Will County, Illinois

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Will County, Illinois
Map of Illinois highlighting Will County
Location in the state of Illinois
Map of the United States highlighting Illinois
Illinois's location in the U.S.
Founded January 12, 1836
Seat Joliet
Largest city Joliet
 • Total 849 sq mi (2,199 km2)
 • Land 837 sq mi (2,168 km2)
 • Water 12 sq mi (31 km2), 1.5%
 • (2010) 677,560
 • Density 810/sq mi (313/km²)
Congressional districts 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 11th, 14th, 16th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website www.willcountyillinois.com

Will County is a county located in the northern part of the state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 677,560, which is an increase of 34.9% from 502,266 in 2000,[1] making it the fourth-most populous county in Illinois. The county seat is Joliet.[2]

Will County is one of the five collar counties of the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area. The portion of Will County around Joliet uses the 815 and 779 area codes, 630 and 331 area code for far northern Will County, and 708 area code for eastern Will County.


Will County was formed in 1836 out of Cook and Iroquois. It was named after Dr. Conrad Will, a businessman involved in salt production in southern Illinois, and also a politician.[3] (At that time, the law allowed slaves to be leased from other states and used in the free state of Illinois only for salt production.) Will was a member of the first Illinois Constitutional Convention and a member of the Illinois Legislature until his death in 1835. On January 12, 1836, Will County was formed from Cook County and Iroquois County. It included besides its present area, the part of Kankakee County, Illinois lying north of the Kankakee River. Will County lost that area when Kankakee County was organized in 1852, but since then its boundaries have been unchanged.

"WILL, a county in the E. N. E. part of Illinois, bordering on Indiana, has an area of 1,236 square miles (3,200 km2). It is intersected by the Kankakee and Des Plaines Rivers, branches of the Illinois. The surface is generally level, and destitute of timber, excepting small groves. The soil is very fertile, and much of it is under cultivation. The soil of the prairies is a deep, sandy loam, adapted to Indian corn and grass. In 1850 the county produced 527,903 bushels of Indian corn; 230,885 of wheat; 334,360 of oats; 32,043 tons of hay, and 319,054 pounds of butter. It contained 14 churches, 3 newspaper offices; 3472 pupils attending public schools, and 200 attending other schools. Quarries of building stone are worked near the county seat. The Des Plaines river furnishes water-power. The county is intersected by the Illinois and Michigan canal, by the Chicago branch of the Central railroad, the Chicago and Mississippi, and by the Chicago and Rock Island railroad. Named in honor of Conrad Will, for many years a member of the Illinois legislature. Capital, Joliet. Population, 16,703."

1854 U.S. Gazetteer


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 849 square miles (2,200 km2), of which 837 square miles (2,170 km2) is land and 12 square miles (31 km2) (1.5%) is water.[4]

The Kankakee River, Du Page River and the Des Plaines River run through the county and join on its western border. The Illinois and Michigan Canal and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal run through Will County.

A number of areas are preserved as parks (over 20,000 acres (81 km2) total) under the Forest Preserve District of Will County. The 17,000 acres (69 km2) Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is a U.S. Forest Service park in the county on the grounds of the former Joliet Arsenal. Other parks include Channahon State Park and the Des Plaines Fish and Wildlife Area.

Climate and weather[edit]

Joliet, Illinois
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel[5]

In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Joliet have ranged from a low of 13 °F (−11 °C) in January to a high of 85 °F (29 °C) in July, although a record low of −26 °F (−32 °C) was recorded in January 1985 and a record high of 104 °F (40 °C) was recorded in June 1988. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.58 inches (40 mm) in January to 4.34 inches (110 mm) in July.[5]

Adjacent counties[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 10,167
1850 16,703 64.3%
1860 29,321 75.5%
1870 43,013 46.7%
1880 53,422 24.2%
1890 62,007 16.1%
1900 74,764 20.6%
1910 84,371 12.8%
1920 92,911 10.1%
1930 110,732 19.2%
1940 114,210 3.1%
1950 134,336 17.6%
1960 191,617 42.6%
1970 249,498 30.2%
1980 324,460 30.0%
1990 357,313 10.1%
2000 502,266 40.6%
2010 677,560 34.9%
Est. 2013 682,829 0.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census of 2000, there were 502,266 people, 167,542 households, and 131,017 families residing in the county. The population density was 600 people per square mile (232/km²). There were 175,524 housing units at an average density of 210 per square mile (81/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 81.83% White, 10.45% Black or African American, 0.21% Native American, 2.21% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 3.63% from other races, and 1.63% from two or more races. 8.71% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 18.1% were of German, 12.8% Irish, 10.1% Polish and 9.8% Italian ancestry.

There were 167,542 households out of which 42.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.80% were married couples living together, 9.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.80% were non-families. 17.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.94 and the average family size was 3.36.

In the county the population was spread out with 30.00% under the age of 18, 8.10% from 18 to 24, 32.90% from 25 to 44, 20.60% from 45 to 64, and 8.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 99.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $62,238, and the median income for a family was $69,608 (these figures had risen to $73,159 and $82,082 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $50,152 versus $31,345 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,613. About 3.40% of families and 4.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.60% of those under age 18 and 5.50% of those age 65 or over.


Will County is governed via a 26 member county board who are elected from one of 13 districts. Each district elects 2 members. The County Executive, County Clerk, Coroner, Auditor, Treasurer, Recorder of Deeds, State's Attorney and Sheriff are all elected in a countywide vote.


  • The county is in Community College District 525 and is served by Joliet Junior College in Joliet.[10] Joliet Junior College was the first two year higher education institution in the United States.


Will County is served by 4 US Interstate Highways, 4 US Highways, and 12 Illinois Highways.

Major highways[edit]


Four different Metra commuter rail lines (Metra Electric Main Line, Southwest Service, Rock Island District and Heritage Corridor) connect the parts of the county with the Chicago Loop.

Energy Infrastructure[edit]


The county is a major hub in the United States natural gas pipeline grid where pipelines from Canada and the Gulf of Mexico meet and then fan out to serve the Midwest. The following major energy companies own pipeline that run through Will County:

Joliet Refinery[edit]

ExxonMobil owns and operated the Joliet Refinery which is located along the Des Plaines River just east of I-55. According to ExxonMobile, the refinery employs about 600 people and was constructed in 1972.[11]

Historic sites[edit]

The following sites are on the National Register of Historic Places listings in Will County, Illinois:

Place Address City Date listed
Alternate Route 66, Wilmington to Joilet IL 53 between Wilmington and Joilet Joliet 2006-05-05
Briscoe Mounds Front Street Channahon 1978-12-22
Christ Episcopal Church 75 W. Van Buren St. Joliet 1982-08-12
Downtown Peotone Historic District Roughly N. First St. and both sides of N. Second St., roughly bounded by the alley S of Main and N by North St. Peotone 2005-11-16
Eagle Hotel 100-104 Water St. Wilmington 1994-02-16
Fitzpatrick House IL 53 Lockport 1984-02-09
Flanders House 405 W. Main St. Plainfield 1991-11-14
George, Ron, Round Barn NE of Romeoville off US 66 Romeoville 1982-12-07
Heck, John, House 1225 S. Hamilton St. Lockport 1994-08-16
Henry, Jacob H., House 20 S. Eastern Ave. Joliet 1979-05-14
Illinois and Michigan Canal 7 mi (11 km). SW of Joliet on U.S. 6, in Channahon State Park Joliet 1966-10-15
Joliet YMCA 215 N. Ottawa St. Joliet 2006-02-09
Joliet East Side Historic District Roughly bounded by Washington and Union Sts., 4th and Eastern Aves. Joliet 1980-08-15
Joliet Municipal Airport 4000 W. Jefferson St. Joliet 1980-12-10
Joliet Steel Works 927 Collins St. Joliet 1991-02-28
Joliet Township High School 201 E. Jefferson St. Joliet 1982-08-12
Joliet, Louis, Hotel 22 E. Clinton St. Joliet 1990-02-09
Lockport Historic District Area between 7th and 11th Sts. and Canal and Washington Sts. Lockport 1975-05-12
McGovney-Yunker Farmstead 10824 LaPorte Rd. Mokena 2006-05-31
Milne, Robert, House 535 E. 7th St. Lockport 1979-12-17
Ninth Street Seven Arch Stone Bridge Ninth St. spanning Deep Run Creek Lockport 2004-08-20
Peotone Mill 433 W. Corning Ave. Peotone 1982-03-19
Plainfield Halfway House 503 Main St. Plainfield 1980-09-29
Rubens Rialto Square Theater 102 N. Chicago St. Joliet 1978-07-24
Scutt, Hiram B., Mansion 206 N Broadway Joliet 2003-02-05
Small-Towle House 515 County Rd. Wilmington 2004-05-12
Standard Oil Gasoline Station 600 W. Lockport St. Plainfield 1984-11-13
Stone Manor SE of Lockport Lockport 1980-11-26
U.S. Post Office 150 N. Scott St. Joliet 1981-08-20
Union Station 50 E. Jefferson St. Joliet 1978-08-01
Upper Bluff Historic District Roughly bounded by Taylor, Center and Campbell Sts. and Raynor Ave. Joliet 1991-06-05
Will County Historical Society Headquarters 803 S. State St. Lockport 1972-05-17




Census-designated places[edit]


Will County is divided into these townships:


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 9, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Was Dr. Conrad Will really worth his salt?", Ledger-Sentinel, Roger Matile, June 22, 2006
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Joliet, Illinois". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 9, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 9, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 9, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 9, 2014. 
  10. ^ retrieved 2007-02-13
  11. ^ http://www.exxonmobil.com/Corporate/Files/joliet_brochure.pdf
  • Forstall, Richard L. (editor) (1996). Population of states and counties of the United States: 1790 to 1990 : from the twenty-one decennial censuses. United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Population Division. ISBN 0-934213-48-8. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°26′N 87°59′W / 41.44°N 87.98°W / 41.44; -87.98