“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Joliet in Will County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Joliet, Illinois

Welcome to Route 66 Illinois

Joliet, Illinois Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, September 30, 2020
1. Joliet, Illinois Marker
Front side (all Illinois Route 66 Experience Hubs have the same front)


Route 66, the Mother Road, is an American icon that symbolizes romance and freedom of the open road. Born in 1926, Route 66 was one of the first numbered U.S. highways, journeying 2,500 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles. Today, you can still "get your kicks on Route 66" by exploring the Illinois Historic Route 66 National Scenic Byway.

The Mother Road

Route 66 was the road of flight for people escaping the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. It was the route of adventure for families seeking the wonders of the Southwest and California in the 1950s and '60s.

Roadside Oddities

Quirky attractions lured travelers off the road with the promise of fun and adventure. Explore giants, museums, and other attractions that still exist today.

Fill 'er Up?

Service stations along Route 66 did more than just pump gas. Friendly attendants assisted travelers with a smile. Today, you can rediscover several historic service stations.

On to Missouri

The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge is the scenic endpoint of Route 66 in Illinois.
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It served as a crossing over the Mississippi River for traffic from 1936 to 1955. It is now open for walking and biking.

The Beginning

Historic Route 66 starts in downtown Chicago, the business and cultural capital of the Midwest. It travels through bustling Chicago suburbs before reaching the rural countryside.

Main Street of America

Grain elevators and fields greet modern travelers, much as they did in earlier eras. Journey through prairie farmland and friendly Midwestern towns.

Good Eatin'

Diners and cafes sprang up along the road catering to people on the move. You can still enjoy home style cooking from a time before fast food.

Route 66 Lives On

Unable to compete with fast-moving freeways, U.S. Route 66 was decommissioned in 1985. Nostalgia for hometowns and America's landscape, fueled by movies, TV shows, and music, keeps the Mother Road alive.

(reverse, top panel:)

Route 66 Attractions in the Joliet Region

Joliet Kicks on 66 Walking & Driving Tours

Pick up a tour brochure at the Historical Museum across the street and explore Joliet! Murals, sculptures, parks, and vintage gas pumps line historic Route 66.

1) Route 66 Park - Take a stroll on a pathway that overlooks Old Joliet
Joliet, Illinois Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, September 30, 2020
2. Joliet, Illinois Marker
Reverse side
Prison and enjoy a cone at the Rich & Creamy.

2) Old Joliet Prison Park - Built in 1858, this ornate prison has been featured in many movies and TV shows.

3) Joliet Iron Works - Known as the City of Steel and Stone, discover the history of iron making in Joliet on this path.

4) First Dairy Queen - The first Dairy Queen in the country opened here in 1940, and was closed by 1956. The century-old two-story brick building still stands.

5) Route 66 Experience at the Joliet Area Historical Museum - Just across the street, this is a "must see" stop for Route 66 travelers. Hands-on exhibits immerse you in the sounds and sights of the era.

6) Rialto Square Theatre - Open in 1926, the same year that Route 66 was designated, this elaborate theater still offers shows.

7) The Children's Garden - A community garden with many nooks and mazes for the young and young at heart to explore.

8) Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery - On the grounds of the former Joliet Army Ammunition Plant, this cemetery was dedicated in 1999.

(reverse, bottom panel:)

America's Crossroads - Route 66 in Joliet

Joliet is a crossroads of Route 66 and the Lincoln Highway, the first road to span the U.S. from coast to coast.
Perched on the Des Plaines River, Joliet is
Joliet, Illinois Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, September 30, 2020
3. Joliet, Illinois Marker
Renaissance Center and Joliet Historical Museum are in the background
a bustling hub where railroads, highways, and canals converge. The community drew people of many cultures to toil in the quarries, iron works, and roadways that built America. Today, you can get your "Kicks on 66" by exploring many Route 66 attractions in town. The City of Steel…

The "City of Steel" title sprang from the construction of the Joliet steel mill in 1869. At one time the second largest mill in America, it closed in 1932. It is now a county historic site.

The City of Stone

Limestone quarries earned Joliet the nickname "City of Stone." In 1858 the state built Joliet Prison, partly because of available stone for walls and cell houses. The 1871 Chicago Fire increased stone demand in Chicago and by 1890 Joliet was shipping three thousand railroad cars each month.

The Blues Brothers

Joliet played a role in the 1980 movie classic The Blues Brothers, starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. The adventure begins when "Joliet" Jake is released from the Joliet Prison. He is picked up by his brother Elwood, who was named for a community just south of here.
Erected by Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial Sites
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Industry & CommerceParks & Recreational AreasRoads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the U.S. Route 66 series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1926.
Location. 41° 31.719′ N, 88° 4.992′ W. Marker is in Joliet, Illinois, in Will County. Marker is at the intersection of North Ottawa Street (Illinois Route 53) and Webster Street, on the right when traveling south on North Ottawa Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 215 N Ottawa St, Joliet IL 60432, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Route 66 Visitors Center (within shouting distance of this marker); Louis Joliet Renaissance Center (within shouting distance of this marker); Public Service Building (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Joliet Public Library (about 600 feet away); Murray Building (about 600 feet away); Fehrenbacher Building (about 600 feet away); Level 3: Charles Reed (about 800 feet away); The Marx Brothers (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Joliet.
More about this marker. This is one of 14 "experience hubs" (erected by Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway) that are all over Illinois along the old Route 66. All experience hub markers have the same front text, but have different reverse signs on the back. The top panel typically shows recommended Route 66 and local tourist stops, as well as maps of different Route 66 alignments. The bottom reverse panel usually has historical content, as well as a passport rubbing stamp. All experience hubs are nine feet tall, and have a button where people can listen to Bobby Troup's "Get Your Kicks on Route 66".
Credits. This page was last revised on October 22, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 22, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 249 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 22, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.

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May. 23, 2024