Christmas in Joliet: A nostalgic look at holiday seasons past

Chicago Street in downtown Joliet with Christmas tree and lights circa 1960.

Joliet — Over the course of a century, a community can change dramatically. The landscape, the people and the fashions all change with time.

Yet when we take a look back through pictures of Christmases past provided by the Joliet Area Historical Museum and the Will County Historical Museum in Lockport, we realize that some things stay remarkably the same.

Christmastime, no matter what year you look at, carries many of the same themes year to year, decade to decade. Colorful decorations, Santa Claus, families and friends braving cold temperatures to enjoy the merriment of the season, and sending warm wishes to those who can’t celebrate with loved ones at home.

In a collection of photos provided to The Herald-News, some of which came from our own photographers throughout the century, the quality of the images varies with time, and the styles adorning both the people and the city itself change dramatically.

We also are sharing some of our front pages from Dec. 24 and 25 editions from early in the 20th century.

But there’s no denying in any of them exactly what time of year it is and what feelings are in the air for the individuals captured in these moments. It’s Christmastime.

The Herald News Joliet. Front page Sunday, December 25, 1910
The Herald News
Joliet. Front page. Thursday, December 24, 1914
The workers at the E J & E railroad wishing the boys in service a Merry Christmas in 1917.
Chicago Street with Joliet Christmas Tree in 1973.
Pilcher Park in winter 1978.
Nativity Scene inside Joliet's Bird Haven Greenhouse, 1981.
Marching band performs during the 2003 Joliet Christmas Parade.
Decorated vintage car drives in the 2003 Joliet Christmas parade.
Horse drawn wagon in the 2003 Joliet Christmas Parade.
Santa and his elves arrive for Christmas 2004 in a helicopter.