Leland, Illinois, a small town situated in LaSalle County, has seen its fair share of historical events over the years. From the Battle of Little Fort to the discovery of a mammoth skeleton, here are seven key moments in Leland's history.
1. Battle of Little Fort (1832)
The Battle of Little Fort, also known as the Battle of Sycamore Creek, was a skirmish between Black Hawk's Indian warriors and a group of Illinois Rangers. It took place on May 12, 1832, in the northern part of LaSalle County, just a few miles northeast of Leland. Although it was a relatively minor engagement, it played a significant part in the Black Hawk War.
2. The Pioneer Hotel (1850s)
In the 1850s, a brick hotel was built in Leland near the railroad tracks. It was known as the Pioneer Hotel and became a popular stopover for travelers passing through the area. Over the years, the hotel changed hands many times and was converted into a hospital during the Spanish-American War.
3. Leland Fire (1907)
On January 4, 1907, a devastating fire broke out in downtown Leland. The fire destroyed several local businesses and homes, leaving many residents homeless. It is believed that the fire started in a feed store and quickly spread due to strong winds.
4. Boykin Farm (1914)
In 1914, the Boykin Farm in Leland became a landmark in the area when a mammoth skeleton was discovered on the property. The skeleton was later sent to the Field Museum in Chicago for study and preservation. Today, a historical marker stands at the site where the discovery was made.
5. The Leland Opera House (1920s)
The Leland Opera House, built in the 1920s, was a popular gathering place for residents of the town. The building housed a variety of businesses over the years, including a bank and a movie theater. However, after being abandoned for many years, it was eventually torn down in the 1970s.
6. Leland High School (1930s)
Leland High School was built in the 1930s and served the community until the 1980s when it was closed due to declining enrollment. Today, the building stands abandoned and is rumored to be haunted.
7. Interstate 39 Construction (1980s)
The construction of Interstate 39 in the 1980s had a significant impact on Leland and the surrounding area. The highway provided easier access to and from the town, making it a popular commuter community for those traveling to the nearby city of Chicago.
From battles and fires to discoveries and construction projects, Leland, Illinois, has a rich history that continues to shape the town today. It's a small community that's big on stories and has a lot of history to explore.
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