Will County is home to a number of historical landmarks, famous figures, and a plethora of history. It was not always as built up as parts of it are now; Some two hundred years prior, Will County was a land of prairies in which it was farmed and hunted by the Potawatomi Indian tribe. The first established settlement in the boundaries of the county were made by a man named Jesse Walker in 1826. He named it Walker’s Grove, and worked with Potawatomi in the areas of agriculture, milling, and trading to newcomers of the establishment. The county was not officially established until 1836 when a legislature separated it from Cook County.
Currently, Will County consists of a number of townships, which include Channahon, Crete, Custer, DuPage, Florence, Frankfort, Green Garden, Homer, Jackson, Joliet, Lockport, Manhattan, Monee, New Lenox, Peotone, Plainfield, Reed, Troy, Washington, Wesley, Wheatland, Will, Wilmington, and Wilton. Among these townships, the county encompasses a number of cities. The towns and cities that lie in the boundaries of the county include parts of Aurora, Beecher, parts of Bolingbrook, Braidwood, Channahon, parts of Coal City, Crest Hill, Crete, parts of Diamond, Elwood, Frankfort, Godley, Homer Glen, Joliet, parts of Lemont, Lockport, Manhattan, parts of Minooka, Mokena, Monee, parts of Naperville, New Lenox, parts of Orland Park, parts of Park Forest, Peotone, Plainfield, Rockdale, Romeoville, parts of Sauk Village, Shorewood, Steger, Symerton, parts of Tinley Park, parts of University Park, Wilmington, and Woodridge; not to mention a handful of unincorporated areas including Andres, Crystal Lawns, Pue, Fairmont, Frankfort Square, Goodings Grove, Goodenow, Ingalls Park, Lakewood Shores, Preston Heights, Ridgewood, Willowbrook, and Wilton Center.
A few points of interest that have a home to in Will County include the Illinois-Michigan canal, a segment of the historical Route 66, Joliet Iron and Steel Company, the Downtown Plainfield Historic District, Rubens Rialto Square Theatre, and the Peotone Mill. All of which played a hand in this county’s history.
The Illinois-Michigan Canal, a waterway that stretches 96 miles, connects the great lakes to the Mississippi river and the Gulf of Mexico, part of it running through Will County.
The iron and steel company, Joliet Works, located on Collins street in Joliet, stretched about 170 acres, containing nearly 60 buildings made from brick, wood, limestone, steel and reinforced concrete. At its time, it was the second largest mill in the nation. The Iron and Steel works was developed by the Union Coal, Iron & Transportation Company in 1869. It contained two blast furnaces that were coke-fired. Coke is a fuel made from coal that has low impurities with a high carbon count. The iron works also included 2 rod mills. It was not until 1873 that it was renamed the Joliet Iron and Steel Company and then in 1889 was acquired by Federal Steel, then going on to become central in forming...