Take a look inside the long-since abandoned Illinois prison that is now a historic preservation site.

First Inmate Housed in 1858

Located about 35 miles outside of Chicago, is the city of Joliet, Illinois. It's here that the structure then known as the Joliet Correctional Center was inhabited by its first fifty-three inmates in 1858. Those same inmates would be tasked with building the remainder of the prison that would surround them.

Old Joliet Prison

The facility, now known as the Old Joliet Prison, has housed some of America's most notorious and dangerous criminals including mass murderers and serial killers. It has also been featured in several movies and television series as well.

WGBF-FM logo
Get our free mobile app

Abandoned and Left to Rot

More than 160 years after it took its first prisoners, and after being abandoned and falling into a state of disrepair, over the last two decades, the facility is now a historical site after the city of Joliet partnered with the Joliet Area Historical Museum to preserve and protect the remains of the prison.

Old Joliet Prison
Annie Chartrand

Preservation Efforts

As part of that partnership, and in an effort to raise funds for the maintenance and preservation of the Old Joliet Prison, the facility offers tours allowing the general public to visit the massive limestone fortress. There are both guided and self-guided walking tours.

See Inside Joliet Prison

Below you will find photos from one such tour. I discovered the photos in the "Abandoned and Forgotten Indiana" Facebook group before making contact with the photographer Annie Chartrand. She has been kind enough to grant me permission to share her photos here with you. Keep scrolling to get a look inside the Old Joliet Prison. Learn of some of its most notorious inmates, and discover how you can book a tour of Old Joliet Prison yourself.

See Inside This Now Abandoned Prison in Illinois

Located just over 30 miles to the southwest of Chicago is the town of Joliet, Illinois. It's here that the abandoned remains of the Old Joliet Prison, with a history that spans more than 160 years, can be found. Once featured in several films, the structure has sat vacant and decaying for more than twenty years now. However, in 2018, the Joliet Historical Museum, reclaimed the property, in partnership with the city.

The Old Joliet Prison can be toured for a fee, with proceeds going to help preserve the site, and recently photographer Annie Chartrand captured images of what remains of the monolithic limestone structure that once housed thousands of inmates. Keep scrolling to experience the Old Joliet Prison through her lens including a look at what appears to be the prison hospital facility.

Gallery Credit: Kat Mykals

More From WGBF-FM