The city of Jordan in the novels was inspired by the real life city of Joliet, Illinois.
Joliet’s history goes all the way back to 1673 when explorer Louis Joliet and Father Jacques Marquette camped on the DesPlaines River on a mound just south of the city. Incorporated as Joliet in 1852, the city was an important stop on the I&M Canal which opened in 1848 and ran 96 miles from Chicago to LaSalle-Peru, connecting the Great Lakes to the Illinois River. This shipping route was replaced by the Illinois Waterway in the 1900s. Joliet has five draw bridges saluting a steady traffic of grain and petroleum barges.
The Cathedral of St Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet is the mother church of the eight-county Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet. The opulent Rialto Square Theatre, a vaudeville movie palace built by the Reuben Brothers in 1926, is a nationally-known concert venue. The castle-like limestone Joliet prison, made famous in the opening scenes of the film “The Blues Brothers,” closed in 2002. But Joliet is still known for nearby Stateville Correctional Center, the state’s highest security prison.
You can read more about Joliet here: