Introduction to Joliet, Illinois
Joliet is an Illinois city which lies about 45 miles from Chicago on the southwest edge of the Chicago metropolitan area. Situated on the banks of the Des Plaines River, Joliet is the county seat of Will County. The city is serviced by several major thoroughfares, including U.S. Routes 6 and 52, and Illinois State Highways 53 and 171. Interstates I-55 and I-80 run nearby, intersecting just west of the city limits. Joliet is home to Joliet Junior College, the oldest public community college in the nation.
Founded in 1673 by French-Canadian explorer Louis Joliet, the site of the present-day city of Joliet was not laid out as a town until 1834. At that time it bore the name Juliet (for reasons not apparently clear) and was part of Cook County until 1836, at which time it became the county seat of the newly-established Will County. In 1845 the community's name was changed to "Joliet", and in 1852 Joliet was incorporated as a city. In 1858 the state of Illinois established a new penitentiary in Joliet, largely due to the area's abundance of stone for prison walls and cells. By 1869 the "City of Stone" had transformed itself to the "City of Steel" concurrent with the construction of the Joliet steel mill, which along with the city's large labor force soon attracted other industries. Joliet's economy weathered a period of decline in the 1970s and 1980s but rebounded in the 1990s. Tourism became a prominent industry, aided by the establishment of riverboat casinos, and the infusion of new tax dollars fueled a revitalization of the downtown City Center.
Joliet Points of Interest
The Joliet area is replete with a wide range of arts and cultural venues as well as many parks and recreational facilities. The Joliet Historical Museum chronicles the experiences of the people who settled the Joliet area and includes a Route 66 Welcome Center. The Rialto Square Theatre, also known as the "Jewel of Joliet", has been called one of the world's ten most beautiful theatres. There are two riverboat casinos in Joliet: the Empress Casino, located on the Des Plaines River; and the Harrah’s Casino located in the downtown Joliet City Center. The Chicagoland Speedway is a state-of-the-art 75,000 seat, 1.5 mile superspeedway which hosts several NASCAR and Indy Racing League events during the year, and the Route 66 Raceway features concerts, motorsports, and more. The city's scenic Bicentennial Park, located along the Des Plaines River, includes an indoor theater as well as an outdoor bandshell in a park setting.
Joliet is home to a professional minor league baseball team. The Joliet Jackhammers are an independent team competing in the Northern League. The Jackhammer home stadium is Silver Cross Field, a 4,200-seat facility featuring luxury suites, a souvenir shop, a picnic area and a playground located inside the stadium. Less than an hour away is the city of Chicago, home to several major league teams spanning a wide variety of sports. The following teams call Chicago home:
- MLB (Major League Baseball): Cubs and White Sox
- NHL (National Hockey League): Blackhawks
- NBA (National Basketball Association): Bulls
- NFL (National Football League): Bears
- MLS (Major League Soccer): Fire
- AFL (Arena Football League): Rush
- WNBA (Women's National Basketball Association): Sky
- ABA (American Basketball Association): Rockstars
- MLL (Major League Lacrosse): Machine