The site navigation utilizes arrow, enter, escape, and space bar key commands. Left and right arrows move across top level links and expand / close menus in sub levels. Up and Down arrows will open main level menus and toggle through sub tier links. Enter and space open menus and escape closes them as well. Tab will move on to the next part of the site rather than go through menu items.

Current Headlines

Joliet Iron Works Exhibit Showcases the People who Powered the Plant a Century Ago



Photo for: Joliet Iron Works Exhibit Showcases the People who Powered the Plant a Century Ago

Photo by Anthony Schalk

One of the Forest Preserve District’s most intriguing preserves now has its own museum exhibit showcasing the people who kept the downtown Joliet Iron Works plant humming a century ago.

“Joliet Iron Works: The Industry that Built a Community” details the history of the preserve now known as Joliet Iron Works Historic Site in downtown Joliet. 

The exhibit is on display at another Forest Preserve site, Isle a la Cache Museum in Romeoville, through Sunday, March 14, and can be viewed during museum hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. The museum is closed on Monday.

The indoor museum exhibit allows visitors to view photos, artifacts and publications from the Forest Preserve’s Joliet Iron Works collection, which illustrates the remarkable story of Joliet's steel industry. 

“This temporary exhibit brings you back to the days when Joliet was a center for steel manufacturing and showcases life in and around Joliet Iron Works in the early 1900s,” said Jen Guest, a Forest Preserve program coordinator. “Using the museum’s collection of the company’s newsletter, we get a glimpse of this company and its groundbreaking approach to safety and the well-being of their workers.”

Those who are interested in viewing the outdoor Iron Works remnants, which include foundations of the blast furnaces and other structures from the dismantled factory, can tour the Joliet Iron Works Historic Site preserve, located on Columbus Street, east of Route 53/Scott Street in downtown Joliet. Preserve hours are 8 a.m. to sunset.

But the indoor exhibit at Isle a la Cache Museum provides a more in-depth look at the site and features items that cannot be viewed by touring the outdoor steel industry remnants at the Joliet preserve.

“The preserve’s interpretive signs give a general overview of Joliet Iron Works, but the exhibit focuses on the workers, their sense of community at the plant and safety issues, which brings the story of the site to life,” Guest said. 

The exhibit is a mixture of interpretive panels, photos, videos and artifacts arranged inside Isle a la Cache Museum.

“We have a unique collection of photographs and copies of the historic company newsletter, The Mixer, that would not be available on site in the preserve during a tour,” Guest explained. “This gives us a chance to showcase some key items from the collection for public viewing.”

Guest said the Romeoville exhibit is designed to educate visitors about Joliet Iron Works and its connection to the area and to inspire them to visit the site in person or to join a future tour or online program highlighting the preserve. 

“Most people from Joliet can link their family heritage to someone coming to this area to work at companies that made up Joliet Iron Works,” Guest said. “The preserve is unique and unlike any other that we have in the District. It tells a story of the community and industrial history, and is home to urban wildlife.”

For online or in-person programs featuring Joliet Iron Works Historic Site, visit the Event Calendar.

Due to the state's COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, museum visitors are required to wear masks and the building's capacity will be restricted to 25 percent. 

____________

Stay up-to-date on the happenings in Will County's forest preserves by subscribing to The Citizen, our weekly digital newsletter that provides subscribers with updates on Forest Preserve news, upcoming events, and other fun and useful information for the whole family. If you're only interested in programs, subscribe to The Weekly Five, which outlines the five must-do programs each week. Signing up for either newsletter is easy and free of charge.

News

Monee Reservoir Visitor Center Now Open for the Season

2/27/2021

Bait, snacks and fishing licenses will be available for purchase when the Monee Reservoir Visitor Center and concessions stand reopen to the public. Boat rentals start in April and kayak and canoe rentals in May.

Read More


Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a special green-themed dog park romp and two online programs

2/26/2021

The Forest Preserve has lined up three St. Patrick's Day-themed programs starting with 'St. Paw-trick's Day' on March 13. Dress your dog in green and head over to the Lower Rock Run Dog Park for some fun. Or sign up to watch 'Irish in the Industries' and 'St. Pat's Charming Snakes' Zoom webinars online.

Read More


Quilts, Food Trucks and Zombies, the 2021 Event Lineup has it All

2/26/2021

The event schedule offers a wide range of activities that are sprinkled throughout the year to inspire patrons to revisit sites they already love and to motivate others to discover a new place to enjoy the outdoors. Art, food, nature and fitness are all on tap as we get underway for some fun in '21.

Read More


Sign up for a Newsletter