A Landing a Day

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Posts Tagged ‘Peru Illinois’

Peru and LaSalle, Illinois

Posted by graywacke on February 15, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2083; A Landing A Day blog post number 511.

Dan –  I landed in a PS (perfectly subscribed) state, knocking it into the realm of the OSers.  The state?  It’s . . . IL; 39/38; 2/10; 150.5.  Here’s my regional landing map:


My local landing map shows that I landed right along the Illinois River, just south of the twin cities of Peru & LaSalle:


Obviously, I landed in the Illinois R watershed (20th hit); on to the MM (818th hit).  Here’s a streams-only shot, showing the course of the Illinois R as it cuts diagonally across Illinois before discharging to the Mississippi a little north of St. Louis. 


Here’s my Google Earth (GE) shot:


It shows that I landed in a large field.  At first I thought it might be water, but upon closer inspection, I see it’s not.  Here’s a very close-in shot:


My guess is that this is a springtime photo, and the field has just been plowed and disked (and probably planted).  My thought is that it turned green not long thereafter.  

Grammatical conundrum:  the farm implement that smooths the soil after it has been plowed is a disc, not a disk.  But using disc as a verb, I had trouble with the past tense being “disced.”

 Anyway, here’s a zoomed-back GE shot:


See the bridge just west of my landing?  It has StreetView coverage.  Here’s a view from the bridge looking up towards my landing:

GE streetview from bridge towards landing

So, let me tell you.  I’ve already spent way too much time plowing (and disking) through multiple Google searches, checking out LaSalle and Peru & all of the little towns around here.  Nothing against the towns or this area, but I’ve come up pretty much hookless.  Well, I did find Starved Rock State Park.  Here’s a landing map, showing that the Park is about 6 miles east of my landing:


From the Illinois Department of Natural Resources:

 In 1673, French explorers Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette passed through here on their way up the Illinois from the Mississippi.

When the French claimed the region (and, indeed, the entire Mississippi Valley), they built Fort St. Louis atop Starved Rock in the winter of 1682-83 because of its commanding strategic position above the last rapids on the Illinois River.

ALAD note:  The City of LaSalle was named after the French explorer Robert LaSalle.  While he wasn’t the first Frenchman in the area (see above), he was the senior guy who claimed all of the Mississippi River basin for France in 1682.  Of course, it all became part of the US of A thanks to the Louisiana Purchase (1803.)  Just for the heck of it, here’s a map of the Purchase:


Damn.  I hate it when the facts get in the way of a good story.  OK, OK, so Illinois wasn’t part of the Louisiana Purchase.  Well, it turns out that the British gained control over Illinois in with the 1763 Treaty of Paris, that marked the end of the French and Indian War.  Oh-oh.  This is all getting too deep, so I’m going to bail out.  Back to State DNR website:

Pressured from small war parties of Iroquois in the French and Indian wars, the French abandoned the fort by the early 1700s.  The fort became haven for traders and trappers, but by 1720 all remains of the fort had disappeared.

Starved Rock State Park derives its name from an Indian story of injustice and retribution. In the 1760s, Pontiac (chief of the Ottawa tribe upriver from here) was slain by an Illiniwek while attending a tribal council in southern Illinois.

During one of the battles that subsequently occurred to avenge his killing, a band of Illiniwek, under attack by a band of Ottawa, sought refuge atop a 125-foot sandstone butte. The Ottawa surrounded the bluff and held their ground until the hapless Illiniwek died of starvation- giving rise to the name “Starved Rock.”

 Moving right along from history to my favorite subject, geology.  This from Wiki about the park:

 A catastrophic flood known as the Kankakee Torrent, which took place somewhere between 14,000 and 17,000 years ago (before humans occupied the area), helped create the park’s signature geology and features.  These sandstone bedrock features (cliffs and canyons) are very unusual for the central plains.

 A quick note.  This all sounds familiar, and hearkens me back to a landing in the Wisconsin Dells (my February 2013 Mauston Wisconsin post).  A glacial flood (a different glacial flood) very similarly carved out the beautiful sandstone features there as well.

Anyway, Wiki tells us that the melting glaciers formed glacial Lake Chicago (a precursor to Lake Michigan), and that a breach of the southern shoreline caused this catastrophic flood.  OK, so some geologists think it was a different glacial lake further east.  Whatever.

 Here’s what Wiki has to say about the resulting features caused by the flood:

 The Kankakee Torrent was responsible for the rapid creation of several geological features of Illinois. Both the Kankakee River and Illinois River largely follow paths carved out by the torrent, a process that is believed to have taken only days.

Most notable today is a region in north-central Illinois known as Starved Rock; while most of Illinois is located on a low-lying plain with little variation in elevation, Starved Rock State Park features several canyons which were created in the Kankakee Torrent.

 OK.  So let’s check out the sandstone cliffs and canyons in Starved Rock Park that were carved out by the Kankakee Torrent.   All of these are GE Panoramio shots.  I’ll start with this, by Ivaylo Mollov:


And then this at the river by Fonz76:

 pano fonz76

Here’s a winter shot by GregorP:

 pano gregorP

I’ll close with this, by TensionHead:

  pano tensionhead

That’ll do it.



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