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Joliet Iron and Steel Works was once the second-largest steel mill in the United States.  Starting in 1869, the factory manufactured iron and steel products such as railroad rails, wire fencing, steel-framed buildings and wire fabrics for highway construction. These materials were crucial in the expansion of the U.S. railroad and highway systems. Additionally, the factory’s proximity to the Illinois and Michigan Canal fostered an important relationship between waterways and industrial development.  The canal enabled access to the Des Plaines River, allowing for industrial materials produced by the factory to be loaded on ships and delivered to a wide range of buyers along the river. By 1936, the Great Depression had put a strain on the iron industry, causing Joliet Iron Works to cease production. This left Joliet Steel Works to continue until all factory operations ended in the early 1980s. 
Since its closure, the factory site has been reclaimed by nature. The once tremendous blast furnaces used to smelt pig iron have collapsed, leaving only their foundations. Many buildings have eroded down to their bare structures, exposing limestone and red brick materials sourced from Joliet. The site has since been renamed the Joliet Iron Works Historic Site. The Illinois and Michigan Canal Trail provides access to these fascinating industrial ruins along with on-site amenities such as a self-guided interpretive tour and picnic area. 
At the corner of Chicago and Cass streets in downtown Joliet, Illinois, is a 7-foot marker commemorating two early highways that crossed the United...
Riding up Collins Street toward Sator Sanchez Elementary School, the signs call out to you in Spanish: “Carniceria Rio Grande,” “La Villita Party and...
Carbon Hill Historical Society has made its home in this 1893 Illinois schoolhouse, creating a museum dedicated to life in Grundy and Will counties...
The Great American Rail-Trail promises an all-new American experience. Through 12 states and the District of Columbia, the trail will directly serve nearly 50 million people within 50 miles of the route. Across the nation—and the world—only the limits of imagination will limit its use.Learn More
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