A Charming And Historic Small Town In Illinois, LaSalle Is Seemingly Frozen In Time
Chicago is an incredible, modern city, but much of the Prairie State chugs along at a slower pace. Many
small towns in Illinois offer a type of charm you just can’t find anywhere else. Offering a mix of rich state and local history, proximity to nature, and all the breathtaking architecture you could imagine, LaSalle is a lovely Illinois town frozen in time.
LaSalle is located near the intersection of I-80 and I-39 in North Central Illinois' LaSalle County. With a population of about 9,500 residents, it's a small town packed with significance in state history.
The city was named after Robert de LaSalle, the famous French explorer.
One of the city's earliest feats was helping to create a 96-mile canal connecting the Illinois River in LaSalle to Lake Michigan in Chicago, which was completed in 1848. The Volunteer, the boat shown here, is a replica of an 1848 canal boat.
The boat still operates on a restored section of the canal.
The Hegeler-Carus Mansion, located at 1307 Seventh St., is a Second Empire-style mansion designed by famed architect William Boyington (designer of the Chicago Water Tower) and completed in 1876. It has a whopping 16,000 square feet of living space amid seven floors and contains a staggering 57 rooms.
It became a National Historic Landmark in 2007 and was built for Edward C. Hegeler of the Matthiessen Hegeler Zinc Company — once the largest zinc manufacturing company in the United States. This helped earn LaSalle the nickname of "Zinc City."
Another prominent building is the LaSalle Public Library, located at 305 Marquette St., built in 1907 with a $25,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie.
Remnants of yesteryear can be seen nearly everywhere in town, helping to create a frozen-in-time effect that adds to the city's warmth and charm.
The Abraham Lincoln Memorial Bridge and LaSalle Rail Bridge are just two of the scenic bridges that span the Illinois River. Created in 1855, then reconstructed in 1893, the LaSalle Rail Bridge carried the former Illinois Central Railroad over the river as it traveled between Lake Michigan and the Gulf of Mexico.
The town is only 5 miles from Starved Rock State Park, where you can spend a day exploring walking trails and breathtaking waterfalls — including the beloved LaSalle Canyon.
So would you visit LaSalle, an Illinois town frozen in time? What do you look for when visiting a new small town? Tell us in the comments! Start planning your trip by checking out the
City of LaSalle’s website and the City of LaSalle’s Facebook page. And while you’re in town, stop by this burrito restaurant for the most massive burrito of your life, then spend some time at Starved Rock State Park!
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