LaSalle is a city in LaSalle County, Illinois, United States, located at the intersection of Interstates 39 and 80. It is part of the Ottawa, IL Micropolitan Statistical Area. Originally platted in 1837 over one square mile (2.6 square kilometers), the city’s boundaries have grown to 12 sq mi (31 km2). City boundaries extend from the Illinois River and Illinois and Michigan Canal to a mile north of Interstate 80 and from the city of Peru on the west to the village of North Utica on the east. Starved Rock State Park is located approximately 5 mi (8 km) to the east. The population was 9,609 at the 2010 census, and was estimated to have decreased to 8,986 by July 2019. LaSalle and its twin city, Peru, make up the core of the Illinois Valley.
Due to their combined dominance of the zinc processing industry in the early 1900s, they were collectively nicknamed “Zinc City.” LaSalle was named in honor of the early French explorer, Robert de LaSalle.The Illinois and Michigan Canal was first thought up by French explorer, Louis Joliet. Much later, when Illinois became a state, the idea of a canal connecting Lake Michigan to the Illinois River was supported by many, including Abraham Lincoln. The 96 miles long canal was finally constructed between 1836 and 1848. Upon its completion, Chicago became the eastern terminus and LaSalle became the western terminus. LaSalle boomed as a transshipment point from canal boats coming from Chicago to steamboats going to St. Louis and New Orleans.
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