Joliet, Illinois

Joliet, Illinois

Chicagoland municipality
muni-name= Joliet
muni = City
date = 1837
state = Illinois
county = Will

tcounty = Will
tcounty2 = Will
tcounty3 = Will
township = Joliet
township2 = Plainfield
township3 = Troy
township4 = New Lenox
township5 = Jackson
township6 = Channahon
township7 = Lockport
township8 = Na-Au-Say
township9 = Seward
gov = Council-manager
head_label = President
gov_head = Arthur Schultz
pop = 106,221 145,800 (2007)| status = up
percent = 38.24
prevyear = 1990
density-km = 411.7
density-mi = 1,066.4
white = 69.3
black = 18.2
hispanic = 18.4
asian = 1.1
islander = 0.0
native = 0.0
other = 9.0
zips = 60431, 60432, 60433, 60434, 60435, 60436
acode = 815
area-km = 99.3
area-mi = 38.3
pci = 19,390
geocode = 38570
mhi = 47,761
mnhv = 116,600
mhv = 125,645 (2000)
website =

Joliet is a city in Will county in the U.S. state of Illinois, located 40 miles southwest of Chicago. It is the county seat of Will County.GR|6 As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 106,221. Its estimated population in 2007 was 145,800. It continues to be Illinois' fastest growing city and one of the fastest growing in the United States.


Joliet was first settled as a town in 1834 and originally bore the name Juliet. [ [ Joliet, IL] , Encyclopedia of Chicago, 2005, Accessed August 4, 2007.] Some historians believe the town was named Juliet in honor of settler James B. Campbell's daughter. Other possible sources of the name include the Shakespearean character (the nearby village of Romeoville was named as a companion; see "Romeo and Juliet") or a corruption of the name of French Canadian explorer Louis Jolliet, who visited the area in 1673. The name was eventually changed to Joliet in his memory in 1845, and the city was incorporated in 1852.

Maps from Jolliet's exploration of the area placed a large hill or mound on what is now the southwest corner of the city. That hill was named Mound Jolliet, and was made up entirely of clay. The spot was mined by early settlers and is now a depression. That depression was settled soon after and became known as the town of Rockdale.

Like many Midwestern cities dependent on manufacturing industries, Joliet has experienced past economic troubles, with the unemployment rate reaching as high as 25% in the early 1980s. Joliet's proximity to the Chicago metropolitan area has provided some relief; 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. The main attractions in Joliet's City Center are the Harrah's Casino and Hotel, Joliet Jackhammers baseball (Silver Cross Field), and the Rialto Square Theatre, the 'Jewel of Joliet', which has been called one of the world's 10 most beautiful theatres. The 1999 film "Stir of Echoes" starring Kevin Bacon had scenes shot on location in Joliet at both the Rialto Theatre (the hypnotism scenes in which Bacon saw the word "Dig" on the movie screen) and at the corner of Western Avenue and Center Street (sequences showing the front of Kevin Bacon's house). Even though the movie was set in Chicago, the location in Joliet had the right "south side" appearance and was an easier location to shoot than the large urban setting of Chicago.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 38.3 square miles (99.3 km²), of which, 38.1 square miles (98.6 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.8 km²) of it (0.76%) is water. 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 downtown located on the river. On each side of the river there are steep, high bluffs. 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 go into the river valley. This offers a great view looking north to see downtown Joliet.

Major Highways

*U.S. 30
*U.S. 52
*U.S. 6


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 106,221 people, 36,182 households, and 25,399 families residing in the city. (More recent special census (2007) data puts the population number at 145,800 according to city officials.) The population density was 2,790.9 people per square mile (1,077.6/km²). There were 38,176 housing units at an average density of 1,003.1/sq mi (387.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 69.32% White, 18.16% African American, 0.28% Native American, 1.14% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 8.97% from other races, and 2.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 18.41% of the population.

There were 36,182 households out of which 38.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.9% were married couples living together, 13.3% 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 10.0% 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 3.39.

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.

A special census conducted in 2006 pegged the city's population at a certified 142,700. Joliet is currently the fastest-growing city in the Midwest and the 12th-fastest-growing city in the United States among cities with more than 100,000 people. [ [ Population Estimates for the 25 Fastest Growing U.S. Cities with Populations over 100,000 in 2006] (PDF), US Census Bureau, June 28, 2007, Accessed August 4, 2007.]


Situated approximately 40 miles 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 Elgin, Joliet, and Eastern (EJ&E) railroad came through in the 1850s, and the Santa Fe line soon followed. 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. Also, 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 La Salle Street Station.


Among local landmarks are the Joliet Area Historical Museum and Route 66 Visitors Center.

The famous Joliet Prison (now closed) is near downtown on Collins Street and is featured in the television show "Prison Break". It was also used for the opening scenes in the popular 1980 movie, "The Blues Brothers" (which starred John Belushi as "Joliet Jake"). The Joliet Arsenal (now the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery and Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie) is in nearby Elwood. Stateville Correctional Center, the principal prison for the state of Illinois, is located in the neighboring city of Crest Hill. 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. There are two riverboat casinos in Joliet: the Empress Casino near Channahon and Rockdale, and a Harrah's hotel and casino downtown. (There are also many restaurants and shops, including the Westfield Louis Joliet mall located on Rt. 30 at the intersection of I-55.)

Located at the northeast corner of Chicago and Clinton Streets, in downtown Joliet, is the historic Auditorium Building. 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.

Colleges and universities

* Joliet Junior College, the nation's first public community college
* University of Saint Francis

High schools

* [ Joliet Township High Schools]
*Joliet Central High School
*Joliet East High School (closed, now Joliet Job Corps)
*Joliet West High School
*Joliet Catholic Academy
*Plainfield South High School
*Plainfield Central High School


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. [cite web|url=|title=City of Joliet: For Residents-Worship]



One of Joliet's nicknames is the "City of Champions." This nickname stems from the numerous state and national titles won by the Joliet Township High School and grade school bands over several decades.

(JCA), each of which has sports programs.

Joliet also is home to the minor league baseball team the Joliet JackHammers of the Northern Independent League.

Chicagoland Speedway is in Joliet, hosting annual events from NASCAR and the Indy Racing League. During major races, the population of the city more than doubles due to the large influx of fans. Next door to Chicagoland Speedway, Route 66 Motor Speedway features National Hot Rod Association events on its drag-strip. Joliet Central has become actively involved in Route 66 by building an [ Alternative Fuel Source Vehicle] .

Notable natives and/or residents

* Charlie Adams, drummer (Chameleon, Yanni), ASA Spokesman
* Mike Alstott, NFL football player
* Ann Bannon, lesbian pulp fiction writer
* Jesse Barfield, major league baseball player
* John Barrowman, actor/singer
* Nora Bayes, singer
* John Beck, actor
* Matt Becker, actor ("Law & Order")
* Kevin Cameron, Major League Baseball pitcher for the San Diego Padres
* Jodi Carlisle, actress
* Jimmy Chamberlin, rock drummer (Smashing Pumpkins)
* Tyler Christopher, actor ("General Hospital")
* Francis Curry, Capone Era Mobster
* Adrianne Curry, model/reality TV star
* Lois Delander, Miss America 1927
* Andy Dick, actor/comedian
* Janina Gavankar, actor/singer
* Mark Grant, Major League Baseball pitcher
* Larry Gura, Major League Baseball pitcher
* Kathryn Hays, actress
* Height of Roman Fashion, rock band that recorded the theme song for "Inked"
* John Houbolt, NASA engineer; lunar orbit rendezvous proponent and LEM designer.
* Lawrence Jenco, hostage, writer
* Morton M. Kondracke, political commentator and journalist
* Mercedes McCambridge, Oscar-winning actress ("All the King's Men")
* Victor Mata, Grammy award winning guitarist
* George Mikan, Hall of Fame basketball player (on NBA's All-Time Greatest list)
* Don Murray, jazz clarinetist
* Ann Nesby, Grammy award-winning vocalist, Sounds of Blackness Gospel ensemble
* Robert Novak, conservative columnist
* Larry Parks, actor
* Eric Parker, NFL Football Player
* Frank Perconte, paratrooper who served with Easy Company
* Roger Powell, basketball player (Utah Jazz)
* Allie Quigley, WNBA basketball player, Phoenix, Mercury
* Adam Rapp, novelist and playwright
* Anthony Rapp, actor
* Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, author
* Lionel Richie, Grammy award-winning singer
* Daniel Ruettiger, Notre Dame football player, motivational speaker, subject of the movie "Rudy".
* Tamara Siuda, founder of Kemetic Orthodoxy, a religion under the name House of Netjer
* Ed and Scott Spiezio, Major League Baseball players, father and son
* Ken Strickland, NBC News White House producer, Peabody Award winner
* Bill Sudakis, Major League Baseball player
* Tom Thayer, NFL football player
* Lynne Thigpen, Tony award winning actress
* Audrey Totter, actress
* Alando Tucker, NBA basketball player, Phoenix Suns
* Vince Vieluf, actor
* Elisabeth Withers-Mendes, Broadway actress starring in the musical "The Color Purple", 2005 Tony award nominee, recording artist
* Molly Zelko, Muckraking Journalist


Toni Kurbis- playboy model

External links

* [ Joliet official website]
* [ Learn about the historic movable bridges of Joliet.]

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