Once the second largest iron and steel mill in the whole of the United States, the Joliet Iron and Steel Works in Chicago holds incredible historic value. The enormous site spans over a total of 52 acres of land and what once used to be, still stands today, albeit in ruins.
The factory was shut down in the 1980s due to the company failing to make profits from their operations and steel and iron works. As such, the place was subsequently bought by the Forest Preserve District of Will County and frozen into place to preserve a slice of fascinating history. As such, the historic site still has all the ruins from the blast furnaces and other equipment that used to be employed in the steel and iron making process in the 1800s and 1900s.
Today, the Joliet Iron Works Historic site is open for people to visit and observe as they walk along a 0.59 mile long trail that has been paved around the site. The trail is supplemented with informative signs and cards that detail how iron and steel used to be made at this factory, using the displayed equipment back in the days. In fact, you can even make a visit to the Joliet Iron Works Historic Site a proper field picnic day as renovations in 2009 and 2010 have enabled the site to add the likes of a picnic shelter and sufficient restrooms and drinking water supply to the area. The shelter can accommodate upto 100 individuals but must be reserved before you go there. The trial is also connected to the limestone paved I&M Canal Trail where you can indulge in fun activities such as biking, hiking, running, skating, as well as skiing.
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