JOLIET   A city in the township of the same name, and the capital of Will county, situated on the Des Plaines river, the Illinois and Michigan canal, the Chicago and Rock Island, and the Chicago, Alton and St. Louis railroads, 40 miles from Chicago; the northern Indiana and Joliet railroad, and the Joliet and Mendota railroad also terminate here.
It contains, beside the county buildings, six fine churches, seven or eight large warehouses, eight large hotels, two splendid school houses, two newspaper offices, a fine and commodious city hall, eight or ten fine blocks of stores, built of brick and stone, one chartered bank, and several private boarding houses; a gas company has been organized here, who will erect extensive works in the spring.
The new state penitentiary is located near the city, and when completed will not be excelled by any similar institution in the United States. The outer walls will inclose a square of eight hundred feet, or about 16 acres, all the buildings within the inclosure will be massive stone structures, the material being taken from the ground purchased by the commissioners. Water of an excellent quality is supplied to the prison, from a spring which gushes from the base of a cliff some hundred rods distant.
It also contains two flouring mills, one saw mill and five or six quite extensive lumber yards. The stone quarries in this place are inexhaustible, yielding annually immense quantities of beautiful blue and white stone, unequaled by any in the state for building purposes, and are an invaluable source of wealth. It is surrounded by a rich and beautiful country, and may be considered one of the best locations in the state for manufacturing purposes, as it has a water power unsurpassed by any place in the west. It is favorably situated for health, and its commercial advantages are superior. Population, between 7,000 and 8,000.    Calvin Zarly, Postmaster.  (Hawes' Illinois State Gazetteer...,1859)

Total Population 1840
Total Population 1850
Total Population 1860
City or Town