The History of Serena, LaSalle County, Illinois

Transcribed by Nancy Piper


Serena post office was established during President Polk's administration, with Robert Beresford as the first Postmaster. He was succeeded by Daniel Blake about 1853. Next came Sedgwick Hupp, who in turn gave way to the present incumbent, Reuben Pooler.


The village of Serena was laid out in 1870 by A. T. Armstrong, who really built the village. He erected the elevator, planing-mill and other structures, and was many years grain dealer and lumber merchant, and the leading man of Serena. The first store was kept by Mason & Schlambush, who began with a general stock in the spring of 1871. Sehlambush retired in 1876, and Mason continued the business until March, 1882, when he sold to F. G. Arnstozen, who still runs the store. A hardware store was established in 1872 by R. H. Pooler, who still conducts it. The Serena Hotel was built in the summer of 1871, by Joseph Armstrong, who kept it a few months and then sold to John Crocker. It is now owned by Daniel Mason and the Armstrong heirs, and is run by Amos Morrill. The first blacksmith shop was built in the winter of 1870-1871, by Thomas Duffey, who still owns and runs it. Another shop was built about 1874, but is vacant. The village now has in addition, two restaurants, one skating rink, two livery-stables, one wagon-maker, a saw and planing mill, one grain merchant, one doctor and one boot and shoe dealer (who also deals in tile). The population is 125.


There are four religions organizations in Serena Township.

The First Methodist Episcopal Church of West Serena was formed in 1845 by Rev. Mr. Royal, in the" bend" school-house (District No.2), with about twelve members. They and the Presbyterians worshiped in the same house for a number of years, and in 1877 the Methodists built their present fine frame church, at a cost of $4,000, in addition to donated labor. Present membership is eighteen. Services every week, by Rev. George B. Miller.

The Serena Seventh Day Adventist Church was organized as the result of a course of lectures from August to October, 1870, by Elders R. F. Andrews and T. M. Stewart. It was first known as the Northville Church, which name was changed for that of Serena June 4, 1872. The first leader was Hiland Stimpson, and the class was formed in the house of George Foreman, with thirteen members. Their house of worship was erected in 1873-1874. It is 28 x 48 feet in size, and cost $2,000. Alfred Nettleingham has been Elder since the house was built, and Alfred Hobbs, Deacon. The communicants now number fifty-one. Regular services and Sabbath-school and prayer-meeting are held weekly.

The French Evangelical Church is situated on the line of sections 11 and 12. The exact date of its first organization is unknown, but in 1872 it was reorganized by Rev. J. Totel, with the following members: Louis Stauffer, Julien Claude, George Morel, Henry Coquelin, Henry G. Bernard, Henry Morel, Gustave Claude, August Bernard, August Clottu, Adolph Girardly and Louis Shoennenberger. There are now thirty members, Rev. J. Totel still being their pastor. Their house of worship was erected in 1874. Services are held every alternate Sunday, and Sunday school every week.

Zion United Brethren Church was organized in November, 1878, by Rev. Mr. Harsh, who preached two years. Afterward died in Nebraska. The house of worship, a large frame structure, was erected in the autumn of 1878. Weakened by deaths and removals, the society does not now number more than a dozen communicants. There is now no regular preaching, but the Sunday-school is still active, under Mrs. Ida Wheeler.

[Source: History of La Salle County, Illinois : together with sketches of its cities, villages and towns, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history, portraits of prominent persons, and biographies of representative citizens : also a condensed History of Illinois, embodying accounts of prehistoric races, aborigines, Winnebago and Black Hawk wars, and a brief review of its civil and political history.. Chicago: Inter-State Pub. Co., 1886.Page 584-586]

This township (Serena) has the Village of Serena, which was laid out in 1870 by A. T. Armstrong, who became a leader in civic and business affairs in the new town. The census of 1920 gives the village a population of 225. [History of La Salle County, Illinois. Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1924.]

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