Joliet East Side Historic District

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Joliet East Side Historic District
Joliet East Side Historic District is located in Illinois
Location:Roughly bounded by Washington and Union Streets, 4th and Eastern Avenues
Joliet, Will County, Illinois, U.S.
Coordinates:41°31′8″N 88°4′28″W / 41.51889°N 88.07444°W / 41.51889; -88.07444Coordinates: 41°31′8″N 88°4′28″W / 41.51889°N 88.07444°W / 41.51889; -88.07444
Architectural style:Late Victorian, Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals
NRHP Reference#:80001418
Added to NRHP:August 15, 1980
 
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Joliet East Side Historic District
Joliet East Side Historic District is located in Illinois
Location:Roughly bounded by Washington and Union Streets, 4th and Eastern Avenues
Joliet, Will County, Illinois, U.S.
Coordinates:41°31′8″N 88°4′28″W / 41.51889°N 88.07444°W / 41.51889; -88.07444Coordinates: 41°31′8″N 88°4′28″W / 41.51889°N 88.07444°W / 41.51889; -88.07444
Architectural style:Late Victorian, Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals
NRHP Reference#:80001418
Added to NRHP:August 15, 1980

The Joliet East Side Historic District is a set of 290 buildings in Joliet, Illinois. Of these 290 buildings, 281 contribute to the historical integrity of the area. Joliet was founded in 1831, deemed an ideal place for a settlement to reap the local natural resources. Most importantly, large beds of limestone provided a strong economic incentive to develop the area. Several important structures were constructed with Joliet limestone, including the Old State Capitol and Chicago Water Tower. Joliet incorporated in 1852 and prospered due to its location on the Illinois and Michigan Canal.

James B. Campbell platted the first East Side property in 1834 and named it Juliet after his daughter. Two years later, Will County was formed and Juliet was chosen as the county seat. Citizens on the land renamed the area Joliet in 1845 after French explorer Louis Jolliet. Thirty-two houses were constructed on the East Side between 1852 and 1873. The area was sought after because of its proximity to the railway station. The first mayor of Joliet, Cornelius Van Horn, built his residence here in 1852. Van Horn's son William became a magnate in the Canadian railroad industry.

By 1873, the East Side had a reputation as the most prestigious in the city. The region was anchored by the Jacob A. Henry Mansion; Henry was a wealthy railroad tycoon. The first churches in the area, the Central Presbyterian Church and the Richards Street Methodist Church, were built soon afterward. Commerce flourished on Washington street after a row of commercial structures were constructed. However, the area was hit particularly hard by the Great Depression. Many mansions, including the Jacob A. Henry Mansion, were converted into boarding houses or funeral parlors. The east side failed to recover from the depression; remaining houses were converted into multiple-family homes or abandoned. The construction of Interstate 80 in the 1960s revitalized Washington Street, but did little for the residential areas. In 1975, Joliet financed a program to assist East Side home owners to rehabilitate their homes. The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Selected structures of significance

Joliet selected fifty-one sites and structures of particular value to exemplify the historical merit of the district. Most of the records concerning the dates of the contributing buildings were lost in a fire in 1912.

References