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Country United States
State Illinois
County LaSalle
Townships Peru, Dimmick
Coordinates 41°20′4″N 89°7′39″W / 41.33444°N 89.1275°W / 41.33444; -89.1275
Area 6.1 sq mi (16 km2)
 - land 6.1 sq mi (16 km2)
Population 9,835 (2000)
Density 1,655.5 /sq mi (639 /km2)
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code 61354
Area code 815
Location of Peru within Illinois
Location of Peru within Illinois
Wikimedia Commons: Peru, Illinois
Aerial view of Peru, Illinois

Peru is a city in LaSalle County, Illinois, United States. The population was 9,835 at the 2000 census. It is part of the OttawaStreator Micropolitan Statistical Area.



Peru is located at 41°20′4″N 89°7′39″W / 41.33444°N 89.1275°W / 41.33444; -89.1275 (41.334458, -89.127385).[1]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.1 square miles (15.7 km²), of which, 5.9 square miles (15.4 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (1.82%) is water.

Located on the Illinois River, Peru lies 3 miles (4.8 km) west of the intersection of two major interstate highways: Interstate 39 and Interstate 80. The city is also the western terminus of the historic Illinois and Michigan Canal. Starved Rock State Park, a regional tourist attraction, is located 5 miles (8.0 km) south-east of the community. Peru has a twin city on its eastern edge, LaSalle.


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. After the closing of the Illinois & Michigan canal, Peru regained status as a port.

The Maud Powell monument that stands on 4th Street in Peru
The Route 251 bridge in Peru
The Illinois Valley Community Hospital: Peru, Illinois
The Westclox building, now occupied by various commercial, manufacturing, and retail businesses in Peru

The city was organized as a borough in 1838, and was officially incorporated as a city on March 13, 1851.

The city is the birthplace and hometown of world renowned violinist Maud Powell, who was born on 1112 Bluff Street, where the 251 bridge currently stands. The city was home to Turn Hall, which was the location of Maud Powell's first performance.

The city was also the world headquarters of Westclox clock company. When Westclox closed, in the late 1970s, the population fell. The city is also the headquarters for Maze Lumber and Maze Nails - founded in 1848. The city was also home to Star Union Brewery, which closed in 1963 when it was bought out by Canadian Ace. The city also was home to James Barton, the inventor of the polygon mill, which stood in the north eastern section of town between 12 street, and Pulaski. Barton's home, which was called by local residents the "castle" due to its stone central turret, was adjacent to the mill, and still stands today.


The area's coal deposits helped make Peru a zinc manufacturing center in its early history (the manufacture of zinc requires large amounts of coal). Originally zinc ore was brought down from Galena, Illinois by route of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. In terms of transportation cost, Peru was the closest point to the Galena mines with readily available coal.

A residential street in Peru, Illinois

In recent years, Peru has evolved into a regional commercial center, boasting a 50-store shopping mall (the largest within 55 miles) as well as several other national retailers. The area has also enjoyed the arrival of several small industrial/manufacturing firms. The completion of Interstate 39 in the early 1990s helped foster much of this new growth, making the city especially attractive to prospective distribution centers.

Peru is home to the offices of Carus Chemical Company, the largest manufacturer of potassium permanganate in the world. Maze Nail, one of America's last nail makers - proudly producing 100% American made nails is located in Peru, Illinois as well. Started in 1848, it is also one of the oldest continuously operating businesses in Peru.

Peru is also home to the national headquarters of American Nickeloid.


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 9,835 people, 4,143 households, and 2,672 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,655.5 people per square mile (639.3/km²). There were 4,413 housing units at an average density of 742.8/sq mi (286.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.47% White, 0.32% African American, 0.18% Native American, 1.11% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.16% from other races, and 0.75% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.08% of the population.

There were 4,143 households out of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.7% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.5% were non-families. 31.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.0% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 21.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 89.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,060, and the median income for a family was $48,180. Males had a median income of $39,722 versus $21,961 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,658. About 4.8% of families and 7.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.8% of those under age 18 and 4.7% of those age 65 or over.


External links

City of Peru Official Site



1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

PERU, a city of La Salle county, Illinois, U.S.A., in the north-central part of the state, on the N. bank of the Illinois River, about ioo m. S.W. of Chicago and i m. W. of La Salle, a terminus of the Illinois & Michigan Canal. Pop. (Iwo), 6863 (2095 foreign-born); (1910), 7984. It is served by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy and the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific railways. The city is built on the face and top of a series of river bluffs. It is the seat of St Bede College (Roman Catholic, opened in 1891), conducted by Benedictine fathers. In a large public park there is a bronze monument in memory of the soldiers of Peru who died in the Civil War. There are extensive coal-mines in the vicinity; and the city includes various manufactures. Peru was first settled about 1827, was incorporated in 1845, and re-incorporated in 1890.

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