Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?
city, La Salle county, north-central Illinois, U.S. It lies on the Vermilion (locally Vermillion) River, about 90 miles (145 km) southwest of Chicago. It was laid out in 1868 after the discovery of coal in the vicinity by Colonel Ralph Plumb. It was first called Hardscrabble, for the difficult climb up from the river, and was then known as Unionville after the American Civil War. It was renamed in 1872 for Worthy Streator, president of the Vermillion Coal Company, which had opened the first coal mine there. The community also manufactured brick, drainage tiles, and glass, drawing on local deposits of clay, shale, and silica sand. The city's economy is still primarily industrial (including food processing and distribution and the manufacture of glass containers and sewer-cleaning equipment) but is augmented by agriculture (corn [maize] and soybeans). Several state parks are located north of the city along the Illinois River. Inc. city, 1882. Pop. (1990) 14,121; (2000) 14,190.