Joliet is a city located in both Will and Kendall County, Illinois and is a suburb southwest of Chicago. It is the county seat of Will County6. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 106,221; a 2003 special census revealed the city's population to be 120,782.
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Joliet was first settled as a town in 1834 and 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 (the nearby village of Romeoville was named as a companion; see Romeo and Juliet) 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 incoporated in 1852.
Joliet is correctly pronounced as Joe-lee-ETTE, not Jolly-ETTE. City leaders, who considered hearing the Jolly-ETTE pronunciation one of their pet peeves, made pronouncing it as Jolly-ETTE a misdemeanor, punishable by a $500 fine.
Joliet is located at 41°31'59" North, 88°6'32" West (41.533030, -88.108933)1. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 99.3 km² (38.3 mi²). 98.6 km² (38.1 mi²) of it is land and 0.8 km² (0.3 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.76% water.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 106,221 people, 36,182 households, and 25,399 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,077.6/km² (2,790.9/mi²). There are 38,176 housing units at an average density of 387.3/km² (1,003.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 69.32% White, 18.16% African American, 0.28% Native American, 1.14% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 8.97% from other races, and 2.09% from two or more races. 18.41% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 36,182 households out of which 38.8% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.9% are married couples living together, 13.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 29.8% are non-families. 24.7% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.81 and the average family size is 3.39.
In the city the population is spread out with 29.5% under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 33.1% from 25 to 44, 16.3% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 31 years. For every 100 females there are 98.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 95.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $47,761, and the median income for a family is $55,870. Males have a median income of $41,909 versus $29,100 for females. The per capita income for the city is $19,390. 10.8% of the population and 7.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 13.5% of those under the age of 18 and 8.2% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Situated approximately 40 miles southwest of central Chicago, Joliet has long been a significant transportation hub. It lies on both sides of the Des Plaines River, a major waterway in Chicagoland, and was one of the principal ports on the Illinois and Michigan Canal. The Elgin, Joliet, and Eastern (EJ&E) railroad came through in the 1850s, and the Santa Fe line soon followed. U.S. Highways 6 (the Grand Army of the Republic Highway), 30 (the Lincoln Highway), 45, 52, and 66 (Route 66) all ran through the city. In the 1960s, Interstate 55 and Interstate 80 made their way through Joliet, linking up near Channahon just west of the city limits.
The famous Joliet Prison (now closed) is near downtown on Collins Street, and the Joliet Arsenal (now the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery and Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie) is in nearby Elwood. Stateville Correctional Center, the principal prison for the state of Illinois, is located in the neighboring city of Crest Hill. The Rialto Square Theatre, a favorite haunt of Al Capone, is on Chicago Street in downtown. There are two riverboat casinos in Joliet: the Empress Casino, near Channahon and Rockdale, and a Harrah's hotel and casino downtown. There are also many stores, resturaunts, and shops, including a shopping mall located on Rt.30.
Colleges and universities
- Mike Alstott, NFL football player
- Jesse Barfield, baseball player
- Nora Bayes, singer
- Jimmy Chamberlin, rock drummer
- Lawrence Jenco, hostage, writer
- Kathryn Hays, actor
- Mercedes McCambridge, actor
- George Mikan, basketball player
- Don Murray, jazz clarinetist
- Robert Novak, conservative columnist
- Anthony Rapp, actor
- Daniel Ruettiger, motivational speaker
- Lynne Thigpen, actress
- Audrey Totter, actor
- William Cornelius Van Horne, railroad entrepreneur
- Joliet official website
- Maps and aerial photos