Leaving Mackinaw City we headed south through Michigan down to Joliet, Illinois. We have some friends and relatives in the Chicago area and want to get close so we could visit. All I knew of Joliet was from Jake and Elwood and 1980 crime comedy The Blues Brothers movie. This is where it takes place and it is also home of the famous Joliet Prison. This is an old industrial town south of Chicago. Rivers, canals and trains all meet and go through this area. The town is a little rough now but in the day this was a transportation center.
We visited the Joliet Area Historical Museum which also houses a Route 66 museum and items from the Blues Brothers movie. The museum is nice and covers the history of the city along with several special exhibits like the Route 66 and one on John Houbolt who was a key engineer on the Apollo Moon lander. We also visited the Joliet Prison. You can't get in but you can drive around and there are interpretive displays in the parking lot. This prison was active from 1858 to 2002 and was one of the worst prisons in the country. Hugely overcrowded and cruel with terrible facilities like no running water in 1910. All of the ideas we think about with terrible prisons were somewhat created because of this place. It is built out of yellow limestone and now used as a TV or movie set. Just be thankful you never ended up here.
|Joliet Area Historical Museum, Route 66 and the Blues Brothers|
|Inside the Joliet Museum, exhibit showing the building of the Illinois and Michigan Cannal|
|Hanging with the Blues Brothers|
|Outside the Joliet Prison in Joliet, Illinois|
|Entrance to the Joliet Prison|