Your little La Salle County Online Museum

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Welcome graphic
to the people's museum for education and research in local history with emphasis on trains.


Illinis Central Depot at La salle
Photo by Bill Sclosser (1925-2017)

Shippingsport bridge New Early 1900s
Old Shippinsport (Swing Bridge)

CB&Q LaSalle 1960s
Photo Bill Schlosser at Creve Coeur st


The mission of this site is educational; to preserve our local history through photographs etc.
This site would not be possible without people who contributed from their collections. We can all be grateful to them. 



 I am a historical preservationist. I love history, and art too. I like to collect historic images to get a deeper understanding of our past. To me it's like traveling back in time. I collect all this and organize it to share it with you.
    I have thought it would be nice if La Salle County can come up with a place to focus on the railroading history of the area.
  What is going to happen to all this history if we don't act now?  I thought the best place to start is with an online museum showing a fine sample of images.  I hope others will do the same with their collections of images of their own towns, cities, businesses etc., and we can become linked and thus preserve the rich history we all have in our towns and cities. We should not let this history be hidden in just people's personal collections or in drawers in libraries alone because most will never see them. There is no reason we all can't become involved and share, contribute and build online museums to complement the fantastic museums in our counties. For instance, the Mendota IL Railroad Museum, the Cherry Public library and museum, the LaSalle County Historical Museum, and Paxton ICRR Museum to name a few where there are great collections people should see.

These images on this website could not be possible if not for quite a few number of people and historical societies, libraries etc.,whom we should be ever grateful to. Let us share our history and interests with these images because they are for our education, research, commentary and discussion, and for our future generations. With pictures we can step into the past and learn. They are a time machine into the past.
 But, I still would like to have a place in La Salle the city could donate because there is a great deal more to see. The Mendota Museums are filled with nice displays and so is the LaSalle County Historical Museum in Utica. We can work together in realizing this dream, and I play a very small, small part. It would be nice to be able to get the old Rock Island Depot in LaSalle (too late, taken) I am open to ideas. I would love to see the grounds cleaned up around the Rock Island depot and make it the spectacle it once was. (updated: The depot was sold and bought in 2014.  We'll hope for something interesting to happen there.)
  I am always dreaming! Oh well, the worst case scenario is having this little online museum in which it still allows me to share with you these classic images many photographers captured that help tell our history. These images are vital to our history and we learn from them.   

The other idea I have given great thought is having my house as a museum centered around railroading in the area. If I am in control then it simply is done up right.  I recently visited the La Salle County Historical Society's new building in Utica on the south side of the canal. It was very nice and had numerous interesting displays about various things. I recommend people to see it. BUT, the railroading section was small, since they don't have the room.  An idea for them is to use my CD disc of images I gave to them years ago and at least enlarge some of the images for display. Or, they can buy a digital display monitor which can do slide shows of the images of local history.  When a person walks near it, then it can be set to turn on.

I believe my house museum could be an extension to these area museums. The interesting thing is I would have more local railroading images hanging on my walls etc., then they could dream of. That's just the way it is, so far.
If the Utica Museum could use the upstairs for a vast railroading display of enlarged images or the digital slide show, that would be very nice.  Anyway, if someone has an idea or suggestion about my house museum let me know. I am thinking about having it open for small groups of visitors once a month. Not sure what I am going to do yet. What do you think? I have made a handful of documentaries I could show  a few times a year too.

Thanks to all those who have shared their images! Thanks to all the volunteers at local museums, we need you, I need you.
Historically Yours,
Ray Tutaj Jr.

If you would like to have me post some photos  etc., you have to this site please contact me at: I can not make this site possible without all of you! Thanks!
The images and information gathered on this site came from a variety of sources and are only
used for educative and research purposes to demonstrate what the local area looked like at one time and to comment and discuss our rich history. I have asked many of the photographers for permission to be able to display these images and they were happy to do so . Some old images are in public domain and others are not but I do believe the use of these photographs is under fair use because they are for educative, research and teaching purposes.  Some photos were passed on through many people and are unknown as to the source. I would like to know. If you know then please contact me. I asked IDOT for permission to use images and they said YES! We should all be very grateful to the photographers who captured these historical moments in time to educate us and future generations.  If you would like to contribute an important photo related to La Salle County History then let me know.
 If you have any comments, questions or concerns about any images please simply contact me at If any owner of a particular image who I may have not talked to yet would rather not have their image here then very simply email me and it will be removed very easily. There is no monetary gain here and it is a non-profit site. I actually have to pay for this site and never will ask for donations here.  I have freely spent hundreds of hours trying to organize and compile various people's collections and my own to help pass on our history.
      I find it imperative that someone such as I make available a historical research site such as this for the education of our community. If not me then who? We face a critical time in historical preservation of our communities. If something is not done in the next ten to fifteen years, a massive amount of information and images will be lost forever. Important collections should be given to our libraries too. I have done that with some of the pictures I have collected. It takes people to research and locate members of our counties who have a story to tell in pictures or words.  That's what I like to do when I have time. I have been handed down collections and it is quite overwhelming. But, it is a passion of mine, only because I want to share knowledge and pass it on so others can pass it on.

Check out the links page to other topics of history related to our area and more.

Sharing things you might be interested in such as local history, photography, transportation, a novel and art.