Mendota is a city in LaSalle County, Illinois, United States, in the state's north-central region. The population was 7,372 at the 2010 census, and was estimated to be 7,057 by July 2018. It is part of the Ottawa, IL Micropolitan Statistical Area. Mendota is located approximately 85 miles west of Chicago, 70 miles east of Moline and 55 miles south of Rockford. The current mayor is David W. Boelk, an independent elected to a four-year term.
The name "Mendota" is derived from a Lakota word meaning "junction of two trails", which was found appropriate for the city since there was a nearby railroad junction for the Illinois Central Railroad and the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad.
In summer of 1853, the Illinois Central Railroad was completed and by the fall of that year, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad completed a crossing at the present site of Mendota. By the following year, the population had grown to more than 1,000 and the town was home to saloons, hotels, and various shops. The town was incorporated as a village in 1855 and reincorporated as a town in 1859. By 1860, the town was also home to churches of 5 denominations.
With the availability of the railroads to facilitate export, several manufactures of items ranging from organs to cigars and buttons opened factories in Mendota.