Route 66 News

Joliet turning into a hot spot

The Chicago Tribune has an interesting story about joliet, Ill., and how it’s growing quickly in population. Joliet is one of the 25 fastest-growing cities in America. It even has edged long-touted Naperville to become the fourth-largest city in Illinois.

Here’s the Route 66 content:

An increasingly popular destination is the Route 66 welcome center that opened at the Joliet Area Historical Museum last year. Visitors come from as far away as Japan and Denmark to travel the road and learn about American history. An imitation drive-in movie theater plays a video about the route’s history in the lobby, and the visitor book includes signatures from 35 states and 40 countries.

“The legend of Route 66 carries a mystique, and it captures something nostalgic,” said museum Interim Director Tony Contos. “You get to see America, starting in a big city and winding through towns. You see mountains and deserts—it’s a great picture of America.”

Back to Joliet’s growth. It was long known as a gritty, working-class town — an image which Joliet has worked hard to tamp down a bit. But, most important, Joliet has been a city for a very long time and forged its own identity. That’s why it has its share of century-old houses, an honest city center, and a long-thriving cultural scene.

Naperville looks like Owasso, Okla., and Fairview Heights, Ill. In other words, it looks like any prosperous but ultimately bland suburb you’ll find in the U.S.A.

Joliet looks and feels like a real place.

2 thoughts on “Joliet turning into a hot spot

  1. Dave Clark

    Ron:

    Joliet is a great Route 66 town. Its growth, however, is a sword that cuts both ways, towards improvement of the amenities, but also toward infringement of its rural and agricultural character. Much of its growth is on prime agricultural land that is being turned into new subdivisions. This is true throughout Will County, as can be seen along the 66 corridor as well as the Lincoln Highway corridor. The land conversion in the Plainfield area seems to me especially egregious.

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