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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Joliet in Will County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Joliet Steam Train

 
 
Joliet Steam Train Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 30, 2020
1. Joliet Steam Train Marker
Inscription.  Railroads have played a key part in Joliet's economic development, labor history, and demographic composition. The construction, maintenance, and operation of the rails and trains provided jobs, and the railways hauled both raw materials and finished goods in and out of the city. They were also the main form of transportation during the 19th and much of the 20th centuries. Their cargo included European immigrants as well as African-American and Mexican-American migrants who formed the local industrial labor force.

The Chicago and Rock Island Railroad was the first rail line to serve Joliet. Iron rails were shipped to Joliet from Chicago in canal boats as track work progressed from both cities, and the first train steamed into Joliet in October 1852, four years after the Illinois and Michigan Canal was completed. By the next year, two trains were running daily between Joliet and Chicago, providing both passenger and freight service. Other regional and national lines that built tracks through the city were Chicago & Alton, Michigan Central, the Santa Fe, and the EJ&E. In 1978 METRA took over the main route between Joliet and Chicago.

This
Joliet Steam Train Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 30, 2020
2. Joliet Steam Train Marker
Marker is mounted next to murals (where the red arrow points)
set of 10 murals, painted along the viaduct west of Union Station, re-enacts the lives and activities of dozens of characters - waiting passengers, assorted vendors, entertainers and passers-by - gathered around a Rock Island steam train in the early part of the 20th century. The bustling depot scenes included two noted leaders, Eugene V. Debs and A. Philip Randolph, each of whom fought for better working conditions for railroad workers. Some of the figures are real-life Joliet residents, who posed for the artists in period costumes.

Lead artist: Kathleen Farrell, Kathleen Scarboro. Assistant artists: Javier Chavira, Dante DiBartolo, Sergio Gomez. Mural sponsored by the City of Joliet. Plaque sponsored by the Joliet/Will County Center for Economic Development Foundation. Copyright Friends of Community Public Art 1994
 
Erected by the Joliet/Will County Center for Economic Development Foundation. (Marker Number CC,23.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceRailroads & Streetcars.
 
Location. 41° 31.435′ N, 88° 4.805′ W. Marker is in Joliet, Illinois, in Will County. Marker can be reached from U.S. 6 south of East Jefferson Street (U.S. 30). Touch for map. Marker
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is at or near this postal address: 50 E Jefferson 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. Hickory Creek in the 1830's (here, next to this marker); Sauk Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); Katherine Dunham: Pioneer in African Dance (within shouting distance of this marker); Samuel Benedict Reed (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Morris Building (about 600 feet away); Civil War Memorial (about 600 feet away); Illinois Sesquicentennial Time Capsule (about 600 feet away); Will County Courthouse (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Joliet.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 23, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 23, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 45 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 23, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.
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Mar. 2, 2021