Joliet, pronounced "Joe-lee-ETTE," was first settled as a town in 1834 and may have been originally named Juliet in honor of settler James B. Campbell's daughter. Other possible sources of the name include the Shakespearean character or a corruption of the name of French Canadian explorer Louis Jolliet, who visited the area in 1673. The city is located 40 miles southwest of Chicago and presently has an estimated population of 142,702 residents (2006).
The main attractions in Joliet's City Center are the Harrah's Casino and Hotel, Joliet Jackhammers baseball, and the Rialto Square Theatre, also known as the 'Jewel of Joliet', which has been called one of the world's 10 most beautiful theatres. The 1999 film "Stir of Echoes" starring Kevin Bacon had scenes shot on location in Joliet at both the Rialto Theatre (the hypnotism scenes in which Bacon saw the word "Dig" on the movie screen) and at the corner of Western Avenue and Center Street (sequences showing the front of Kevin Bacon's character's house). Even though the movie was set in Chicago, the location in Joliet had the right "south-side" appearance and was an easier location to shoot than the large urban setting of Chicago. Joliet Prison, an infamous landmark, is featured in television's hit show Prison Break.
There are also two riverboat casinos in Joliet: the Empress Casino near Channahon and Rockdale, and a Harrah's Casino and Hotel downtown. Other attractions and destinations in the city include restaurants, and shops, including the Westfield Louis Joliet mall located on Route 30. Located at the northeast corner of Chicago and Clinton Streets, in downtown Joliet, is the historic Auditorium Building. Designed by G. Julian Barnes and built of limestone in 1891, it was controversial as one of the first buildings to combine religious, civic, and commercial uses. However, the original sanctuary of Auditorium Building is no longer used as such and has recently been converted into upscale condominiums.