If you like looking at historical sites near your home at Woodland of Crest Hill apartments or simply want a nice day out, check out the Joliet Iron Works Historic Site, which is part of the Forest Preserve District of Will County (FPDWC).
First, the historical part. The Joliet Iron Works played a major part in Joliet’s industrial landscaping, when iron and steel were typically used for the structures. The Iron Works began in Joliet in the years after the Civil War and extended until roughly the 1930s.
Its importance can be indicated by the degree to which it has been preserved and commemorated. Part of the Iron Works is on the National Register of Historic Places. The head office has been preserved by the Joliet Historic Preservation Commission, and the 52 acres that makes up the Iron Works Historic Site has been preserved by the FPDWC.
There is a half-mile trail that leads through remainings of old factories, including the foundations of the blast furnaces and the casting beds. An interpretive map is available at the site and a larger map can be found here.
Second, enjoy nature! While the Joliet Iron Works Historic Site prides itself on preserving the important manufacturing heritage of the Midwest, it is also home to a significant amount of natural soil, called the Des Plains River Preservation System. The river is very close to the site.
The Works is also the trailhead for the nearly 11 miles of the Centennial Trail/I&M Canal Trail. It follows a trail through Lockport and Romeoville.
The FPDWC encourages residents to use the trails for bicycling, hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and in-line skating. Per regulations, visitors who encounter faster traffic should stay to the left; the faster traffic passes on the right.
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