LaSalle (population: 9,796) is located in north central Illinois along the Illinois River.
Interstates 39 & 80 meet near the community, and US Route 6 along with Illinois 351 are among the main roads that bring
people to LaSalle.
The history of the area goes back to 1673 when Father Jacques Marquette and Louis
Jolliet travelled upstream on the Illinois River, but it wasn't until 1837 when the community was first platted.
Incorporation took place in 1852 and LaSalle is known for its cement and mineral-based products.
Two men, Frederich W. Matthiessen and Edward C. Hegeler, formed a partnership
and established the Matthiessen & Hegeler (aka M & H) Zinc Company in 1858. Both men would leave their mark
in the community in notable fashion, donating money to worthy causes, having a park named after one of them (Matthiessen
State Park), and the other left a mansion that is worldly-renowned for its style of architecture (Hegeler-Carus
Mansion). One of Hegeler's daughters married a man who would become prominent in employing a number of residents,
the Carus Chemical Company.
Rene Robert Cavalier Sieur de La Salle was a contemporary of Jolliet and Marquette who
explored for the French. LaSalle found that the Illinois River was navigable northward to the community, from which point
there were spots where boats had to carried around rapids in order to make it the present-day site of Chicago. As a result,
the Illinois and Michigan Canal was created and completed between 1836-1848 between a much smaller Chicago
and LaSalle to help river traffic from Lake Michigan make its way to the Mississippi River and eventually to New Orleans.