East Side National Register

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Boundary Description  | History

Statement of Significance

The significance of the East Side Historic District lies partially in its role in the development and settlement of an urban community, and partially in its physical integrity.  In all but a few respects, it exists today as an intact 19th-century urban neighborhood. Its character is derived not from a large number of truly superior structures, but from the strong and clearly visible relationships among unassuming existent structures. Original limestone curbs and street names emblazoned in sidewalk tiles combine with turrets and gables, shingles and stones, columns and arches, and even Eastlake spindles to define the picturesque eclecticism of the district. Decorative streetlights, modern but “Victorian” in character, enhance this historic texture. Indeed, the district is akin to the fanciful Queen Anne structure: an amalgam of styles pieced together to form a distinct whole.

As mentioned above, the district is significant in the historical development of the city of Joliet . It is one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, and was once the city’s most prominent neighborhood, attracting the wealthy and influential citizens of Joliet. In fact, in the late 19th century, Eastern Avenue was referred to as “Silk Stocking Row," boasting a high concentration of any of Joliet’s notable politicians, industrialists, doctors, and lawyers. Although the complexion of the district has begun to show signs of degeneration, intrusions are far from posing a threat to its visible character. What has come down to the present then, is a nearly intact 19th-century section of a northeastern Illinois city, rich in local historical and architectural significance.