The Way We Worked
The Way We Worked, a Smithsonian exhibition, comes to LaSalle County! The exhibition explores how work became a central element in American culture. Discover the rich work history of LaSalle County! Join us for 18 interesting “local work related” programs at various locations throughout LaSalle County! Visit three additional exhibits depicting various aspects of work in the county. Call (815) 223-1851 for more information.


EXHIBITS
 

The Way We Worked Exhibit, April 13-May 24, 2012
Come visit The Way We Worked, a Smithsonian exhibition. Explore how work became such a central element in American culture. Trace the many changes that affected the workforce and work environments. The exhibition draws from the National Archives’ rich photographic collections to illustrate how work has shaped our modern society and built communities.
Location: Ottawa Historical and Scouting Heritage Museum, 1100 Canal Street, Ottawa IL 61350;
Open: Thursday-Monday 10AM-4PM
Admission: Adults $3, Youth $2

Waterways that Work, April 3-May 24, 2012
Explore how the coming of the I&M Canal, the Cal-Sag Channel, the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, and the Illinois Waterway helped define work in LaSalle County. Discover how work has evolved in the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor. The “Waterways That Work” exhibit will be on display at Lock 16 Center in LaSalle featuring photographs by landscape photographer Edward Ranney.
Location: Lock 16 Center, 754 First Street,LaSalle, IL 61350
Open: Monday-Saturday 7AM to 5PM
Admission: Free

The Way LaSalle County Worked, Friday, April 13-May 24, 2012
Discover the way LaSalle County worked! Take a self-guided tour of work in LaSalle County at the LaSalle County Historical Society. Featuring 10 exhibits about LaSalle County industries. Follow the “The Way We Worked” logos posted throughout the museum to discover LaSalle County’s rich work history.
Location: LaSalle County Historical Society, 101 E. Canal Street, Utica IL 61373
Open: M-F 10 AM-4 PM and Sat.-Sun. 12-4 PM
Admission: $2 Suggested Donation

The Way Peru Worked, April 13-May 24, 2012
Visit the Peru Public Library during The Way We Worked exhibition to discover the way Peru worked. Take advantage of this opportunity to explore a portion of the Peru Library’s local history collection. Items of interest include: bricks from the Star Union Brewery, receipts from area bakeries, a hotel register, and local business cards among other items.
Location: Main floor, Peru Public Library, 1409 11th St. Peru, IL 61354
Open: Monday-Thursday 10AM-8PM, Friday-Saturday 10AM-5PM
Admission: Free

 

PROGRAMS
 

Thursday, March 22, 2012, 6-8:30 PM
“Coal Mining in Northern Illinois”
Brush up on local coal mining history as Richard Joyce presents an overview of the industry from start to finish in northern Illinois during the Canal Corridor Association’s March dinner lecture. Discover the impacts of coal mining including: town development, how ethnic differences caused strife, and the social life in the coal towns.
Reservations required, 815-223-1851.
Location: Lock 16 Center, 754 First Street, LaSalle, IL 61301

Sunday, April 15, 2012, 2-4 PM
History Speaks-LaSalle County Worker’s Panel
The Illinois Valley has a rich working tradition. Come visit with some older workers and hear their stories of their working lives. Whether at the Seneca Shipyards in World War II, local factories or construction sites, hear what wages, conditions and daily life was like for working people a generation ago. A cross-section of older workers will share their stories. Hosted & sponsored by Laborers Local 393.
Location: Marseilles Union Hall, 322 Main Street, Marseilles, IL 61341

Tuesday, April 17, 2012, 6-7:30 PM
The People's Friend: Westclox 1938
Go back in time to 1938, and take an historic, behind-the scenes look at Westclox, and the production of all manner of clocks -- from wind-up table clocks and alarm clocks. Located in LaSalle/Peru Illinois, Westclox employed thousands of area residents, who produced clocks for a huge domestic market -- one valued at $40 million in 1938, as well as markets worldwide. "The People's Friend,”a 1938 film, captures the pride and ability of Westclox workers, and innovations and scope of the company, and the quality and extensive variety of the timepieces produced by Westclox in one small, Illinois town.
Location: LaSalle Public Library, 305 Marquette Street, LaSalle, IL 61301

Sunday, April 22, 2012, 2-4 PM
History of Silica Sand in Ottawa
Silica sand mining began in Ottawa in the 1860's. Since that time the industry has been a major contributor to the business community of LaSalle County. It has employed many generations of workers. Edmund Thornton will present details of an industry that has set a standard and continues to thrive today.
Location: Reddick Mansion, 100 West Lafayette Street, Ottawa IL. 61350

Sunday, April 22, 2012, 4-5 PM
The Way We Worked Lecture Series at the Hegeler Carus Mansion
Topic: The Hegeler and Carus Companies
Presented by: Ken Ficek, Retired from Carus Corporation
Location: Hegeler Carus Mansion, 1307 7th Street, LaSalle, IL 61301-1960
Admission: $3 Suggested Donation

Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 6-7PM
Dollar-A-Day Boys: a Musical Tribute to the Civilian Conservation Corps
Enjoy a music and storytelling program about the Civilian Conservation Corps by Bill Jamerson at the LaSalle Public Library on Tuesday, April 24 at 6pm. The hour-long program will include stories, video, reading excerpts from his novel and playing original songs about the CCC with his guitar. Jamerson has presented the program at CCC reunions, state and national parks around the country.
Location: LaSalle Public Library, 305 Marquette Street, LaSalle, IL 61301

Thursday, April 26, 2012, 6-8:30 PM
“Mary Harris ‘Mother’ Jones: A Voice for Workers
Encounter “Mother” Jones the “most dangerous woman in the United States” and learn about her fight for justice at the Canal Corridor Association’s April dinner lecture. This first person program is based on “Mother” Jones’s speeches and writings to convey inventiveness, energy, and activism. Reservations required, 815-223-1851.
Location: Lock 16 Center, 754 First Street, LaSalle, IL 61301

Saturday, April 28, 2012, 11AM-2PM
The Way LaSalle County Worked
Learn about ‘The Way LaSalle County Worked’ at an open house hosted by the LaSalle County Historical Museum. Have a tour from some special guests: a coal miner, a canal digger, a dial painter, and a train conductor. The docents will take you on a journey through exhibits featuring LaSalle County’s industries including piano manufacturing, military, ship building, clock production, silica, clay and coal mining, canal construction, and the railroad. You are invited to explore the other buildings, such as, the schoolhouse, where you will learn about life as a one-room schoolhouse teacher. Also, our blacksmith will be demonstrating his craft in our blacksmith shop. Finally, learn about agriculture in the county from a farmer in our barn.
Location: LaSalle County Historical Society & Museum, 101 E. Canal Street, Utica, IL 61373;
Admission: $2 Suggested Donation

Sunday, April 29, 2012, 4-5PM
The Way We Worked Lecture Series at the Hegeler Carus Mansion
Topic: Peru Beer Companies
Presented by: Jim Hebel
Location: Hegeler Carus Mansion 1307 7th Street, LaSalle, IL 61301
Admission: $3 Suggested Donation

Thursday, May 3, 2012, 6-7:30 PM
Seneca the “Boom Time”
Discover what it was like to live in Seneca during the days of the Prairie Shipyard. We invite people who lived and worked in Seneca to come share their memories of what Seneca was like during the “boom town” years.
Location: Seneca Village Hall, 340 N. Cash Street, Seneca, IL 61360

Saturdays May 5, 12, 19, 2012
Illinois & Michigan Canal in LaSalle County
Enjoy a rare opportunity to visit three unique canal sites all open for touring at the same time. Visit the oldest extant grain elevator and the sole remaining tollhouse on the I&M Canal. Take a ride on mule-pulled replica canal boat while learning about the canal from period dressed guides and crew.
For more information: call 815-223-1851.
Locations:
Seneca Grain Elevator: 124 W. Williams, Seneca IL 61360,Open: 10-2
Ottawa Tollhouse: Columbus Street on the I&M Canal Ottawa, IL 61350, Open: 10-4
LaSalle Canal Boat, 754 First Street LaSalle, IL 61302, Times: 10AM, 1PM, 2:30 PM

Sunday, May 6, 2012, 4-5 PM
The Way We Worked Lecture Series at the Hegeler Carus Mansion
Topic: The Maze Companies
Presented by: Roelif Loveland, President of Maze Nails
Location: Hegeler Carus Mansion 1307 7th Street, LaSalle, IL 61301
Admission: $3 Suggested Donation

Monday, May 7, 2012, 6:30-8:30 PM
“Radium City” Film Showing
The film "Radium City" relates the stories of some of the young women who painted luminous numbers on clocks with radioactive material at the Radium Dial Company in Ottawa during the 1920s. It outlines the medical aftermath of these events as well as some of the social and political consequences.
Location: Reddick Public Library, 1010 Canal Street, Ottawa, IL 61350

Thursday, May 10, 2012, 6:30-7:30
Labor's untold stories: the Illinois Valley & Beyond
The union and working class organization of the Illinois Valley had impacts far beyond the local area. Who were local leaders who had a state and national impact? What were the national labor struggles gaining attention and how did they resonate locally? Leading this exploration is Mike Matejka, downstate vice-president of the Illinois Labor History Society, Governmental Affairs director for the Great Plains Laborers District Council and editor of the Grand Prairie Union News.
Sponsored by: Laborers Local 393.
Location: Reddick Public Library, 1010 Canal Street, Ottawa, IL 61350

Thursday, May 17, 2012, 6-8:30 PM
“The Radium Dial Girls”
Spend an evening hearing the tragic tale of the “Radium Dial Girls” at the Canal Corridor Association’s May dinner lecture. Discover the story behind the Ottawa memorial honoring these young women. Reservations required, 815-223-1851.
Location: Lock 16 Center, 754 First Street, LaSalle, IL.

Friday, May 18, 2012, 6 PM
The Song of American Laborers
Join us for this special evening of music as we uncover the songs of Americans at work. Enjoy a musical program featuring Bucky Halker; a performer, songwriter, and recording artist that also holds a PhD in American History. He has lectured and performed throughout the USA, Canada, and Europe. Bring a lawn chair or blanket to this outdoor concert.
Location: Washington Park, Ottawa (corner of LaSalle Street and Jackson Street)

Sunday, May 20, 2012, 4-5 PM
The Way We Worked Lecture Series at the Hegeler Carus Mansion
Topic: Businesses that built the Illinois Valley
Presented by: John Piano, Local Historian & Chiropractor
Location: Hegeler Carus Mansion 1307 7th Street, LaSalle, IL 61301
Admission: $3 Suggested Donation

Sunday, June 10, 2012. 4-5 PM
The Way We Worked Lecture Series at the Hegeler Carus Mansion
Topic: Coal Mines of Bureau County
Presented by: Jim Piacenti, Author
Location: Hegeler Carus Mansion 1307 7th Street, LaSalle, IL 61301
Admission: $3 Suggested Donation

Thank you to our Sponsors
• National Park Service
• Illinois Valley Building Trades Council, AFL-CIO
• Illinois Valley Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO
• Illinois Valley Labor Management
• Laborers Local Union 393

The Way We Worked has been made possible in LaSalle County, IL by the Illinois Humanities Council, the Canal Corridor Association, the local coordinating entity for the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor and the Ottawa Historical and Scouting Heritage Museum.

The Way We Worked, an exhibition created by the National Archives, is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and State Humanities Councils nationwide. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.


Click on the photos below
for exanded view.

National Archives, Records of the Works Progress Administration


National Archives, Records of the Children’s Bureau


National Archives, Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs

National Archives, General Records of the U.S. Navy.


National Archives, Records of the U.S. Information Agency


National Archives, Records of the Women’s Bureau


U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Navy Photo


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency

 

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