About This Place
Ransom is a village in LaSalle County, Illinois, United States. The population was 409 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Ottawa–Streator Micropolitan Statistical Area. It is part of the subregion known as Streatorland.
Ransom was a planned community; ads were placed in the Streator Monitor as early as 1876 calling for shopkeepers, craftsmen, and tradesmen. In 1885 the village of Ransom was officially incorporated. The earliest businesses in Ransom included a hotel, saloon, doctor, carpenter, pharmacist, grocery store, cash exchange and a blacksmith. On the edge of the newly developing business district a small wooden water tower was constructed. In 1892 a fire devastated the eastern side of the business district, stymieing the village's growth and causing some business owners to close up shop forever.
After the fire, and much back and forth, the village constructed a new public waterworks with a 68 feet water tower at its center in 1896. The village flourished after the fire, eventually reaching a population peak of around 600 following World War II. On September 7, 1903 the first phone service reached Ransom, and AT&T opened a telegraph office in 1905. Between 1905–1910 the village constructed a sidewalk system. The first electric street lamps appeared on May 7, 1910 with the acquisition of a dozen electric street lamps from Illinois Valley Gas and Electric. Electricity gradually made its way into the homes of Ransom following the introduction of the street lamps.