The beauty, energy, and power of Joliet Iron Works Historic Site pales in comparison to the rich history which made it an integral part in the expansion of America’s extensive railroads.
This 0.59 mile paved walking trail is perfect for history buffs, or anyone looking for a pleasant stroll or run with fascinating scenery. It would be an interesting location for some portraits, and can also be rented for events, which makes use of the covered picnic area and restrooms. Joliet Iron and Steel Works, which used to produce up to 2000 tons of iron per day which was made into railroad rails at their rolling mill – now lays in ruins which line the trail. Placards can be found all over, which are perfect for learning about the history of the ruins, what they were used for, some interesting people and their part in the mill, and why the remains were preserved. Though just a short walk, this site really gives an interesting insight into the energy put into the factory by the brave people who worked at this company, as well as explains the horrific working conditions these hard workers were subject to.
A perfect blend of nature and history, Joliet Iron Works Historic Site is also filled with tons of trees and critters who poke their heads out to snack on the abundant blackberry bushes in the area. It also is connected to the Des Plaines River Trail and Greenway, which provides over 7 more miles of trails to explore. The only downside is you’ll want to be careful if you’re bringing kids, as the building remains can be unstable and someone could easily get hurt badly if not careful.
Whether you’re a local looking for something interesting to do or someone just passing through, this little historical site is well worth the short stroll to learn more about the history of the working class in 1900’s America.