(815) 667-4861

101 E Canal St, North Utica, IL 61373, USA

©2018 by La Salle County Historical Society. Proudly created with Wix.com


Who We Are

Mission Statement

The purpose of the LaSalle County Historical Society, as described in its certificate of incorporation, is “To search out, procure and preserve in permanent form, facts and data in the history of the County of LaSalle as related to persons, places and all objects therein. In order to meet said purpose, the primary duty of the Society shall be to discover, collect, and preserve any facts or relics pertaining to the history of LaSalle County and to encourage the study of LaSalle County heritage, its times and people.”


To meet its purpose, the primary duty of the Society shall be “To discover, collect, and preserve any facts or relics pertaining to the history of LaSalle County and to encourage the study of LaSalle County heritage, its times and people.”


In 1969 the Illinois State Historical Society presented its Award of Merit for local and regional history for converting the warehouse into a museum.

In 1971 the Society received the National Award of Merit for preserving a landmark and making it an interpretive history center.


Our Team

Experts You Can Count On

Our staff is made up of highly trained experts in a variety of educational fields. Each day, we make it our mission to provide countless opportunities for our visitors to expand their minds. That is why we are always updating our Events List and looking for new things to offer. We want to educate our guests through a memorable History Museum experience. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us today.

Board of Directors

Job Title

Susan Thornton - President
Everett Solon - Vice President
Fred Carus - Treasurer
Pam Stack - Secretary
Katherine Keenan
Julie Duff
Mike Kasap 
Gloria Alvarado
Scot Wrighton
Dr. Sandra Blanco
Tim Gatza
Judy Chalfant
Dolores Passwater
John Garrity
Lawrence Baxter

Executive Director

Jeff Ratajczak

Bringing over  20 years of successful experience in Business and Community Organizational Development and Leadership, Jeff came to the LaSalle County Historical Society in January of 2018 after a long career in Parks and Recreation Administration.

Having served as the Executive Director for several organizations, and  written several Master Planning documents  for clients such as the City of  Virginia Beach VA,  Arapahoe County Colorado, Parks Recreation and Cultural Affairs in Farmington, New Mexico, and Carbon Valley Colorado Special District, his experience in both short and long term planning, need assessment, public relations, operational pro formas, program development and fund raising are essential areas that will continue with his work for the Historical Society.  

Program and Event Coordinator

Amanda Carter

Amanda began her work with the Historical Society in 2014, first diving deep into Burgoo and never quite emerging. She is pleased to focus even more this year on events, programs, the Canal Market, and rentals.

Office Manager / Research Historian

Jennifer E. Nordstrom

Jennifer has served many cultural organizations and diverse individuals. At the Jefferson Museum of Art and History in Port Townsend, WA, she composed historic reference manuals for walking tour guides and curated a collection of oral histories from Bioregional poets who built watershed consciousness and saved vital wildlands on the Olympic Peninsula during the 1970's and 80's. After obtaining her BA in Human Development and Learning from Antioch University in Seattle, Jennifer returning to her home-of-origin in the Illinois Valley, where she has been researching French-Native fusion during the seventeenth-century fur trade.

Support Staff

Jeremy Aitken

With a love of History, Jeremy was excited to join the staff at the LaSalle County Historical Society.  Prior to his employment, Jeremy was involved with the Historical Society as a member and hosting the annual trivia night fundraiser.  While majoring in Mass Communication at Southern Illinois University he received a minor in History.  The Civil War era is of Particular Interest to him and you will find Jeremy at our Canal Warehouse Museum which houses a vast collection of Civil War artifacts.  When Jeremy is not working with the LaSalle County Historical Society he is the New and Sports Director at WLPO Radio.

Leonard Trujillo

Leonard "Lenny" Trujillo has 20+ Years experience in customer service and information technology (IT) in both the Public and Private Sector.  While his main focus has been on technology resource planning and configuration, his work experience has also required training and knowledge share for experienced customers alike both in person and remote.  You will find Lenny at the Heritage Center Museum and you will take notice of his pride in being approachable and willing to share information for our quests and provide knowledge on the LaSalle County Historical Society.

Bill Poutre

Bill has been with the LaSalle County Historical Society for many years and is our resident story teller.  Having lived in the LaSalle County region all his life Bill entertains our guests through tours of the Heritage Center Museum and Canal Warehouse Museum with stories coinciding with all of our exhibits.  You'll primarily find Bill at the Heritage Museum on Friday afternoons, so stop in and see him and get ready to be enlightened on all things LaSalle County!

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