Streator, Illinois facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Streator, Illinois
City
Streator Montage.png
Images representing the city of Streator, Illinois.
Streator logo.png
Coat of arms
Official name: Streator, Illinois
Named for: Worthy S. Streator
Motto: Quiet Surprise on the Prairie
Country United States
State Illinois
Counties LaSalle, Livingston
Townships Bruce, Eagle, Otter Creek, Reading
Elevation 620 ft (189 m)
Coordinates 41°07′15″N 88°50′02″W / 41.12083°N 88.83389°W / 41.12083; -88.83389
Area 6.08 sq mi (16 km²)
 - land 6.07 sq mi (16 km²)
 - water 0.01 sq mi (0 km²)
Population 13,710 (2010)
Density 2,255 /sq mi (871 /km²)
Settlement 1861
 - Incorporated (city) 1868
Government Council-manager government
Mayor Jimmie Lansford
Timezone CST (UTC−6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5)
Postal code 61364
Area code 815, 779
GNIS feature ID 419214
Location of Streator in Illinois
Location of Streator in Illinois
Locator Red.svg
Location of Streator in Illinois
Wikimedia Commons: Streator, Illinois
Website: http://www.ci.streator.il.us/cms/

Streator /ˈstrtər/ is a city in LaSalle and Livingston counties in the U.S. state of Illinois. The city is situated on the Vermilion River approximately 81 miles (130 km) southwest of Chicago in the prairie and farm land of north-central Illinois. It is the center of the geographic region known as Streatorland. According to the 2010 census, the population of Streator was 13,710.

History

Streator IL Streator City Park1
A relief of Ralph Plumb in Streator City Park.

Streator was named for Worthy S. Streator, an Ohio industrialist who financed the region's first coal mining operation. It was founded in 1868 and incorporated as a city in 1882. In 1882 Col. Ralph Plumb was elected as its first mayor. Streator's early growth was due to its success as a coal producer, a major glass manufacturer and a railroad hub in the midwest. Today Streator's economy is led by heavy-equipment manufacturer Vactor, food distributor U.S. Foodservice and glass bottle manufacturer Owens-Illinois.

The city is the hometown of Clyde Tombaugh, who in 1930 discovered the dwarf planet Pluto, the first object to be discovered in what would later be identified as the Kuiper belt; and George "Honey Boy" Evans, who wrote "In the Good Old Summer Time." Streator hosts annual events including Streator Park Fest; an Independence Day celebration, the Roamer Cruise Night and the Light Up Streator celebration. Streator is governed by a Manager–council style of government. It maintains police and fire departments as well as a public works system. Its current mayor is Jimmie Lansford.

Pre-settlement

Settlement in the region began with the Kaskaskia tribe of the Illiniwek Confederation. This Native American tribe's Grand Village was located on the north bank of the Illinois River in nearby Utica, Illinois. The Kaskaskia "were hunters and gatherers, farmers, warriors and traders." The Illiniwek were the last remnants of the Mississippian culture. French explorers Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet were the first Europeans to enter this region during a visit to the Grand Village in 1673. Marquette established a mission at the village in 1675. In 1679, French explorer Robert de LaSalle ordered a fortification to be built at the site that was later known as Starved Rock. Later that year Iroquois attacked the Kaskaskia village dispersing the 8,000 villagers. The French and local tribes again fortified the village and created Fort St. Louis, but the Iroqouis continued to attack. The settlement was eventually abandoned by 1691. In the years after the initial exploration, the French settled their newly claimed territory as La Louisiane. During much of the 18th century the region was sparsely populated by French, British and American fur traders. The French ceded control of the part of the La Louisiane territory east of the Mississippi River to the British at the end of the French and Indian War in 1763. Of this territory ceded by the French to Britain, the part extending down to the Ohio River was added to Britain's Quebec Province when the British Parliament passed the Quebec Act in 1774. During the American Revolutionary War (1775–83), this region that had been added to Quebec was claimed by Virginia in 1778, after a victory over the British by George Rogers Clark at Kaskaskia; Virginia named the region Illinois County. After the war, the area was included in the territory ceded by Britain to the United States under the Treaty of Paris (1783); in 1784, Virginia ceded its claim over Illinois County to the Congress of the Confederation of the United States. This area, south of what remained of Britain's Quebec but north of the Ohio River, later became the Northwest Territory created by the Congress on July 13, 1787. From part of this Northwest Territory area, the Indiana Territory was formed by the United States Congress on July 4, 1800; from part of this Indiana Territory area, the Illinois Territory created by Congress on March 1, 1809; and from part of that Illinois Territory area, the state of Illinois was admitted to the union on December 3, 1818 by Congress. The city of Chicago served as the main impetus of growth in the area throughout the early 19th century, and more importantly to the region around Streator was the development of the Illinois and Michigan Canal in 1821. This canal connected Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River, greatly increasing shipping traffic in the region. Land speculation in areas lining the canal and rivers ensued and towns sprouted quickly. Individual settlements in the Bruce Township region started as early as 1821. In 1861, John O'Neil established the first settlement in what was to become the city of Streator when he opened a small grocery and trading business.

Coal and cityhood

Streator began with coal. Vast beds of coal lie just beneath the surface throughout much of Illinois. The demand for coal was increasing in the mid-19th century, and East Coast capitalists were willing to invest in this region. The area was originally known as Hardscrabble, "because it was a hard scrabble to cross the Vermilion River and get up the hill to where the town was first located". The town was renamed Unionville in honor of the local men who fought for the Union during the Civil War.

In 1866 Worthy S. Streator, a prominent railroad promoter from Cleveland, Ohio, financed the region's first mining operation. Streator approached his nephew Col. Ralph Plumb at a railway station in December 1865 about overseeing a mining operation in central Illinois for him and several investors. Colonel Plumb agreed and arrived in the town then called Hardscrabble in February 1866. Success of the project required a rail line near the mines. Plumb and Streator "invited" Streator's friend, then Ohio Congressman James A. Garfield to sign on as an investor. In return, Garfield was expected to work with Robert C. Schenck, then the president of the American Central railroad, in getting the railroad to "bend their lines" to Streator. Eventually the plan did not work. The Vermilion Company then made arrangements with the Fox River line for their needed rail service.

Included in Col. Plumb's duties were overseeing the platting and incorporation of the quickly growing area. Plumb served as Streator's first mayor serving two terms. Plumb's mark on the early development of Streator was notable. The main hotel and the local opera house bore his name. He financed the construction of the city's first high school. Earlier in his life he served as an Ohio state representative and as an officer in the Union Army. Later in life he served Illinois as a representative in Congress.

Streator grew rapidly due to a number of factors: the need for coal in Chicago, the desire of European immigrants to come to America, and the investments made by East Coast capitalists willing to invest in coal operations. Plumb needed laborers for his mines, but the Vermilion Coal Company was unable to afford European employment agents. Instead, it alerted steamship offices of the new job opportunities and convinced local railroads to carry notices of Streator's promise. Land was sold to incoming miners at discounted prices as another enticement, but the company retained mineral rights to the land. In 1870, Streator's population was 1,486, but by 1880 its population tripled. Scottish, English, Welsh, German and Irish immigrants came to the area first, followed later by scores of mostly Slovaks; Czechs, Austrians and Hungarians came in lesser numbers. Today many of the residents are direct descendants of these original miners.

The success of the local mining operations and the introduction of the new glass making industry allowed for improvements in the living conditions and personal wealth of its miners and laborers. An 1884 survey by the Illinois Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that 20 percent of Streator's miners owned their houses. Labor movements like the Miners National Association and the United Mine Workers of America began to flourish, as did ethnic churches and social institutions such as the Masons and Knights of Pythias. In his 1877 History of LaSalle County, author H.F. Kett states:

Perhaps no city...in Illinois, outside of the great city of Chicago, presents an instance of such rapid and substantial growth as the city of Streator. From a single small grocery house... the locality has grown to be a city of 6,000 prosperous and intelligent people. Churches, school-houses, large, substantial business houses and handsome residences, with elegant grounds and surroundings, now beautify the waste of ten years ago, while the hum of machinery and thronged streets are unmistakable evidences of business importance and prosperity.

In addition to coal, the area around Streator contained rich clay and shale, which gave rise to Streator's brick, tile and pipe industries. In time, these supplanted coal as Streator's leading exports, but Streator was best known for its glass bottle industry. In the early 20th century Streator held the title of "Glass Manufacturing Capital of the World." Streator continued to flourish for much of the early 20th century. Ultimately the demand for coal was replaced with the growing needs for gas and oil. Many of the underground mines in Streator closed during the 1920s. The last of the mines shut down in 1958. While other areas of LaSalle County continued to grow, Streator's population peaked at about 17,000 residents in 1960 and has since declined. Many of the original downtown buildings have been demolished, but few have been replaced. Another reason for static growth in Streator is its distance from any major Interstate Highway. When the federal highway system started in the 1950s and 1960s no interstate was built near the city. Streator is 23 miles (37 km) from Interstate 55, 16 miles (26 km) from Interstate 80 and Interstate 39.

2007 Comprehensive plan

Streator and the North Central Illinois Council of Governments (NCICG) finalized the Streator Comprehensive Plan in February 2007. The plan if approved is a roadmap for civic, transportation, housing, commercial and recreational improvements in the city through 2027.

Geography

Streator is located at 41°07′15″N 88°50′07″W / 41.12083°N 88.83528°W / 41.12083; -88.83528 (41.1208668, −88.8353520). According to the 2010 census, Streator has a total area of 6.082 square miles (15.75 km2), of which 6.07 square miles (15.72 km2) (or 99.8%) is land and 0.012 square miles (0.03 km2) (or 0.2%) is water.

Topography and geology

Streator lies within the Vermilion River/Illinois River Basin Assessment Area (VRAA) defined by the watershed of the Vermilion River, a major tributary to the Illinois River in Central Illinois, an area of mostly flat prairie. The topography of the basin is a complex collection of buried valleys, lowlands and uplands carved by repeated episodes of continental glaciation.

Underneath the topsoil, the region's bedrock contains vast amounts of coal. About 68% of Illinois has coal-bearing strata of the Pennsylvanian geologic period. According to the Illinois State Geological Survey, 211 billion tons of bituminous coal are estimated to lie under the surface, having a total heating value greater than the estimated oil deposits in the Arabian Peninsula. However, this coal has a high sulfur content, which causes acid rain. Streator's coal mining history closely parallels Illinois', with a great push in coal production from 1866 until the 1920s, when many of the mines closed. The low-sulfur coal of the Powder River Basin and the growing demands for oil caused a decline in demand for Streator's high-sulfur coal.

The St. Peter sandstone is an Ordovician formation in the Chazyan stage of the Champlainian series. This layer runs east-west from Illinois to South Dakota. The stone consists of 99.44% silica, which is used for the manufacture of glass. Its purity is especially important to glassmakers. Streator, which lies within the St. Peter sandstone formation, has mined this mineral since the late 19th century for use in its glass manufacturing industries.

Climate

Weather chart for Streator
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
1.6
 
33
16
 
 
1.5
 
37
19
 
 
2.6
 
49
29
 
 
3.3
 
63
40
 
 
3.8
 
74
50
 
 
3.8
 
83
60
 
 
3.5
 
87
64
 
 
3.7
 
85
62
 
 
3.6
 
78
54
 
 
2.5
 
66
43
 
 
2.3
 
50
32
 
 
1.9
 
36
20
temperatures in °F
precipitation totals in inches
source: Illinois State Climatologist Data (Streator)

Streator has a continental climate, influenced by the Great Lakes. Its average winter temperature is 25.0 °F (−3.9 °C) and its average summer temperature is 75.0 °F (23.9 °C). Streator has an average annual rainfall of 34.68 inches (88.09 cm), with an annual snowfall of 22.0 in (55.88 cm). The highest temperature recorded in Streator was 112 °F (44 °C) in July 1936. The lowest temperature recorded was −25 °F (−32 °C) in January 1985.

1951 flood

The worst flood in Streator's history occurred in 1951. The Vermilion River reached a flood level of 18 feet (549 cm).

2010 tornado

At approximately 8:50 pm (CST) on June 5, 2010 an EF2 tornado swept through southern Streator. The tornado initially touched down east of Magnolia, causing EF0 and EF1 damage as it traveled east. EF2 damage began as the tornado passed East 15th Road. No fatalities were reported, but there were reports of leveled houses and extensive damage throughout the area. The National Weather Service reported that there were two tornadoes. The second was reported to have touched down one mile west of Streator, with a base of 50 feet.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 1,486
1880 5,157 247.0%
1890 11,414 121.3%
1900 14,079 23.3%
1910 14,253 1.2%
1920 14,779 3.7%
1930 14,728 −0.3%
1940 14,930 1.4%
1950 16,469 10.3%
1960 16,868 2.4%
1970 15,600 −7.5%
1980 14,795 −5.2%
1990 14,121 −4.6%
2000 14,190 0.5%
2010 13,710 −3.4%
Est. 2015 13,182 −3.9%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 13,710 people, 5,621 households, and 3,481 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,250/sq mi (870/km2). There were 6,271 housing units at an average density of 1,030/sq mi (400/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.2% White, 2.5% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 3.50% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.4% of the population.

There were 5,621 households out of which 26.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.8% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.1% were non-families. 33.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 27% under the age of 19, 6.0% from 20 to 24, 22.7% from 25 to 44, 26.5% from 45 to 64, and 17.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.9 years. For every 100 females there were 91.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $39,597, and the median income for a family was $46,417. Males had a median income of $34,932 versus $24,621 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,980. About 9.4% of families and 14.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.4% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.

Streator is a principal city of the Ottawa–Streator Micropolitan Statistical Area, which was the tenth-most populous Micropolitan Statistical Area in the United States as of 2009. The small Livingston County portion of Streator is part of the Pontiac Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Historically, the population of LaSalle County has increased 75% between 1870 and 1990, while the statewide population has grown 350%.

Arts, culture and media

Streator's parks and events reflect its heritage and prairie locale. A number of its residents have distinguished themselves in the arts world:

Arts

The Community Players of Streator offer summer stock performances each year at the William C. Schiffbauer Center for the Performing Arts at Engle Lane Theatre.

Streator IL Majestic Theater1
Majestic Theatre in Streator, Illinois

The Majestic Theatre, an art deco style movie house, originally opened in 1907 as a vaudeville house. It has gone through many changes, openings, and closings throughout its history, having most recently reopened in 2002. The Majestic shows recently released movies as well as hosting live musical acts.

Museums and historical buildings

Streator IL Downtown1
Buildings in downtown Streator.
Streator IL Silas Williams House1
The Silas Williams House is listed on the NRHP.
Streator Il Ruffin Drew Fletcher House1
The Ruffin Drew Fletcher House is listed on the NRHP.

The Streatorland Historical Society Museum houses displays of Streator history and memorabilia of some of its famous citizens. One of the displays is a tribute to the Free Canteen. The Canteen was a group of local volunteers who served over 1.5 million soldiers during World War II who briefly stopped at the city's old Santa Fe Train Depot while traveling by troop trains. Other features include a homemade telescope used by astronomer Clyde Tombaugh and a Burlington Northern caboose rail car.

During World War II the Streator Santa Fe Train Depot was a busy way-station for millions of soldiers and sailors who passed through the town on the way to or from training for the war. Beginning in 1943, the Streator Parents Service Club, a group of parents of veterans of the war, created the Streator Free Canteen. The volunteers handed out sandwiches and coffee and presented a friendly face to the servicemen during their stopover in Streator. During the 2½ years that the canteen operated, volunteers hosted over 1.5 million servicemen and women. Thirty other service groups from Streator joined to assist the Parents Service Club as well as 43 other organizations throughout the central-Illinois region. On Veterans Day, November 10, 2006 a bronze statue commemorating the "Coffee Pot Ladies" of Streator was dedicated at the Santa Fe Railroad Station.

The Streator Public Library was made possible with a $35,000 a grant from Andrew Carnegie. With its two-story high domed ceiling, Ionic columns and oak staircases, it was considered too extravagant by critics when it opened in 1903. The Library was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. The Ruffin Drew Fletcher House located on East Broadway Street is an example of Stick style architecture. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in August 1991. The Silas Williams House is a Queen Anne style home built in 1893. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in June 1976. Founded in 1883, St. Stephens Catholic Church was the first Slovak Catholic church in the United States. In September 2010, the four Roman Catholic churches in Streator were consolidated into one new parish named St. Michael the Archangel. Currently all masses are conducted at St. Stephen's Church and discussions are continuing to decide if a new church will be built or if one of the existing churches will be rebuilt.

Among Streator's other notable buildings are the ornate Bauhaus-inspired National Guard Armory near the Vermilion River and the town's turn-of-the-20th-century City Hall on Park Street(now a business). These facilities are accessible to the public, with some limitations. Streator is also home to many private residences of significant historical interest and value, including the Kennedy Home on Unpleasant Avenue.

Events

The "Crack Pipe Dreams" music festival is held each February. Featured are performances from the seven pipe organs located at Streator area churches.

Park Fest is held during the Memorial Day weekend through Sunday. Park Fest activities are held in City Park (the main public park in the downtown Streator area).

A Memorial Day observance is held on the morning of Memorial Day at the Veterans Plaza at the southeast part of City Park.

Streator is a designated stop each year in the annual "Heritage Tractor Adventure" along the Illinois and Michigan Canal. This three-day tractor ride/rally attracts hundreds of antique tractor owners.

The annual Fourth of July celebration runs for over four days with events throughout the city, with most of the events held in City Park; the park-based events include a carnival, 5K run and a lip stink contest. Other Fourth of July events include the annual parade which runs through downtown and the fireworks display which is held at Streator High School.

"Roamer Cruise Night" is an annual cruise / car show held on Labor Day weekend in the downtown district that attracts over 600 cars and 18,000 attendees. Special features of the Cruise Night include a display of a Roamer which was built at a factory in Streator in 1917. Cruise Night was rained out in 2011 and 2012, leaving Streatorites hungry for 2013.

"Arts On The Prairie" is an annual outdoors arts fair held at the end of September in Streator's City Park.

A Veterans Day observance is held on the morning of Veterans Day at Veterans Plaza.

Streator also has an annual event called Light Up Streator held the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. Light Up Streator is a group of volunteers who place holiday decorations throughout the Streator area, most notably in City Park.

The Parade of Lights is held in early December in downtown Streator.

Media

Streator has one daily newspaper, the The Times, and one weekly, The Streator Voice. The daily paper, published by the Small Newspaper Group Inc., in nearby Ottawa, provides the local news for the Ottawa-Streator micropolitan area. Streator's original daily, The Times-Press News merged with the Ottawa Daily Times in 2005. Television broadcasts are provided by stations in nearby Bloomington and Peoria. Local cable providers also air Chicago stations. Streator has three local radio stations: WSPL 1250 AM, which has a news/talk format [1], WSTQ 97.7 FM, which has a contemporary pop format and WYYS 106.1 FM, which broadcasts a classic hits format. The three stations are owned by the Mendota Broadcast Group, Inc. One of the longest-running programs on WSPL was "Polka Party", which was broadcast live on Saturday mornings for more than thirty years until its host Edward Nowotarski retired in 2001.

Parks and recreation

The city of Streator maintains eight local parks and one public golf course.

Spring Lake Park is a 37.2-acre (15.1 ha) city-owned park 1.8 miles (2.9 km) west of the Streator city limits (and 1.3 miles (2.1 km) north of Illinois route 18). The park has two creeks, waterfalls and six trails. It offers hiking, horseback riding and picnicking. In September 2008, Spring Lake Park received the Governor's Hometown Award from the state of Illinois in recognition of its volunteer-led restoration project.

City Park is the main park in Streator's downtown area; a section of Streator City Park called Veterans Plaza contains memorials bearing the names of citizens who gave their lives for their country in the Civil War and in later wars. City Park is the site of annual events including Streator Park Fest (successor to Heritage Days), held on Memorial Day weekend; the Art in the Park festival; the Roamer Cruise Night, held on Labor Day weekend; and the annual Light Up Streator celebration and display held each November. Patriotic observances use the park's Veterans Plaza on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. The park is also the site of other events, including concerts. In 2012 construction began, in the southwest quadrant of City Park, on a new venue suitable for concerts; it was later announced that this would be called Plumb Pavilion (in honor of Streator's first mayor, Ralph Plumb).

Marilla Park, located at the northeast end of Streator, is among Streator's larger parks, and includes picnic areas and a playground area. In 2012, a Disc Golf Course was added to Marilla Park.

Other city parks in Streator include Oakland Park, Central Park, Bodznick Park, Merriner Park, and Southside Athletic Park.

Local sports

Organized local sport activities include the Youth football league, American Youth Soccer Organization, Little League Baseball and American Legion Baseball. The Streator High School "Bulldogs" and Woodland High School "Warriors" participate in the Interstate Eight Conference and the Tri-County Conferences, respectively, which are part of the Illinois High School Association. Local golf is played at the city owned Anderson Field Municipal Golf Course and The Eastwood Golf Course

Streator was represented in the Illinois–Missouri League, an American minor league baseball league, from 1912 through 1914. The Streator Speedboys had a record of 45–65 and finished last in 1912. In 1913, The Streator Boosters were in fourth place with a 30–57 record, and in 1914 the Boosters had a record of 40–48, again finishing in fourth place. The Streator Boosters competed in the Bi-State League in 1915. When the league disbanded in the middle of the season, the Streator Boosters were in first place with a record of 30 wins and 18 losses.

In 2008, the Streator Reds, an age 16-and-under team, won the Senior League Illinois State Tournament defeating the team from Burbank, Illinois. The Reds then qualified for the Senior League Regional Tournament in Columbia, Missouri, where they were eliminated in the first round with a 2–2 record.

Three local residents have had notable success in professional sports. Doug Dieken played 14 seasons for the Cleveland Browns in the National Football League from 1971 to 1984. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1980, and named a "Cleveland Brown Legend" by the team in 2006. He serves as a color commentator on Browns radio broadcasts. Bob Tattersall (1924–1971) was known as the "King of Midget Car Racing" in the 1950s and 1960s in both the USA and Australia. Tattersall had a long list of victories, including the 1960, 1962, 1966 and 1969 Australian Speedcar Grand Prix (Midgets are known as Speedcars in Australia), while his crowning achievement was when he won the 1969 USAC National Midget Series. He died of cancer at his home in Streator in 1971. Also, in 2009, Clay Zavada, made his professional debut as a relief pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Other local residents who have enjoyed careers in Major League Baseball include Andy Bednar (pitcher, Pittsburgh Pirates), Rube Novotney (catcher, Chicago Cubs) and Adam Shabala (outfielder, San Francisco Giants).

The Streator 10-year-old All-Stars took home the city's first Little League State Baseball Championship in 2002 versus Chicago(Ridge Beverly). After winning district and sectional championships, the state tournament finals was held in Utica, Illinois. The 12-year-old team from Streator competed in the World Series in 2012.

Outdoor recreation

Outdoor recreation activities in the Streator area primarily center around the Vermilion River, Spring Lake Park (Located on the west side of the city) and nearby state parks. Fishing, kayaking and canoeing are popular activities along the Vermilion River. Matthiessen State Park and Starved Rock State Park offer hiking, hunting, camping and other amenities in their geologically diverse areas.


Streator, Illinois Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.