Joliet - An Ideal Place to Settle
First settled as a town in 1834, Joliet originally bore the name Juliet. 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 in his play, Romeo and Juliet (the nearby village of Romeoville was named as a companion Romeo) 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 Joliet's exploration of the area placed a large hill or mound on what is now the south west 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. 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.
The famous Joliet Prison (now closed) is near downtown on Collins Street and is featured in the hit television show Prison Break. It was also used for the opening scenes in the popular 1980 movie, The Blues Brothers.
The Joliet Arsenal (now the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery and Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie) is in nearby Elwood.
The Rialto Square Theatre, a favorite haunt of Al Capone and filming location for scenes from Kevin Bacon's film "Stir of Echos", is on Chicago Street in downtown. There are also many stores, restaurants, and shops, including the Westfield Louis Joliet mall located on Rt.30.
Joliet also has it own museum celebrating the themes and experiences of the people who settled the Joliet area, including a Route 66 Welcome Center, exhibit gallery, discovery room, gift shop, café and auditorium.
As you can see, in addition to being a great place to live, Joliet is also a great place to play. Millions of people visit Joliet each year to check out our Route 66 Raceway, our beautiful baseball stadium, and our water park.
City of Joliet, IL