Joliet Iron and Steel Works
The Joliet Iron and Steel Works, also called the Joliet Iron Works and the Joliet Steel Works, was once the second largest steel mill in the United States, and was initially run from 1869 to 1936. Though the mill was reopened, it eventually became unprofitable and all operations were ceased by the early 1980s. In the 1990s, the Forest Preserve District of Will County set up a historic site at the ruins of the ironworks, complete with a mile-long hiking path and signs describing the significance of the ruins. The District operates the site as the Joliet Iron Works Historic Site.

History
The works were originally owned and operated by the Joliet Steel Company, which was acquired by the Illinois Steel Company shortly after its formation in 1889. In turn, Illinois Steel was acquired by Federal Steel, which went on to be central in the formation of U.S. Steel. The rolling mill, a key element of the works, struck its first blow in March 1873. Railroad rails rolled at the Joliet Works played a key role in the expansion of America's railroad infrastructure.

Infrastructure
The works had a dam on the Des Plaines River for power, and four blast furnaces capable of producing up to 2,000 tons of pig iron daily. There were also a stock house, a casting bed, hot blast stoves, a skull house, gas washers, four pass stoves, a gas engine house, and a blowing engine house.

Labor
By 1900 the Joliet Iron Works had grown substantially and its payroll had expanded to approximately 2,000 workers. The workers at the Joliet works were involved in the Steel Strike of 1919. Around 1926 the steel works employed approximately 4,000 workers.

The site today
A 1.5-mile (2.4 km) paved trail provides visitors with access to the stabilized remains of the Joliet Iron Works. The trail is punctuated with 17 historic markers. Bordering the Iron Works is the Illinois and Michigan Canal and attached I & M Trail..