“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Streator in LaSalle County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Colonel Ralph Plumb


Colonel Ralph Plumb Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, June 24, 2021
1. Colonel Ralph Plumb Marker
Streator’s founding father was a noteworthy politician, successful businessman, courageous patriot and remarkable humanitarian. His helping hand, hopeful words, and loving heart were devoted to the service of humanity; his greatest gifts were his belief in and love for his fellow man. We are proud that his noble life is a part of this community’s history and are forever indebted to him and his intense desire to diligently work toward the betterment of mankind.

”…There is no joy in life like the joy of giving. No investment yields returns like an investment in men. There is no work that pays so well as helping people to help themselves.”
—Col. Ralph Plumb, 1903.

Before his arrival in Streator in 1866, Ralph Plumb volunteered to support the U.S. Government out of devotion to the cause of Union and Liberty, serving bravely in the Civil War, an effort that earned him the rank and title of Colonel.

In 1882 he was unanimously elected as Streator’s first mayor and after serving one term as mayor was elected to three terms in the U.S. Congress for the 8th District of Illinois. He was founder and president of the
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city’s first bank, Streator National, and the Vermilion Coal Company. He assisted in establishing the railroad system, Streator Brick and the Drain Tile Co. He erected the Plumb Hotel and Plumb Opera House, both of which were named after him. Many area churches, St. Mary’s Hospital, Streator’s Andrew Carnegie Library, the City Park and Marilla Park were all established through his efforts. His most remarkable act of citizenship was his donation of Streator High School to the community. He purchased the land and built and furnished the school with his own funds.

Major Contributors
Streator Tourism • Streatorland Historical Society • Chris & Pam Walker & Family • Bruce Township • Dieken Family Foundation • Leroy & Marie Stuart • Descendants of Samual Plumb • Don Adams & Roberta Rush Adams • Rocky Neumann • Schultz Monument

Marlene Miller — Sculptor

Erected 2004.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public WorkEducationIndustry & CommercePatriots & Patriotism. A significant historical year for this entry is 1866.
Location. 41° 7.35′ N, 88° 50.04′ W. Marker is in Streator, Illinois, in LaSalle County. Marker is on North Park Street (Illinois Route 23) just north of East Hickory
Colonel Ralph Plumb Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, June 24, 2021
2. Colonel Ralph Plumb Marker
(looking west from Streator City Park • North Park Street in background)
Street, on the right when traveling north. Monument and marker are located beside the sidewalk, near the southwest corner of Streator City Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Streator IL 61364, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. George "Honey Boy" Evans (within shouting distance of this marker); Streator Baseball (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); American Heroes Mural (about 500 feet away); World War II (about 500 feet away); Streator Civil War Memorial (about 600 feet away); Dedicated to the Soldiers, Sailors, and Patriots of the American Revolutionary War (about 600 feet away); Edward Plumb (about 800 feet away); The Flight of the Vin Fiz (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Streator.
Also see . . .
1. Col Ralph Oberlin Plumb (Find a Grave). Born in Busti, Chautauqua County, N.Y., March 29, 1816; attended the common schools; engaged in mercantile pursuits; moved to Ohio; member of the State house of representatives in 1855; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1857 and commenced practice in Oberlin, Lorain County, Ohio; during the Civil War served in the Union Army as captain and quartermaster of Volunteers 1861-1865; was brevetted lieutenant colonel; moved to Illinois in 1866 and settled in Streator. (Submitted on November 2, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Colonel Ralph Plumb Sculpture (<i>west side of monument</i>)</center> image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, June 24, 2021
3. Colonel Ralph Plumb Sculpture (west side of monument)
(looking east from North Park Street • Streator City Park in background • marker is on back/east side of monument)

2. Col. Plumb, In the Library and Beyond. In 1866, he was asked to buy and develop 4,000 acres of coal country in LaSalle County in a town then known as either Hardscrabble or Unionville. Plumb, an abolitionist who grew up in Ohio, already had a record of achievement after serving during the Civil War on the staff of Gen. James Garfield, later to become the 20th president. Under Plumb's leadership, the coal operation boomed. Later, the town's name was changed to honor Dr. Worthy Streator, who had asked Plumb to develop the area. (Submitted on November 2, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. Ralph Plumb. Since the year 1866 Colonel Plumb has been identified with the interests of Streator, and to no man does the city owe its upbuilding, improvement and progress in a greater degree. He was chosen by a large syndicate of capitalists to become their resident manager at Streator, and he purchased for them four thousand acres of coal lands. Under his supervision the development of the mines was commenced, and four hundred miles of railroad was built in order to provide shipping facilities for the output. (Submitted on November 2, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 2, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 2, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 346 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 2, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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Apr. 12, 2024