Place:Peru, La Salle, Illinois, United States

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NamePeru
TypeCity
Coordinates41.334°N 89.127°W
Located inLa Salle, Illinois, United States
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Peru is a city in LaSalle County, Illinois, United States. The population was 10,295 at the 2010 census. It is part of the OttawaStreator Micropolitan Statistical Area. Peru and its twin city, LaSalle, make up the core of Illinois Valley.

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

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).

The city's first settler was John Hays, who arrived in 1830. The town became a successful river port, but with the construction of the Illinois & Michigan Canal, it was soon eclipsed by La Salle. It remained an important river port as the northernmost limit of navigation on the Illinois until 1900. Along with the river and canal, the Rock Island Railroad and Chicago Burlington and Quincy ran through Peru. Plank Road, northwest of town was originally a toll road meant to reach Dixon, Illinois. These important transportation routes, along with coal mining in at least four mines lasting from at least 1857 until 1949, prompted Peru's rise to and industrial center.

Industry in Peru started with ice harvesting. Soon after, James Barton invented and built a polygonal mill, and the Brunner Foundry and Machine Co, Star Union Brewery, and Peru Plow and Wheel Company came to be. The Illinois Zinc Company, together with the Mattiessen and Hegeler Zinc Company in LaSalle, made LaSalle-Peru the center of the world's zinc industry for some time. Maze Lumber used the canal to import lumber to the Illinois River valley from Wisconsin. Later came Maze Nails, America's last nail makers, the American Nickleoid Company and Westclox. Westclox was a model employer and the area's largest with nearly four thousand employees. When they closed in the late 1970s, the population fell. On New Year's Eve 2011, a fire broke out at the Westclox Complex, destroying much of the local landmark which had recently been deemed eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. The fire was determined arson and the suspects await trial.

Due to the decline in rail and river traffic, industry, being bypassed by Route 251, and periodic flooding, the historic Water Street district gradually fell into disuse and has been largely demolished. A smaller downtown on the bluff has survived, though the Turn Hall, was demolished by the city in 1980. This building was the location of Maud Powell's first performance. Maud Powell, the world renowned violinist, was born on 1112 Bluff Street, where the 251 bridge currently stands.

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