city, seat (1845) of Will county, northeastern Illinois, U.S. It lies on the Des Plaines River, about 40 miles (65 km) southwest of downtown Chicago. Settled in 1833, it was initially named Juliet by James B. Campbell, a settler from Ottawa and an official with the Board of Canal Commissioners, in honour of his daughter. It was renamed in 1845 for Louis Jolliet, the French Canadian explorer who visited the site in 1673. Joliet was once known as "Stone City" for its limestone, which was used throughout the Midwest (e.g., in the Rock Island Arsenal, the Illinois State House, and the Lincoln Monument in Springfield). The opening of the Illinois and Michigan Canal (1848), the arrival of the Rock Island Railroad (1852), and the completion of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (1900) contributed to the city's expansion as an industrial and agricultural centre and provided outlets for its farm products, manufactures (notably steel and wire), and coal. By the early 1980s the decline of industry had greatly affected the city.
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