Illinois was the first state in the country to ratify the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery. The amendment was ratified by Illinois on February 1, 1865, before it was ratified by any other state.

La Salle County, located in Illinois, has a rich history that dates back hundreds of years. The region was initially inhabited by Native American tribes such as the Illinois, Miami, and Pottawatomie. European explorers, including Frenchman René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, arrived in the late 17th century to establish fur trading posts along the Illinois River.

In the early 19th century, La Salle County witnessed a surge in immigration, particularly from Eastern states such as New York and New England. The county began to develop rapidly, with settlers building towns, farms, and businesses. The construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal in the 1830s further boosted the region's growth, connecting Lake Michigan to the Illinois River and facilitating transportation and trade.

During the mid-19th century, La Salle County played a significant role in the development of the American Midwest. Its natural resources, including coal and limestone, were crucial for fueling the Industrial Revolution. The county became a center for mining and quarrying, attracting workers from various ethnic backgrounds.

The early 20th century brought both prosperity and challenges to La Salle County. Economic growth continued, driven by industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation. However, the Great Depression in the 1930s deeply affected the region, leading to unemployment and economic struggles. The county, like the rest of the United States, recovered during World War II as industry boomed to support the war effort.

Today, La Salle County remains an important hub in Illinois, valued for its natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and historical significance. From the shores of the Illinois River to the heritage sites in small towns like Utica and Ottawa, the county reflects a diverse range of cultures and communities shaped by its fascinating past.

  • 1831 - La Salle County is established
  • 1832 - The first settlement is established
  • 1838 - The Illinois & Michigan Canal is completed, boosting the county's economy
  • 1855 - The town of Ottawa becomes the county seat
  • 1862 - The Civil War causes economic struggles for the county
  • 1875 - The first railroad reaches the county, improving transportation
  • 1894 - The county faces a major mine strike
  • 1920 - Prohibition era begins, affecting the local economy
  • 1946 - The county faces a devastating tornado
  • 1953 - The Starved Rock State Park is opened, attracting tourists
  • 1970 - Construction of the La Salle Nuclear Power Plant begins
  • 1993 - The power plant is shut down due to regulatory issues
  • 2008 - La Salle County celebrates its 175th anniversary