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The Buzz

A Slide Through History: Joliet Iron Works Historic Site




Only ruins remain of what's now known as the Joliet Iron Works Historic Site, but thanks to a historic aerial photo, we can see the heart and soul of the hulking facility.

The mill, which closed in 1933, was eventually dismantled and its usable parts, including the blast furnaces, were shipped to other U.S. Steel factories to be reassembled and put into use. 

Nature slowly reclaimed the site and it wasn't until 1989, when the Forest Preserve entered into an agreement with CorLands to accept a donation of the parcel, that the layers of neglect would start to get peeled back and uncover what remained. After years of work, the site opened to the public in 1998.

This historic aerial photo was taken in 1939, years after the blast furnaces went cold but prior to the structures coming down. Check out the comparison of what the site looked like then in contrast to today.

As an added bonus, in the top right, you can get a glimpse of the Joliet Correctional Center, virutally unchanged over the decades.

Move the slider below on the interactive photo.

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