Thursday, December 14, 2017

Lost Towns of Illinois - Science, Illinois

Science, Illinois was a community in LaSalle County, Illinois, located along the bottomlands of the Illinois River, just south of modern day Utica. The Village of North Utica is the proper name of what is more commonly referred to as Utica. The earliest reference to Science, Illinois is in 1822 when plans for the development of the I & M Canal were conceived. 
The canal survey nine years later moved the canal terminus from Utica to Peru and then later to LaSalle. The relocation of the canal terminus away from Utica not only limited water and rail transportation but also the general growth of the community.

In November of 1836, the Deputy County Surveyor filed a plat map for Utica at the recorder’s office in LaSalle County with Science, Illinois being included.
Simon Crosiar’s sawmill, carding machine, warehouse, store, and dock were among the first business establishments. Other business establishments in the 1830s included Thomas Brown’s store (1836); George Armstrong’s tavern (1836); four frame buildings containing two stores, a warehouse, and tavern; and Norton and Steele’s cement plant (1838). The cement plant primarily manufactured cement used in the construction of the I & M Canal. Construction of the canal was temporarily suspended in 1841, and as a result, the cement company closed.
The cement plant was reopened in 1845 under the ownership of James Clark. The James Clark Cement Company was later changed to Utica Hydraulic Cement Company. In 1848, James Clark constructed a stone warehouse to store grain. Clark’s stone warehouse also served as a post office, general store, livery, and at the turn of the century, as a motorcar wash.

It is unclear when North Utica annexed Science, Illinois, but by 1950s Utica maps, Science is nowhere to be found.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 


  1. This is very interesting. I was born and raised in North Utica, which we never ever called it anything, but Utica. I also, had never heard of Science, Illinois either.

    1. As of Sept 2022, the subdivision plats, streets, and parcels are still visible at the LaSalle County GIS parcel information ( Zoom in to the northeast corner of IL-178 and the Illinois River. (The lower part of Science south of the Illinois River has been absorbed into the Starved Rock State Park, and the streets and parcels in that area are no longer visible.)


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