Route 66 News

Old Joliet prison may be turned into tourism center

The long-closed Joliet Correctional Center just off Route 66 in Joliet, Ill., may be turned into a commercial project that caters mostly to tourists, reports the Herald-News.

Discussions are in an early stage, but ideas include the creation of a museum or other venue that would invite tourists into the old prison on Collins Street.

The developers “feel that the prison has some potential as a mixed-use development,” Councilman Joseph Shetina, chairman of the Land Use Committee, said Tuesday.

The mixed uses could include stores, offices and even residences. […]

The plan is to keep the prison structure intact and try to take advantage of its appeal.

“People are intrigued by old prisons,” said state Sen. A.J. Wilhelmi, who co-chairs a task force trying to find new uses for the property.

The prison was closed in 2002. But thanks to its distinctive 19th-century limestone architecture, it continues to be used for film settings, including the television series “Prison Break” and an upcoming Johnny Depp movie, “Public Enemies.” Perhaps its best-known moment on celluloid is the opening scene of “The Blues Brothers.”

The potential developers transformed the Glenview Naval Base into The Glen Club.

The city manager cautioned that talks are just talks at this point. But I’m sure the developers took a look at Joliet’s rapid growth and think this is doable.

(Hat tip: Lynn “Lulu” Bagdon”)


17 thoughts on “Old Joliet prison may be turned into tourism center

  1. Anonymous

    it would make a great haunted prison for Halloween! It has a creepy look at night, I moved by the prison and it does look like a museum that i would visit.

  2. anonymos 1

    i think your right anonymos i would definitely visit that if it happened imagine the ghost that roam the halls and cells i think it should be on most haunted

  3. Bonnie

    I would love yo visit Old Joliet Prison, I can’t even imagine what is lorking there, the Electric chair, What a great place yo look for ghosts hope it happens soon!

  4. rose

    definitely a place no one wants to be. I also did time there in 2001.going back to check it out as a free man would be a much needed reality check for some.facing the haunting memories. that place has a lifetime of untold stories.

  5. Matty Val

    If Anybody knows a way to get a tour of the prison please let me know, I have been trying and trying and cant seem to find a way, besides getting the run around. I hope they open it up very soon.

  6. Anonymous

    i used to b a c/o there in 99 and 2000. i really feel the state should instill better rehab programs for the people that r locked up for, they r, PEOPLE. thats not how they r treated by some tho. but as for the prision itself, it was full of centipedes, roaches, spiders n rats among other things. no a/c and the tap water was barely drinkable. the inmates in illinois prisions r not there to b judged but to serve their sentence. so y is it that they r continually judged and treated less humane than a stray animal?

    1. tom sheridan


  7. fdb

    I am a paranormal investigator and I think they should open the prison for overnight investigations. I would love to bring my team there. If anyone finds any info please email m

  8. Randy

    Today was the 1st time thare and I took some pics in 45min time I saw at leist 10 cars pull in to visit Please give tures there is already a big attraction. (P.S. It wouldnt hurt the economy)

  9. tom sheridan

    Unfortunatly, I was there in the early 1980s. Maybe some of this younger generation should tour the place. It was VERY violent & no joke. hopefully it will do some good, cause they do not want to go to a max joint,trust me!!!

  10. Anonymous

    I would love 2 c the prison from the inside. It looks very interesting from the outside imagine from the inside, awesome awesome.

  11. k75884

    i spent 6 weeks n solitary cell 212 west house before transfer in 1999. one of the best experiences of my life. beautiful prison. lots of history.

  12. Steve Calkins

    Worked at the prison in 1975. I would love to revisit to old prison. I hope they open it up. I would pay to see insid ethe prson once again.

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