Historical Markers in
Will County, Illinois

A Corridor in Time: The Illinois and Michigan Canal Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln Founding President Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address After the Whistle Blows American House Hotel Auditorium Building Bicentennial Park Bob Butler Biography Boxcars Bridges in Joliet Businesses on Bluff Street Caboose Civil War Memorial Civil War Memorial Creal Springs Creal Springs Seminary Demmond House Des Plaines River Downtown Historic District E J & E Depot No. 4 Edwin Porter's Brewery Elwood Arsenal Erwin E. Wood Fehrenbacher Building First National Bank of Joliet Forging a City of Steel Frankfurt, Illinois From Prisons to Libraries Gaylord Donnelly Canal Trail Mile Marker 29.1 George Gaylord George Kiser, Iron Works laborer German Loan & Savings Bank Good Eating on Route 66 Great American Crossroads in Illinois Hickory Creek in the 1830's High Risks & Hard Work Historic Lockport Illinois & Michigan Canal Office Illinois Sesquicentennial Time Capsule Interurban Transportation James McKee's Mill and Dam Jesse Walker Joliet Buildings Joliet Public Library Joliet Stagecoach Road Joliet Steam Train Joliet, Illinois Joliet/Juliet's First Log Cabin Joliet's Business Center Joliet's First Sidewalks Joliet's First Stone Building Joliet's First Volunteer Fire Department Joliet's Oldest Remaining Construction Katherine Dunham: Pioneer in African Dance Language Barriers Lester Frank Ward / Fossils Level 1: Louis Joliet Level 2: Jacques Marquette Level 3: Charles Reed Level 4: J.D. Paige Level 5: Frederich Bartleson LGBT Veterans Memorial Lock 1 Lockport City Hall Lockport Works World War II Memorial Louis Joliet Renaissance Center Marion History Marion Tornado Memorial Market in Joliet Masonic Block Building Landmark Men of Steel Merchant's Row Mining Black Diamonds Morris Building Murray Building Natividad Guiterrez Old Congregational Church Old Sauk Indian Trail Oneida Street Steps Opera House Block Building Landmark Original Dairy Queen Store Plainfield House Plymouth Congregational Church Post Office Plaza Prairie Band of Potawatomi Public Service Building Quarries Are Us Quarry Workers / Joliet Stone Reuben and Betsey K. Flagg Revolutionary War Veterans Rialto Square Theatre Romeoville, Illinois Route 66 Park Route 66 Visitors Center Samuel Benedict Reed Sauk Trail Site of Joliet — Plainfield Plank Road Toll Gate St. Louis Store The Development of Downtown Plainfield The Hydraulic Basin The Lincoln Highway - The nation's first coast-to-coast highway! The Lockport Station The Marx Brothers The Norton Building The Van Buren Sisters Veterans Memorial Village of Plainfield War Memorial What's Cooking? Will County Courthouse William Schuler Wilmington, Illinois Women on the Lincoln Highway "A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand" "Bluff Street" "Frannie" "Whittling Their Time Away"
Available on Amazon
Abraham Lincoln, one of the most famous presidents in U.S. history, spent much of his early political career in Illinois. He served in the Illinois state legislature and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois in 1846.
Will County, located in northeastern Illinois, has a rich and diverse history that dates back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Potawatomi, Ottawa, and Chippewa, who relied on the plentiful natural resources found in the region. European settlement began in the early 19th century, with the first permanent settlers arriving in the 1820s.

In 1836, Will County was officially established as a separate county, named after Dr. Conrad Will, a prominent politician and physician. The creation of the Illinois and Michigan Canal in the 1840s played a significant role in the county's development, connecting the Great Lakes with the Mississippi River and promoting economic growth in the area. Agriculture became the dominant industry, with farms producing a wide range of crops, including corn, wheat, and livestock.

The late 19th century brought rapid industrialization to Will County, fueled by the expansion of the railroad system and the discovery of natural resources such as coal and limestone. This led to the establishment of numerous mining operations and manufacturing industries, propelling the county into an era of economic prosperity.

In the 20th century, Will County continued to grow and diversify its economy. The construction of major highways, like Interstate 55 and Interstate 80, facilitated transportation and attracted businesses to the area. Today, the county is known for its thriving manufacturing, healthcare, and logistics sectors, with a population that has steadily increased over the years.

Overall, Will County's history reflects its transition from a predominantly rural, agricultural region to a more urbanized and industrialized area, while still retaining its connections to its Native American roots and natural surroundings.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Will County, Illinois.

  • 1673: French explorers Louis Joliet and Father Jacques Marquette pass through the area.
  • 1836: Will County is established as a county in the state of Illinois.
  • 1838: The city of Joliet is founded and serves as the county seat.
  • 1846: The Illinois and Michigan Canal is completed, connecting Lake Michigan to the Illinois River and boosting economic growth in the county.
  • 1855: The Chicago and Alton Railroad reaches Joliet, further spurring industrial and population growth.
  • 1919: Joliet Prison, now known as Stateville Correctional Center, opens.
  • 1926: Route 66 is designated, passing through Will County and bringing increased traffic and commerce.
  • 1960: Joliet becomes the fastest-growing city in the United States.
  • 1970: The construction of the Interstate 55 and Interstate 80 interchange further enhances transportation in the region.
  • 2000: Will County becomes one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation.