Peru is a city in LaSalle County, Illinois, United States. The population was 10,295 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Ottawa, IL Micropolitan Statistical Area. Peru and its twin city, LaSalle, make up the core of Illinois Valley. The city’s first settler was John Hays, who arrived in 1830. The city was organized as a borough in 1838, and was officially incorporated as a city on March 13, 1851. The original plat was between West Street, 4th Street, and East Street (now Pine Street). Since the first steamboat Traveler reached Peru in 1831, the city had high hopes of being the western terminus for the Illinois & Michigan Canal. LaSalle won that designation, but Peru became a busy steamboat port at the head of navigation on the Illinois River.
Captain McCormick was involved in the Five Day Line, making record fast trips between Peru and St. Louis, Missouri. Senator Gilson reported to land surveyor, Grenville Dodge, that the town would soon outstrip Chicago due to its favorable location along the river and railroads.Water Street was a thin ribbon pressed between the bluff and the river, leading to the growth eastward of a large industrial district. Developed along the river and the canal, it was served by the Rock Island Railroad and Chicago Burlington and Quincy. These important transportation routes, along with coal mining in at least four mines lasting from 1857 until 1949, were the basis for Peru’s rise to an industrial center.
information provided by wikipedia.org