrne Higginson Book Company, 1924
- White, Jesse. Origin and Evolution of Illinois Counties. State of Illinois, March 2010. 
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Monthly Averages for Ottawa, Illinois". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-01-27.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Census.gov. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
- 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|