Main Births etc
Joliet, Illinois
none Downtown scene
Downtown scene
Official name: City of Joliet
Name origin: Louis Jolliet
Nicknames: City of Steel, City of Stone, City of Champions, Prison City
Country United States
State Illinois
Counties Will, Kendall
Townships Joliet, Troy, Plainfield, Lockport, New Lenox, Jackson, Channahon, Seward, Na-Au-Say
River Des Plaines
Elevation 643 ft (196 m)
Coordinates 41°31′21″N 88°08′26″W / 41.5225, -88.14056
Area 62.77 sq mi (163 km²)
 - land 62.11 sq mi (161 km²)
 - water 0.66 sq mi (2 km²)
Population 148,402 (2011)
Density 2,790.9 / sq mi (1,078 / km²)
Settled 1833
Incorporated 1852
Government Council-manager
Mayor Thomas Giarrante (D)
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Zip codes 60431, 60432, 60433, 60434, 60435, 60436, 60586
Area codes 815, 779
Demonym Jolietan
Location of Joliet within Illinois
Location of Joliet within Illinois
Locator Red.svg
Location of Joliet within Illinois

Wikimedia Commons: Joliet, Illinois
Statistics: [1]

Joliet ( /ˈli.ɛt/ or /liˈɛt/) is a city in Will and Kendall counties in the US state of Illinois, located 40 miles (64 km) southwest of Chicago. It is the county seat of Will County.[3] As of the 2010 census, the city was the fourth-most populated in Illinois, with a population of 147,433. It continues to be Illinois' fastest growing city and one of the fastest growing in the southwest Chicago metropolitan area. When Joliet was first planned in the early 1830s, it was still in Cook County. In 1836, it became the county seat of the new Will County.[4]


Joliet Veteran's Memorial Bicentennial Park

In 1833 Joliet, following the Black Hawk War, Charles Reed built a cabin along the west side of the Des Plaines River. Across the river in 1834, James B. Campbell, treasurer of the canal commissioners, laid out the village of "Juliet", a name local settlers had been using before his ascent. The origin of the name, which was what it would be called or referred to in popular vernacular, was most likely a corruption of the name of French Canadian explorer Louis Jolliet, who in 1673, along with Father Jacques Marquette, paddled up the Des Plaines River and camped on a huge mound, a few miles south of present-day Joliet.[4] Maps from Jolliet's exploration of the area, placed a large hill or mound on what is now the southwest corner of the city, since there is no point that is farther southwest. That hill was named Mound Jolliet, later renamed to Heap Joliet. The spot was mined by early settlers and is now a depression. Just before the depression of 1837, Juliet incorporated as a village, but to cut tax expenses, Juliet residents soon petitioned the state to rescind that incorporation. In 1845, local residents changed the community's name from "Juliet" to "Joliet". Joliet was reincorporated as a city in 1852.


Joliet is located at 41°31′21″N 88°08′26″W / 41.5225, -88.14056 (41.5224597, −88.1406140).[2]

According to the 2010 census, the city has a total area of 62.77 square miles (162.6 km2), of which 62.11 square miles (160.9 km2) (or 98.95%) is land and 0.66 square miles (1.7 km2) (or 1.05%) is water.[5] It has a sprawling, irregular shape that extends into nine different townships, more than any other Illinois city. They are: Joliet, Plainfield, Troy, New Lenox, Jackson, Channahon, and Lockport in Will County, and Na-Au-Say and Seward in Kendall County. Joliet is a Des Plaines River town, with the downtown located in the river valley. This is especially evident on Interstate 80 if one is coming from the east or the west where it has been flat for many miles and suddenly the land drops as you approach the river. This offers a great view looking north to see downtown Joliet. For most of its existence Joliet geographically has had its "west side" and "east side", referring to areas to the west or the east of the Des Plaines River, which runs through the city. Both sides were roughly proportionate throughout most of its history until the 2nd half of the 20th century when westward expansion began. Many businesses moved from the downtown area to the expanding areas west of the river. Many stores relocated to the west side in new strip malls and shopping centers with more parking and easier access. This began the decline of the downtown shopping district which is still felt today. Today Joliet has a "west side" and a far "west side" (which includes all city limits in Kendall County). This has given rise to a newly referenced "Central Joliet" portion of the City which essentially is all land west of the Des Plaines River and east of Interstate 55. This new reference may soon change the current meaning of "west side" to west of Interstate 55.


While the heart and history of Joliet is centered around the Des Plaines River Joliet actually expands across both the Des Plaines River and the DuPage River. There are several other waterways that traverse through the city limits including Hickory Creek, Spring Creek, the historic Illinois and Michigan Canal, Jackson Creek, and Aux Sable Creek. Some small lakes and bodies of water include Chase Lake, Lake Juco, Michigan Beach, the Brandon Road Quarry, and Leisure Lake.


Climate data for Joliet, Illinois (Brandon Dam), 1981–2010
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 31
Average low °F (°C) 16
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.80
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 10.6 8.9 10.6 11.4 11.3 10.2 9.4 9.0 8.2 9.5 10.8 11.2 121.2
Source: NOAA[6]


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1840 2,558
1850 2,659 3.9%
1860 7,104 167.2%
1870 7,263 2.2%
1880 11,657 60.5%
1890 23,264 99.6%
1900 29,353 26.2%
1910 34,670 18.1%
1920 38,442 10.9%
1930 42,993 11.8%
1940 42,365 −1.5%
1950 51,601 21.8%
1960 66,780 29.4%
1970 78,827 18.0%
1980 77,956 −1.1%
1990 76,836 −1.4%
2000 106,221 38.2%
2010 147,433 38.8%
Est. 2012 148,268 39.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
2011 estimate

As of July 1, 2011, Joliet was the 162nd most populous city in the United States.[7] According to the 2000 United States Census, there were 106,221 people, 36,182 households, and 25,399 families residing in the city. The official 2008 population total by a Special Census called on by the City of Joliet in late 2008 from the U.S. Census Bureau is 152,812.[1] The population density was 2,790.9 people per square mile (1,077.6/km²). There were 3,312 housing units at an average density of 1,003.1 per square mile (387.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city in 2010 was 67.5% White with 53.0% being non-Hispanic whites, 16.0% African American with, 0.3% Native American, 1.9% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, and 2.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 27.8% of the population.[8]

There were 6,182 households out of which 38.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.9% were married couples living together, 23.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.8% were non-families. 24.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 2.39.

In the city, the population was spread out with 29.5% under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 33.1% from 25 to 44, 16.3% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 98.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $47,761, and the median income for a family was $55,870. Males had a median income of $41,909 versus $29,100 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,390. About 7.7% of families and 10.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.5% of those under age 18 and 8.2% of those age 65 or over.

From April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011, Joliet was the fastest-growing city in the Midwestern United States and the 18th fastest-growing city in the United States among incorporated places with more than 100,000 people.[7]


Like many Midwestern cities dependent on manufacturing industries, Joliet has experienced past economic troubles, with the unemployment rate reaching as high as 85% in the early 1980s. However, current rates of unemployment in Joliet are around 8.6%.[9] In part due to Joliet's proximity to the Chicago metropolitan area and the notion that the city is increasingly evolving from its status as a steel-town to an exurb. Still, most new migrants to the area are moving to Joliet to live, choosing to work in bordering Cook and DuPage counties, and the downtown area, once downtrodden, is undergoing a total revitalization due to the influx of cabaret establishments. The main attractions in Joliet's City Center are the Harrah's Casino, Joliet Slammers baseball (Silver Cross Field), Hollywood Casino (formerly, Argosy Empress Casino) and the Rialto Square Theatre, the 'Jewel of Joliet', which has been called one of the world's 10 most beautiful theaters. The 1999 film Stir of Echoes starring Kevin Bacon had scenes shot on location in Joliet at the Rialto Square Theatre (the hypnotism scenes in which James saw the word "Dig" on the movie screen), at the corner of Scott Street and Washington, and at the old Menards that took over the Wieboltd's building at Jefferson Square Mall. The lobby of the Rialto Square Theatre also served the filming of John Goodman's "Balto".

Largest employers[]

According to the City's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[10] the largest employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center 2,500
2 County of Will 2,400
3 Silver Cross Hospital (now located in New Lenox) 1,800
4 Hollywood Casino Joliet 1,756
5 Caterpillar 1,500
6 Joliet Public School District 86 1,430
7 Harrah's Joliet 1,100
8 University of St. Francis 1,100
9 Filtration Group 900
10 Joliet Township High School District 204 900


The Rialto Square Theatre in downtown Joliet

Among local landmarks are the Joliet Area Historical Museum and Route 66 Visitors Center as well as the Chicagoland Speedway (NASCAR) and the Route 66 Raceway (NHRA).

The Joliet Prison is located near Joliet's downtown district on Collins Street. The prison has been featured in both television shows and movies. One such television series filmed at Joliet Prison was Prison Break.[11] The Prison was also used for the opening scenes in the popular 1980 movie, The Blues Brothers, which starred John Belushi as "Joliet" Jake Blues and Dan Aykroyd as Elwood Blues.[12]

The first Dairy Queen store opened in Joliet.[13] The location is now occupied by Universal Church.

The Rialto Square Theatre, a favorite haunt of Al Capone and filming location for scenes from Kevin Bacon's film Stir of Echoes, is on Chicago Street, downtown.[14]

There are two casinos which originated as riverboat casino in Joliet: the Hollywood Casino near Channahon and a Harrah's hotel and casino downtown. Joliet is the only city in the State of Illinois to have two casinos.[15]

The Louis Joliet Mall is located near the intersection of I-55 and U.S. Route 30.[16]

The Auditorium Building is located at the northeast corner of Chicago and Clinton streets. Designed by G. Julian Barnes and built of limestone in 1891, it was controversial as one of the first buildings to combine religious, civic and commercial uses. Nonetheless, people such Theodore Roosevelt visited and spoke at the building.[17] The building was originally built for the Universalist Unitarian Church of Joliet; however, the church sold the building in 1993, and it is no longer home to the congregation.[18]

The Jacob A. Henry Mansion, 20 South Eastern Avenue is a three-story, red brick, Second Empire/Italian Renaissance style structure built on a Joliet limestone foundation in 1873(completed in 1876).The structure is set on bedrock and the entire basement floor is made of Joliet limestone from the building owner’s quarry. The walls of the structure are constructed of red Illinois sandstone and deep red brick specially fired in Ohio (wrapped individually and shipped by barge to Joliet). A commanding three-story tower is the focal point of the structure. The structure has steel trim with slate shingles on a Mansard roof. The front and side porches are single slabs of limestone. The largest stone ever quarried lies in the sidewalk under the front entry gate. The stone is 9’ X 22’ X 20” thick. In 1885, an immense Byzantine dome was added to the south façade. The interior of the mansion has elaborate polished walnut woodwork, massive, carved pocket doors, original wood mantles and a solid walnut staircase. The original owner, Mr. Henry, was a railroad magnate, building railroads in Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. He had ownership in a local quarry and was a principal stockholder in Will County National Bank. The mansion won the Architecture Award at the American Centennial Celebration in Philadelphia in 1876, and is claimed to be the largest and best example of Renaissance Revival architecture still standing in the state of Illinois. The structure is a local landmark, part of the East Side National Register District and individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The former Joliet Arsenal (now the site of both the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery and the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie) is in nearby Elwood.


One of Joliet's nicknames is the "City of Champions". This label stems from the numerous state and national titles won by the Joliet Township High School and grade school bands as well as by the Joliet American Legion Band[19] over several decades.

Joliet is home to three high schools that bear its name: Joliet Central, Joliet West, and Joliet Catholic Academy (JCA), each of which has sports programs. JCA has been a major football powerhouse for many years and has won more state football titles than any other team in the state, with thirteeen as of 2009.[20]

Silver Cross Field in Joliet, IL

Joliet also is home to a minor league baseball team, the Joliet Slammers of the independent Frontier League. Since the beginning of the 2011 season, they have played their home games at Silver Cross Field. The Slammers replace the former Joliet JackHammers of the Northern League. The Joliet Slammers won the 2011 Frontier League Championship in their first season as a team.[21]

Chicagoland Speedway hosts annual events from NASCAR and the IRL. During major races, the large influx of fans means that the number of people in the city is double that of the official figure. Next door to the Speedway, the Route 66 Raceway features National Hot Rod Association events on its drag-strip. Joliet Central has become actively involved in Route 66 by building an alternative fuel vehicle.[22] Autobahn Country Club, also located in Joliet, has held the SCCA World Challenge, Atlantic Championship and Star Mazda Championship races since 2009.

Parks and recreation[]

Golf courses[]

There are four golf courses located in the city of Joliet, they are:

  • Inwood Golf Course
  • Woodruff Golf Course
  • Wedgewood Golf Course
  • Joliet Country Club

Family entertainment[]

Joliet has two miniature golf courses at Haunted Trails located off of Broadway Street.

Joliet has a water park on Route 6 called Splash Station.

The Pilcher Park Nature Center, located in Pilcher Park, hosts many youth and educational programs.

Pilcher Park, one of Joliet's oldest parks, is home to over 640 acres (259 ha) of land that provide a habitat for abundant wildlife and outdoor recreation.

Hammel Woods is also located in Joliet with miles of hiking trails and even a seven acre dog park

Bicycle trails[]

There are several miles of bike trails which wind through Joliet. The Rock Run and Joliet Junction Trails are roughly North/South routes that begin at the Theodore Marsh in Crest Hill, Illinois and have southern terminuses on the I&M Canal State Trail. These three paths can be used as a 16-mile loop through western Joliet. The I&M Canal State Trail stretches about 60 miles to Peru, Illinois for longer bike rides.


JJC Main Campus

Colleges and universities[]

  • Joliet Junior College, the nation's first public community college
  • University of St. Francis

High schools[]

School districts serving Joliet include Joliet Township High School District 204, Plainfield Community Consolidated School District 202, Oswego Community Unit School District 308, Minooka Community High School District 111.

Joliet Area High Schools

High School Established Enrollment Funding Location Mascot
Joliet Catholic Academy 1869 857 Private 1200 North Larkin Avenue,
Joliet, Illinois, 60435
Hilltoppers (m), Angels (f)
Joliet Central High School 1901 2,762 Public 201 East Jefferson Street,
Joliet, Illinois, 60432
Steelmen (m), Steelwomen (f)
Joliet West High School 1964 2,392 Public 401 North Larkin Avenue,
Joliet, Illinois, 60435

Notable people[]


City limits[]

Joliet current city limits reach as far as follows:

  • To the north: Theodore Street (older main section of the city)/Renwick Road (in the NW Crystal Lawns subdivision)
  • To the south: Noel Road
  • To the east: Wirt Road
  • To the west: Grove Road (Kendall County)

State government[]

The Illinois Youth Center Joliet (IYC Joliet), a juvenile correctional facility of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, is in Joliet. It opened in April 1959.[23]

Stateville Correctional Center, the principal maximum security prison for the state of Illinois, is located in the neighboring city of Crest Hill.[24][25] It is a part of the Illinois Department of Corrections.


Des Plaines River in Joliet, Illinois

Situated approximately 40 miles (64 km) southwest of central Chicago, Joliet has long been a significant transportation hub. It lies on both sides of the Des Plaines River, a major waterway in Northern Illinois, and was one of the principal ports on the Illinois and Michigan Canal. The Chicago & Rock Island Railroad and Michigan Central came through in the 1850s, and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and Chicago & Alton Railroad soon followed, with the Elgin Joliet & Eastern Railroad and Milwaukee Road lines built around the turn of the century. U.S. Highways 6 (the Grand Army of the Republic Highway), 30 (the Lincoln Highway), 45, 52, and 66 (Route 66) all ran through the city. In the 1960s, Interstate 55 and Interstate 80 made their way through Joliet, linking up near Channahon just west of the city limits. The phrase "Crossroads of Mid-America", found on the Joliet seal, is an allusion to the intersection of I-80 and I-55. Joliet's Union Station is the final stop on the Metra rail lines from Chicago for the Heritage Corridor route from Chicago Union Station and the Rock Island District route from LaSalle Street Station. A third line would also terminate at the station, The STAR Line, from O'Hare Transfer with an additional stop at Division St. PACE provides local bus service six days a week (no service on Sundays) with buses leaving from a terminal in downtown Joliet once an hour. Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, also serves Joliet, operating its Texas Eagle daily in each direction between Chicago and San Antonio, Texas.


The Joliet Regional Airport is located off of Jefferson Street near Interstate 55. Lewis University Airport is located to the north in the nearby village of Romeoville and is owned by the Joliet Regional Port District.

Major highways[]

Major highways in Joliet include:

Interstate Highways
I-55.svg Interstate 55
I-80.svg Interstate 80

US Highways
US 66 (historic).svg US 66
US 52.svg US 52
US 30.svg US 30
US 6.svg US 6

Illinois Highways
Illinois 7.svg Route 7
Illinois 53.svg Route 53
Illinois 59.svg Route 59

U.S. Route 66, IL Route 53, and the Illinois & Michigan Canal overlap in Joliet Illinois just south of Theodore Street.


Joliet currently has 2 hospitals within its city limits: Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center (also known as St. Joe's) on the west side and Silver Cross Hospital on the east side. These were the only two hospitals in the history of the existence of Will County until Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital opened in January 2008. In September 2008, Silver Cross Hospital broke ground for their replacement hospital in New Lenox. The new hospital opened on February 26, 2012 at its new site on Maple Road/U.S. Route 6 off of I-355.[26]


Joliet is home of the Diocese of Joliet, Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, and Auxiliary Bishop Joseph M. Siegel. Bishop J. Peter Sartain, former bishop of Joliet, was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as Archbishop of Seattle. Joliet holds a very large Catholic population, and many Catholic institutions, including Joliet Catholic Academy.

According to the official website for the city of Joliet:

Joliet's diverse faith community represents over 60 denominations and offers residents services at more than 150 churches, synagogues, and houses of worship. Along with their spiritual offerings, these houses of worship enrich the Joliet area by providing some of the area's finest examples of Romanesque, Gothic, Byzantine, and Renaissance architecture. The spiritual community in Joliet welcomes newcomers with open arms, offering regular worship services and religious education.[27]

Popular Culture[]

In the 1973 Academy Award-winning film The Sting, the protagonist Johnny Hooker is from Joliet, and the film's story begins there.[28]

In The Blues Brothers, John Belushi's Jake Blues is nicknamed "Joliet Jake" as he was imprisoned at the now closed Joliet Correctional Center.

The Joliet Prison has been a site for many other films and television shows, such as the film 'Let's Go to Prison, and the opening season of Fox's Prison Break was filmed predominately at the Joliet Prison, at which time part of the prison was still in use.

Joliet is portrayed in the television series Supernatural in the Season 2 episode "What Is and What Should Never Be" when the main characters stay at the fictional Joliet Motel.

See also[]

  • List of cities in Illinois
  • List of Midwestern cities by size
  • List of towns and cities with 100,000 or more inhabitants/cityname: J
  • List of towns and cities with 100,000 or more inhabitants/country: T-U-V-W
  • List of United States cities by population
  • List of U.S. states' largest cities by population


  1. ^ a b "Draft Consolidated Plan 2010". City of Joliet. November 5, 2009. pp. 9, 35. Retrieved March 2, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b USGS GNIS: City of Joliet
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ a b Grossman, James R.; Keating, Ann Durkin; Reiff, Janice L. (2005) [2004]. Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago (Online ed.). Chicago: Chicago Historical Society, Newberry Library. p. 676. ISBN 0-226-31015-9. OCLC 60342627. 
  5. ^ "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files for Places – Illinois". United States Census. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  6. ^ "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2013-02-11. 
  7. ^ a b "Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places Over 50,000, Ranked by July 1, 2011 Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011". 2011 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2012-11-28. Retrieved 2012-11-28. 
  8. ^ Joliet (city) QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2013-08-17.
  9. ^ "Unemployment Rate in Chicago-Naperville-Joliet". FRED Economic Data. Federal Reserve Bank of St.Louis. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  10. ^ City of Joliet CAFR
  11. ^ Joliet is one of the characters on ‘Prison Break’ - today > entertainment - today > entertainment > tv - (2005-11-09). Retrieved on 2013-08-17.
  12. ^ 'Blues Brothers' movie showing Friday at Joliet's old Stateville Prison | (2010-08-13). Retrieved on 2013-08-17.
  13. ^ Dairy Queen. Dairy Queen. Retrieved on 2013-08-17.
  14. ^ Filming Locations of Chicago and Los Angeles: Stir Of Echoes. Retrieved on 2013-08-17.
  15. ^ Illinois Casino Map. Retrieved on 2013-08-17.
  16. ^ Louis Joliet Mall. Retrieved on 2013-08-17.
  17. ^ >
  18. ^ UUCJ 175th Anniversary. Retrieved on 2013-08-17.
  19. ^ Joliet American Legion Band - Home. (2012-07-21). Retrieved on 2013-08-17.
  20. ^ Records & History. Retrieved on 2013-08-17.
  21. ^ Frontier League Professional Baseball. Retrieved on 2013-08-17.
  22. ^ Midwest Alternative Fuel Vehicle Expo
  23. ^ "Illinois Youth Center Joliet." Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. Retrieved on October 27, 2012.
  24. ^ 2010 CENSUS – CENSUS BLOCK MAP: Crest Hill city, IL." (Archive) U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on October 27, 2012.
  25. ^ "Stateville Correctional Center." Illinois Department of Corrections. Retrieved on October 27, 2012. "Business Mail: 16830 So. Broadway St. P.O. Box 112 Joliet, IL 60434 "
  26. ^ Chicago Sun-Times. June 16, 2012. 
  27. ^ "City of Joliet: For Residents-Worship". 
  28. ^

External links[]

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