“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
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Historical Markers and War Memorials in Joliet, Illinois

Clickable Map of Will County, Illinois and Immediately Adjacent Jurisdictions image/svg+xml 2019-10-06 U.S. Census Bureau, Abe.suleiman; Lokal_Profil;; J.J.Prats/dc:title> Will County, IL (142) Cook County, IL (773) DuPage County, IL (37) Grundy County, IL (18) Kankakee County, IL (16) Kendall County, IL (5) Lake County, IN (71)  WillCounty(142) Will County (142)  CookCounty(773) Cook County (773)  DuPageCounty(37) DuPage County (37)  GrundyCounty(18) Grundy County (18)  KankakeeCounty(16) Kankakee County (16)  KendallCounty(5) Kendall County (5)  LakeCountyIndiana(71) Lake County (71)
Joliet is the county seat for Will County
Joliet is in Will County
      Will County (142)  
      Cook County (773)  
      DuPage County (37)  
      Grundy County (18)  
      Kankakee County (16)  
      Kendall County (5)  
      Lake County, Indiana (71)  
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1 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — "A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand"Abraham Lincoln — Joliet, Illinois, October 8, 1856 —
“I believe the government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall, but I do expect it will cease to be divided… Our cause then, must be entrusted to… Those . . . Map (db m170400) HM
2 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — "Bluff Street"
The National Hotel erected in 1837 was for many years Joliet's finest hotel. Both Lincoln and Van Buren were guests. Charles Reed built the first log house in Joliet on this site. This corner was a division point in the old Sac and Fox . . . Map (db m157254) HM
3 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — "Frannie"
This fountain is affectionately named "Frannie" in appreciation of the inspiration provided by Frances Jacksa Schultz. Fran is the wife of Mayor Arthur Schultz and conceived the idea for a fountain in the park that would be visible from the park, . . . Map (db m157164) HM
4 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — CC,2 — A Corridor in Time: The Illinois and Michigan Canal
This series of four murals based on historical photographs commemorates the Joliet region's symbiotic relationship to the Des Plaines River and the Illinois and Michigan Canal. In 1673 French-Canadian voyageur Louis Joliet, the city's namesake, was . . . Map (db m157429) HM
5 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — After the Whistle Blows
Leisure Time With what little spare time workers had, they took advantage of local social activities in Joliet. Churches, parks, and saloons were plentiful. Theaters were affordable entertainment. Five cents bought your ticket to popular . . . Map (db m158109) HM
6 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — American House Hotel
The old "American House" hotel, where pioneers boarded while they built their homes, was at this site. Later, Frank Bush built this large stone block here. It housed the old Chicago House Saloon, Cobb's Jewelry, Dr. F.X. Woerndle, Firman Mack's Shoe . . . Map (db m157282) HM
7 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Auditorium Building
Originally a Unitarian Church with unique street level commercial space, the structure was designed by Joliet architect G. Julian Barnes. The Richardsonian Romanesque style structure was built in 1891 with local Joliet Limestone accented with . . . Map (db m157969) HM
8 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Bicentennial Park
To commemorate our nation's 200th birthday in 1976 the volunteer Will-Joliet Bicentennial Park, Inc. built Bicentennial Park with its theatre and bandshell on historic Bluff Street. It was then given to the City of Joliet. In 1987 to celebrate . . . Map (db m157281) HM
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9 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Bridges in Joliet
In 1832, when our first settlers arrived, the Deep Waterway at this site was a small river full of islands. They crossed it "by ford or makeshift ferry". In 1837 the village issued $3000 in script to build two bridges. After the bridges washed down . . . Map (db m157168) HM
10 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Businesses on Bluff Street
From the 1860's into the 1900's the Herschberger families made carriages and wagons at this site. To the north there were many small shops; Sebastian Stephen made boots, Fred Beuttenmuller made guns, John Gersh had a meatmarket and Frank Kramer ran . . . Map (db m157503) HM
11 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Cass Street Bridge
Built 1932 by the State of IllinoisMap (db m198523) HM
12 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Civil War Memorial
Presented by the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Illinois, In honor of the Union Soldiers and Sailors of 1861-The Civil War-1865Map (db m158519) WM
13 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Demmond House
Here in 1834 Martin and Sophia Demmond built a one and one half story house using one room for his first store before moving into Joliet's first stone building which he constructed at Bluff and Jefferson. In 1836 Col. John Curry added to the house, . . . Map (db m157165) HM
14 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Des Plaines River
When Louis Jolliet and Father Marquette passed here in 1673, this was just a lazy little river. First known as the River Plain, the Des Plaines joined the I&M Canal (1848) 2 miles north of here. In 1900, because of the increased flowage from the . . . Map (db m157433) HM
15 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Edwin Porter's Brewery
In 1858 Edwin Porter made beer and ale here. By 1889 his brewery covered nearly two blocks. His 120 mules were stabled across the street. Large underground stone Bierkellers tunneled down the river. Pure artesian well water helped make the beer . . . Map (db m157269) HM
16 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Fehrenbacher Building
The commercial structure was built in 1900 as a passenger depot for the E.J. & E. Railway. The original structure included horizontal bands of unglazed Midland terra cotta trim around the windows. Tiny electric lamps provided definition of the . . . Map (db m157559) HM
17 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — First National Bank of Joliet
Built in 1909, the Neo-Classical Revival structure was designed by architects Mundie and Jensen and incorporates massive fluted columns and Corinthian capitals. Indiana Bedford limestone proved over time to be an ideal stone to accommodate the . . . Map (db m157974) HM
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18 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Forging a City of Steel
This is the Joliet Iron Works Historic Site. The iron works and the local limestone quarries were once the backbone of the Joliet area economy. These two industries gave the city of Joliet the nickname of the "The City of Steel and Stone." Today, . . . Map (db m158092) HM
19 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — From Prisons to LibrariesI&M Canal Passage
The peak years for limestone quarrying in Joliet were from 1850-1900. By 1900 quarries shifted production to crushed stone, and in 1917 Illinois produced more of this product than any other state. The last building constructed of Joliet stone was . . . Map (db m157412) HM
20 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — George Kiser, Iron Works laborerI&M Canal Passage
George Kiser, an African-American, moved to Joliet from Missouri in the early 1900s. A laborer at the Joliet Iron Works, he worked in noisy, hot and dangerous conditions. The mill employed workers from all over the world - migrants from the south . . . Map (db m158086) HM
21 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — German Loan & Savings Bank
Martin Westphal and Sebastian Lagger started their banking business on Bluff Street in 1868. In 1875 they constructed the German Loan & Sabings Bank on this site. The stone and brick structure was 22' x 60'. The vault was sunk in solid . . . Map (db m157437) HM
22 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — CC,22 — Hickory Creek in the 1830's
This mural portrays the early mills of Joliet along Hickory Creek. Images of the original Red Mill and the Cagwin Saw Mill, as well as the old Richards Street stone bridge, are combined with serene scenes portraying the Hickory Creek area. Pioneers . . . Map (db m167382) HM
23 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — High Risks & Hard Work
Here at the Joliet Iron Works, high-risk jobs required the most manual labor and paid the lowest wage. Men dumped materials into the top of 70-foot tall blast furnaces. Escaping gases could suffocate the workers, causing falls to the ground or . . . Map (db m158096) HM
24 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Illinois Sesquicentennial Time Capsule
Behind this plaque is a 16 x 12 x 13 inch copper box which was filled by the Will County Committee of the Illinois Sesquicentennial Celebration (1968). This is to be opened in one hundred years. Beside the plaque is the cornerstone of Will . . . Map (db m158522) HM
25 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Jackson Street Bridge
Built 1932 by the State of Illinois and the City of JolietMap (db m198512) HM
26 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — James McKee's Mill and Dam
James McKee's mill and dam operated here from 1834 until the Illinois & Michigan Canal was built in 1848. The locktender's house was on an island between the canal and the river. Stores on both sides sold food and drink to passengers as boats went . . . Map (db m157167) HM
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27 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Jefferson Street Bridge
Built 1932 by the State of IllinoisMap (db m198526) HM
28 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Joliet BuildingsI&M Canal Passage
Joliet's first stone building went up in 1834-5, and the city's business district quickly grew up around it. Joliet's downtown eventually shifted from Bluff Street to the east side of the river, where many limestone structures give evidence to the . . . Map (db m157416) HM
29 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Joliet Lift Bridges
Outside of Chicago, Jollet has the largest number of operable lift bridges in the Midwest. The six bridges, built circa 1930, represent three of only four design styles of lift bridges made in the world. The black railroad bridge is a vertical . . . Map (db m198528) HM
30 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Joliet Public Library
Built in 1903, the building was designed in the French Beaux Arts style by Daniel H. Burnham Co., the famous Chicago architect. For many years, Joliet City offices were located in this structure. The 1991 library addition tripled the size of the . . . Map (db m157563) HM
31 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Joliet Stagecoach Road
Dr. John Temple started stagecoach routes in 1834. Joliet was on one of the heaviest traveled lines west of Chicago. It ran along here between the bluffs and the river. Rest stops were here and at the famous Old Virginia Tavern. In this area . . . Map (db m157436) HM
32 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — CC,23 — Joliet Steam Train
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 . . . Map (db m167381) HM
33 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Joliet, IllinoisWelcome to Route 66 Illinois
(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, . . . Map (db m158450) HM
34 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Joliet/Juliet's First Log Cabin
Joliet/Juliet's first log cabin was built by Charles & Chloe Reed 1832-33. Other historic date of site is on plaque saved from 1958 fire of National Hotel and Adler's Market and replaced during Juliet's 150th birthday.Map (db m157261) HM
35 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Joliet's Business Center
For many years this area of Bluff & Exchange (Jefferson) was Joliet's business center. On the NW corner pioneers traded at T.P. Dunham Hardware (later Barrett's), Clement Mercantile, Wilcox Drygoods, and W.A. Strong Hardware. Charles Clement, who . . . Map (db m157285) HM
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36 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Joliet's First Sidewalks
Joliet's first sidewalks were of stone or wood. Stone from these bluffs was cut and laid on both sides of Bluff Street which was then 5' wider. Rev. J.H. Prentiss, organizer of the Presbyterian congregation, made his first home nestled here under . . . Map (db m157194) HM
37 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Joliet's First Stone Building
Joliet's first stone building was constructed on this site by Martin Demmond. In 1834 he quarried limestone from these bluffs for a three story building comprised of stores, offices and ballroom. Completed in 1835 the convention to nominate Will . . . Map (db m157284) HM
38 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Joliet's First Volunteer Fire Department
Juliet/Joliet's first fire and police by-laws and rules were made in the village's first adopted charter in 1837. The first volunteer fire department was started at this site.Map (db m157487) HM
39 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Joliet's Oldest Remaining Construction
This is the oldest remaining construction in Joliet. It was the underground storage area behind Merchants Row's store #6 (1837). It was at this site in the 1850's that John D. Paige became the first to bottle flavored water under pressure, thus . . . Map (db m157490) HM
40 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — CC,27 — Katherine Dunham: Pioneer in African Dance
This sculpture of cold cast bronze depicts Katherine Dunham, a Joliet native and among the most influential figures in 20th-century art. She was a dancer, actor, choreographer, anthropologist, author and activist who raised African/Caribbean dance . . . Map (db m167376) HM
41 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Language Barriers
Double the Risk Less than half the iron plant workforce spoke English. Immigrants who did not speak English well were twice as likely to be injured or killed on the job. And with many people looking for work, it was easy to replace . . . Map (db m158108) HM
42 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Lester Frank Ward / FossilsStories in Stone — I&M Canal Passage —
(Lester Frank Ward panel:) The American Aristotle The last of ten children, Lester Frank Ward (1841-1913) was born in Joliet, at Joliet and Benton streets. His father owned a quarry at what is now the site of the Illinois State . . . Map (db m157403) HM
43 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Level 1: Louis Joliet
Louis Joliet was a French-Canadian explorer who, along with Father Jacques Marquette, led an expedition to discover the extent of the Mississippi River in 1673. They discovered Mount Jolliet situated on the Illinois River in August of that same year.Map (db m158461) HM
44 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Level 2: Jacques Marquette
Born in Laon, France, Father Jacques Marquette arrived in Canada as a Jesuit missionary in 1666. He spent six years living with Ottawa Native Americans before setting out on his exploration of the Mississippi River, including a journey up the . . . Map (db m158459) HM
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45 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Level 3: Charles Reed
A pioneer settler in Will County, Charles Reed staked the first claim to canal lands in Joliet in the fall of 1832, building a log cabin and grist mill at the present site of the Joliet Veteran's Memorial located at the southeast corner of Jefferson . . . Map (db m158458) HM
46 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Level 4: J.D. Paige
John D. Paige moved to Joliet in 1857 and quickly became established as an inventor and pioneer in the bottling of carbonated, flavored water, the precursor of today's soda pop. J.D. Paige soon expanded his business pursuits, becoming one of . . . Map (db m158457) HM
47 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Level 5: Frederich Bartleson Reported unreadable
Frederich Bartleson was elected district attorney shortly after moving to Joliet in 1855. Mr. Bartleson later became the first Will County resident to volunteer for military service in the Civil War. Colonel Bartleson lost an arm in battle, was held . . . Map (db m158463) HM
48 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Louis Joliet Renaissance Center
Designed by Daniel Burnham and built in 1924, the stucco sculpture was a result of a design competition sponsored by the Joliet Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber headquarters employed a Spanish Renaissance motif, including an open-air atrium in the . . . Map (db m157569) HM
49 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Market in Joliet
In the 1870's at this site Cleghorn and Mack sold harnesses and saddles, John Gorges made boots and shoes, Patrick Fant sold groceries and crockery, John Dames sold furniture and crockery and Joseph Walker sold toys and notions.Map (db m157193) HM
50 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — McDonough Street Bridge
Built 1933 by the State of IllinoisMap (db m198529) HM
51 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Men of Steel
Jobs Drew Workers from Afar The 1880s was a time of plenty. Jobs opened up for local residents as the economy recovered from the Chicago fire and a national depression. Creating iron and steel takes skilled machinists, laborers and . . . Map (db m158089) HM
52 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Merchant's Row
Joliet's third stone building, "Merchant's Row," (1837) was 120 ft. long and 3 stories high. First floor had 6 stores: Allen General Mdse, Blair Tinsmith, Harrington Meat Market, Chatfield & Fassett Grain Dealers, Boardman's "Cheapstore," and Dr. . . . Map (db m157489) HM
53 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Morris Building
[two plaques, on different corners of the building but close to each other:] (plaque on front of building:) Built in 1910, the Morris Building was one of the most prominent buildings in the area. The seven story Neo-Gothic . . . Map (db m158765) HM
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54 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Murray Building
The structure was built in 1886 as a mixed-use building with main level commercial and upper level apartments. Renovations returned the structure to its original use. Building design features local dolomite limestone details at the windowsills and . . . Map (db m157967) HM
55 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Natividad GuiterrezJoliet Bicycle Route — I&M Canal Passage —
(left panel:) Natividad Guiterrez, 1900-1978 In 1919, Natividad Guiterrez arrived in Joliet with his wife and grandmother. Like other Mexicans, he came here for work and found a job driving spikes on the EJE Railroad. The . . . Map (db m157278) HM
56 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Old Sauk Indian Trail
This was a branch of the Old Sac (Sauk) Indian Trail that came from Fort Malden in Canada through Michigan, forked east of Joliet near Oakwood Cemetery, crossed the river between Joliet and Lockport and went on down the DesPlaines Valley.Map (db m157502) HM
57 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Oneida Street Steps
After our pioneers lived and made their fortunes on Bluff Street, many built substantial homes on Broadway or Cross (Western Ave.). These Oneida Street steps, built to aid their climb up the steep hill, were originally of stone from the bluffs. They . . . Map (db m157432) HM
58 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Original Dairy Queen Store
On this site and in this building, erected ca. 1895, the world's first Dairy Queen store opened on June 22, 1940. Soft serve ice cream was unknown before its inception in Kankakee, Illinois in 1938 by John Fremont "Grandpa" McCullough . . . Map (db m157062) HM
59 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Post Office Plaza
This sandstone, Neo-Classical style structure was built in 1903. The building, distinguished by massive ionic columns, was designed by architect James Knox Taylor as Joliet's main post office. The structure is listed on the National Register of . . . Map (db m157970) HM
60 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Prairie Band of Potawatomi
The last Native Americans in this area were of the Prairie Band of Potawatomi. In early years they fought on the side of French and British. In later years, under Chief Shabonna, they were friends to our settlers. In 1833 they signed a treaty giving . . . Map (db m157286) HM
61 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Public Service Building
The Art Deco style structure was designed by architect H.V. Van Hoist, and built in 1930. The building exterior is Bedford limestone with a granite base. The Art Deco style is exemplified in the building massing and the cut decorative tiles visible . . . Map (db m157568) HM
62 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Quarries Are UsI&M Canal Passage
While many know of Joliet as the City of Steel, the foundation of Joliet's industrial heritage rests on solid limestone. Long before the steel industry came to epitomize Joliet's blue-collar character, the quarrying of limestone formed the early . . . Map (db m157420) HM
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63 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Quarry Workers / Joliet StoneStories in Stone — I&M Canal Passage —
(Marker consists of two 2-sided posts:) (first post, left panel:) This project was partially funded with a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, Bureau of Tourism. Thanks also to the City of . . . Map (db m157424) HM
64 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Rialto Square Theatre
The Rubens Brothers created the Rialto Square Theatre as a magnificent vaudeville movie palace in 1926. One of the ten most beautiful theaters in the nation, the "Jewel of Joliet" was designed by prominent theatre architects C.W. and George Rapp and . . . Map (db m69925) HM
65 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Route 66 ParkJoliet 66 Roadsice Attraction
Stop by to grab an ice cream treat and stroll through the park for many great photo opportunities. The Rich and Creamy Ice Cream stand is the highlight of Route 66 Park, having served travelers for years. Be sure to look up and see Jake & Elwood . . . Map (db m157508) HM
66 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Route 66 Visitors CenterJoliet 66 Roadside Attraction
A clearinghouse for information as you travel down the Mother Road, the Route 66 Experience has information on Route 66, Lincoln Highway and all of Joliet! Visit the Free Route 66 Experience with interactive features to entertain for hours! A key . . . Map (db m157506) HM
67 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Ruby Street Bridge
Built 1935–by the State of IllinoisMap (db m198511) HM
68 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Samuel Benedict Reed
On this spot in 1850 Samuel Benedict Reed Civil Engineer : Pioneer Railroad Builder : Citizen of Joliet Began the survey for the present Chicago Rock Island and Pacific the first railroad to reach and bridge the Mississippi River. . . . Map (db m158763) HM
69 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — CC-21 — Sauk Trail
This mural depicts various aspects of the Joliet area's Native American heritage. Prominently featuring a map of the Great Sauk (or Sak) Trail, which many tribes used to traverse Will County, it also shows a Potawatomi child, examples of how Indians . . . Map (db m158767) HM
70 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Site of Joliet — Plainfield Plank Road Toll GateBuilt about 1850
Site of Joliet — Plainfield Plank Road Toll Gate Built about 1850 Erected by Will County Centennial Committee 1936Map (db m170398) HM
71 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — St. Louis Store
Here in 1836 our first tinner William Blair set up shop in a low wooden block building. In 1844 R.S. Higgins sold dry goods in his "St. Louis Store." Then in 1865 Ferdinand Zerkle, followed by-Henry Smith and George Nape in the 1890's, operated a . . . Map (db m157197) HM
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72 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — The Marx BrothersJoliet Bicycle Route — I&M Canal Passage —
(left panel:) A people palace In the 1920s, the six Rubens brothers began plans for the Rialto Theatre. It was to be a "Palace for the people." Joliet was at the peak of its industrial might when the theater opened in 1926. A . . . Map (db m157510) HM
73 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Union Station
Built in 1912 by the Adam Groth Co., Union Station was designed by architect Jarvis Hunt. The Bedford limestone station, which cost $250,000 to construct, accompanied the elevation of the rail lines in Joliet City Center, a project that gained . . . Map (db m231108) HM
74 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — What's Cooking?
How many workers does it take to make iron & steel? At its peak, about 3,000 workers transformed minerals into one of the world's strongest materials. These workers all had a hand in the industrial kitchen. Recipe Raw Materials Iron . . . Map (db m158105) HM
75 Illinois, Will County, Joliet — Will County Courthouse
The reinforced concrete structure was built in 1968 and features first floor 48 degree buttresses which support the larger upper floors. The originally controversial design by architect J.C. Cochrane is at the site of three previous Will County . . . Map (db m157973) HM
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Apr. 20, 2024