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LCHS annual meeting to feature life of local railroad pioneer

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 14th, 2012

Major General Grenville M. Dodge

MENDOTA – An interesting aspect of railroad history will be presented during the LaSalle County Historical Society’s annual meeting on Sunday, Nov. 18. Local historian Dr. John Piano will discuss the life of former LaSalle County resident Major General Grenville M. Dodge.

“Dodge, a major power in the country’s railroad industry in the mid-1800s, is relatively unknown as a LaSalle County personality,” said LCHS president David Reed. “He lived in La Salle County for five years and married in Peru. He was a decorated and distinguished Civil War general, became chief engineer of the Union Pacific Railroad and surveyed more than 100,000 miles of railroad and built more rail mileage than any other American.”

Dodge was largely responsible for building the first transcontinental railroad for the Union Pacific. He ultimately served as president of seven railroads and nine railroad construction companies and became adviser to Presidents Lincoln, Grant, Johnson, Hayes, McKinley, Taft and Theodore Roosevelt. “Dr. Piano has prepared a fascinating presentation filled with many historical connections to our area,” Reed added.

The LCHS annual meeting will take place this Sunday at the Mendota Civic Center. The Illinois Valley Flute Ensemble will play at 12:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 1 p.m. A short business meeting will be held after the program during which the LCHS officers and board for 2013 will be elected.

Cost for the buffet meal is $25 per person; reservations are required. To make reservations, call the LaSalle County Historical Museum at (815) 667-4861.

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