WGN Radio shines the spotlight on Joliet, for this month’s Your Hometown series. The third largest city in Illinois and roughly 45 miles southwest of Chicago, Joliet covers nine different townships, but the heart of the city is centered around the Des Plaines River.
Joliet has several nicknames including “The Crossroads of Mid-America” and “The City of Steel and Stone”. The latter speaks to Joliet’s roots of previous dominant industries. At one time, the city’s steel mill was once the second largest in the U.S. The Joliet Iron Works Historic Site is now part of the Forest Preserve District of Will County and residents and visitors can visit to connect the city’s past. Dolomite Joliet limestone can be seen in many homes, buildings and churches around the area.
Pop culture introduced Joliet to a wider audience thanks to the 1980 musical-comedy film “The Blues Brothers.” For motoring enthusiasts, Joliet was a stop on both Route 66 and the Lincoln Highway.
Joliet is currently the only city in Illinois to have two casinos and was the first Dairy Queen location. Head downtown to take in a performance at the Rialto Square Theatre the “Jewel of Joliet”. Another building known by several names and synonymous with nearly Joliet’s entire history is also open for tours through the Joliet Area Historical Museum: Old Joliet Prison.
Photos by Mike Piff/WGN Radio