The Joliet Prison, in Joliet IL, is one of the oldest prisons in the United States that housed both criminals and enemies from the Civil War. Popularized by the popular movie, The Blues Brothers, the Joliet Prison permanently closed in 2002 and began drawing national attention about the possibility of being operated as a tourist destination along Route 66.
Join Route 66 Podcast host Anthony Arno as he talks with Greg Peerbolte, Chief Executive Officer of the Old Joliet Prison Historic Site. Together, they talk about the entire 144 year operational history of the prison, including the on the following topics:
- Early history and construction during the Civil War
- William Boyington – noted Chicago architect
- Daily life at Joliet Prison
- Special holidays at Joliet Prison
- Joliet Prison as a manufacturing center
- Popular wardens at Joliet Prison
- Did Chicken Joe Campbell really murder the warden’s wife?
- Ida B. Wells, Civil Rights advocate and founder of the NAACP, visits Joliet in support for Campbell’s fair trial
- Notorious inmates at Joliet through the years
- 1 year sentence at Joliet for stealing the body of President Lincoln
- Prison tourism
- Attempted escapes at Joliet
- The most unusual inmate who tried to break into Joliet
- Turning the ruins of Joliet into art
- The Blues Brothers at Joliet
- Female inmates
Website: The Old Joliet Prison
Blues Brothers: Joliet Prison scene
News Reports on Gourdain building replica prison of Joliet:
August 10, 1906: Bent on Serving Sentence, Fall River News, KS
August 30, 1906: Is Bent on going to Jail, Ellsworth Messenger, KS
May 13, 1907: Gourdain goes to Atlanta, Herald News, Joliet
Thank you to Route 66 Podcast & Scholarship supporters!
- MidPoint Cafe, Adrian, TX – Featuring both their Ugly Crust Pie and one of the most popular photo ops along Route 66, located exactly halfway between Chicago and Santa Monica in Adrian, Texas.
- Gilligan’s Route 66 Tours featuring tours of Route 66 in Ford Mustang convertibles, stays at historic Route 66 motels, and daily breakfast.
- Jack Rabbit Trading Post, Joseph City, AZ – Probably one of the most iconic curio shops along Route 66, the famous Here It Is billboard and fiberglass jackrabbit in front of the store is reason enough to stop…. and say hello to Cindy and Antonio.
- Jeff Buschell, Illinois
- Reed Coles – Nebraska
- Jim Crabtree – California
- Route 66 author and photographer – Shellee Graham and also my guest on Episode # 10 where she talks about her book, Tales from the Coral Court Motel.
- Kristin Haakenson – Washington
- Rich Havlik – Minnesota
- Mary Nicholson – Pennsylvania
- Brian Sawyer – Indiana
- Evan Stern – New York
- Charli Beeton
- Jim Rensen
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