Alton, Illinois: Wikis

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Alton
City
The Clark Bridge which connects Alton to West Alton, Missouri
Country United States
State Illinois
County Madison
Coordinates 38°54′2″N 90°9′35″W / 38.90056°N 90.15972°W / 38.90056; -90.15972
Area 16.6 sq mi (43 km2)
 - land 16.6 sq mi (43 km2)
Density 1,949.3 /sq mi (753 /km2)
Mayor Tom Hoechst
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code 62002
Area code 618
Location of Alton within Illinois
Location of Alton within Illinois
Wikimedia Commons: Alton, Illinois

Alton is a city on the Mississippi River in Madison County, Illinois, United States, about 15 miles north of St. Louis, Missouri. The population was 29,393 at the 2008 census. It is a part of the Metro-East region of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area.

Contents

History

The Alton area was home to Native Americans for thousands of years before the 19th-century founding by European Americans of the modern city. Historic accounts indicate occupation of this area by the Illiniwek or Illinois Confederacy at the time of European contact. Earlier native settlement is demonstrated by archaeological artifacts and the famous prehistoric Piasa bird painted on a cliff face nearby. The image was first written about in 1673 by French missionary priest Father Jacques Marquette.

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1800s

Alton was developed as a river town in 1818 by Rufus Easton, who named it after his son. Easton ran a passenger ferry service across the Mississippi River to the Missouri shore. Alton is located amid the confluence of three significant navigable rivers: the Illinois, the Mississippi, and the Missouri. A monument and multilevel observatory, located at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi near the levee in Wood River, is under construction to provide an overview of the Great Rivers area.

Alton grew into a matter-of-fact river trading town with an industrial character. Its steep-sloped streets led to massive concrete grain silos and railroad tracks along the waterfront, and brick commercial buildings throughout downtown. Once the site of several brick factories, Alton has an unusually high number of streets still paved in brick. The lower levels of Alton are subject to floods, many of which inundated the historic downtown area. The flood levels of different dates are marked on the large grain silos near the Argosy Casino at the waterfront.

In the 19th century, it was an important town for abolitionists, as Illinois was a free state across from the slave state of Missouri. Escaped slaves would cross the Mississippi to seek shelter in Alton, and proceed to safer places through stations of the Underground Railroad. On November 7, 1837, abolitionist printer Elijah P. Lovejoy was murdered by a pro-slavery mob while he tried to protect his Alton-based press from being destroyed for the third time. He had printed many abolitionist tracts and distributed them in the area. After killing him, the mob threw the press into the Mississippi. Lovejoy was the first martyr of the abolition movement. As a consequence, representatives came to Alton when they drafted the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution, to end slavery. During the years before the American Civil War, several homes were equipped with tunnels and hiding places for stations on the Underground Railroad to aid slaves escaping to the North.

On October 15, 1858, Alton was the site of the seventh Lincoln-Douglas debate. A memorial at the site in downtown Alton features undersized statues of Lincoln and Douglas, as they would have appeared during the debate.

Although Alton once was growing faster than its sister city of St. Louis, a coalition of St. Louis businessmen planned to build a town to stop its expansion and bring business to St. Louis. The result was Grafton, Illinois.

The first penitentiary in Illinois was built in Alton. While only a corner of it remains, it once extended nearly to "Church Hill". During the American Civil War, Union forces used it to hold prisoners of war, and some 12,000 Confederates were held there. During the smallpox epidemic of 1863-1864, thousands of men died. A Confederate mass grave on the north side of Alton holds many of the dead from the epidemic. A memorial marks the site. Often when Confederate prisoners escaped, they tried to cross the Mississippi River back to the slave state of Missouri.

Historic Alton Home

Many blocks of housing in Alton were built in the Victorian Queen Anne style, which marks a more successful period of the city's history. At the top of the hill in the commercial area, several stone churches and a fine city hall mark the city's pride. Numerous residences on hills have sweeping views of the Mississippi River.

1900s

Robert Pershing Wadlow, listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's tallest documented man at 8 feet 11.5 inches tall, is buried in Upper Alton Cemetery. The earth over his grave was raised so visitors can compare its length to other graves. A memorial to him, including a life-sized statue and a replica of his chair, stands on College Avenue, across from the Southern Illinois University Dental School.

The Sisters of St Francis of the Martyr St George have their American province motherhouse in Alton.

According to the Illinois Department of Conservation, in 1937 two commercial fishermen from Alton, Herbert Cope and Dudge Collins, caught a bull shark in the Mississippi River. Late that summer they had realized something was troubling their wood and mesh traps. Concluding that it was a fish, they built a strong wire trap and baited it with chicken guts. The next morning, they caught the 5-foot 84-pound shark, which they displayed in the Calhoun Fish Market, where it attracted crowds for days.

In 1954, the city of Alton was named as one of the three finalists for the location of the new United States Air Force Academy. Alton lost to the winning site of Colorado Springs, Colorado.[1]

Flood of 1993

Alton flood, 1993

Because of Alton's location at the Mississippi River, the Great Flood of 1993 with its high water level caused severe damage to the city. Alton's water supply was cut off due to flooding, and townspeople had to be supplied with bottled water for more than three weeks. Many local businesses, including Anheuser-Busch of St. Louis, Missouri, donated funds to help the people of Alton.

Clark Bridge

The original bridge connecting Alton, IL with West Alton, MO was a two-lane (one in each direction) bridge that had become a hazard for motorists and a hindrance for emergency vehicles. It is the northernmost bridge in the St. Louis metropolitan area. It was torn down in the early-mid 1990s.

The current Clark Bridge, with two lanes of divided traffic in each direction, plus two bike lanes, opened in 1994, following work through the Great Flood of 1993. The award-winning cable-stayed design was done by Hanson Engineers of Springfield, Illinois. Pieces of cables identical to those of the bridge were handed out in educational settings all over the city to allow the city's children to "take home a piece of the bridge". The complex work of construction of the bridge was featured in a program on PBS TV.

Geography

Alton is located at 38°54′2″N 90°9′35″W / 38.90056°N 90.15972°W / 38.90056; -90.15972 (38.900438, -90.159844).[2] This is on the Mississippi River above the mouth of the Missouri River. Most of Alton is located on bluffs overlooking the river valley.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.6 square miles (43.0 km²), of which, 15.6 square miles (40.5 km²) of it is land and 1.0 square miles (2.5 km²) of it (5.78%) is water.

The National Great Rivers Museum is colocated at the new Lock and Dam #26, or Melvin Price Locks and Dam. The lock and dam are open for tours. The lock is a favorite spot to watch bald eagles, which feed on fish coming up in waters below the dam. A bird sanctuary is located across the river.

The Great River Road in Illinois north of Alton, looking south.

The River Road goes right next to the river north to Grafton. Above that it is often routed inland of the floodplain. It provides views of the dramatic contrast between the high cliffs of the Illinois side to the broad, flat, green agricultural countryside of Portage des Sioux, Missouri. The Great River Road is a popular bicycle touring route. Hidden in a notch of the cliff is the tiny town of Elsah, Illinois, once a down-and-dirty, liquor-soaked tugboaters' retreat, now with renovated properties and antique shops in historic houses.

Economy

Alton was once a town of heavy industry and manufacturing. Laclede Steel established major steel manufacturing operations in the town.[3] Restructuring in the industry forced Alton to create a new future. Alton has transformed itself into a popular tourist destination and retreat.

Alton's location and history make it a popular destination for antique shopping, touring historic areas, and gambling aboard the Argosy Casino. Other Greater Alton attractions include Alton Marina; nine golf courses, including Spencer T. Olin, the only Arnold Palmer-designed and -managed course in Illinois or the St. Louis Metropolitan area; fine dining and night life; and a large selection of bed-and-breakfasts and guest houses. These include the Beall Mansion, voted "Best Illinois Bed and Breakfast" in the Illinois Magazine Readers Poll. Billing itself as "the wedding capital of the Midwest", Alton has become a popular venue for weddings, receptions, and honeymoons.

Many visitors come to explore the natural beauty of the area. A designated bikeway extends for miles north of town along the Mississippi River; its relatively flat grade makes it an easy ride for families. During the migration seasons, Alton is a destination for birdwatchers along the Mississippi Flyway; winter visitors come to see the many bald eagles that roost on the Illinois limestone bluffs. It is the area of the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway. Père Marquette State Park, with a WPA-era lodge, has its attractions, including trails for hikers and riders and horses for hire, a few miles to the north.

Demographics

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 30,496 people, 12,518 households, and 7,648 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,949.3 people per square mile (752.8/km²). There were 13,894 housing units at an average density of 888.1/sq mi (343.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 72.32% White, 24.72% African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.38% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.68% from other races, and 1.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.49% of the population.

There were 12,518 households out of which 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.3% were married couples living together, 17.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.9% were non-families. 33.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.8% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 16.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 88.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,213, and the median income for a family was $37,910. Males had a median income of $33,083 versus $22,485 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,817. About 14.7% of families and 18.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.8% of those under age 18 and 13.2% of those age 65 or over.

Culture

Arts

Alton is home to the Madison County Arts Council, a not-for-profit organization that supports local arts and art education in Illinois Arts Council art programs. It is located in the Jacoby Arts Center (JAC}, on Broadway between Henry and Ridge Streets in the old Jacoby Furniture building. The JAC is an art gallery open to the public. It also offers art classes in a variety of media to adults and children in the community.

Theater

Founded in 1934 as a community theater, the Alton Little Theater continues to produce a full season of dramatic and comedic plays and musicals. Its all-volunteer members bring quality theater productions to Alton in an intimate setting. The Alton high schools all offer theatrical productions throughout the school year as well.

Alton Children's Theater, founded in 1958 by Solveig Sullivan, has provided live theater for children through the years. The plays are now held at Lewis and Clark Community College's Hathaway Hall. For many years the company has performed for up to 10,000 children annually. This all-volunteer membership hires a professional director, who works with the members for the annual week of performances.

Media

Alton has one daily newspaper, The Telegraph, formerly the Alton Evening Telegraph. The Telegraph provides complete coverage of local news, as well as sports and relevant national news. Today's AdVantage, a free weekly paper, is primarily focused on classifieds and advertising inserts. It is distributed to all residents.

The single radio station, WBGZ 1570 AM, broadcasts a news/talk format. It has served the Alton and surrounding area for decades.

Alton boasts one internet-based resource, Riverbender.com. Named for the local bend in the Mississippi River, Riverbender is a portal serving local and national news, classifieds, event calendars and Alton guides to restaurants, shopping and attractions with coupons. In 2007 they were the first company to broadcast the Alton high schools' sports teams' games live on the website.

Education

Alton High School is the new public school, complete with a three-court gymnasium and six tennis courts. Based on 2006 district data, Alton School district 11 enrollment stands at 6,480; the average number of teaching years in the district is 13.5; the high school graduation rate is 97.7%; Elementary Pupil-Teacher Ratio - 18.9; and Secondary Pupil-Teacher Ratio - 22.3. The Alton High School has an award-winning math team and music program. Alton High School offers an honors program.

The Alton Middle School is housed in the old Alton High School complex. Alton Middle School serves grades 6-8. The school is made up of three buildings: the main building, annex, and Olin Building. The Main building is the oldest. It is of architectural interest for its use of Romanesque design. Alton Middle School is the largest middle school in Illinois, with approximately 1,500 students.

The school system has a "gifted" student program for 1st through 8th grades, covering the Middle School. This program exposes participating students to wider knowledge as well as special projects.

Alton is home to Marquette Catholic High School, named after the French explorer, Father Jacques Marquette. The sports teams’ names are the Explorers.

Landmarks

  • The Piasa bird painting, reproduction of original
  • A monument to abolitionist Elijah Parish Lovejoy, Alton Cemetery
  • A monument to 1354 Confederate soldiers who died in the Alton prison, North Alton Confederate Cemetery[5]
  • The cable-stayed Clark Bridge (1994)
  • The Franklin House, later known as the Lincoln Hotel and now the Lincoln Lofts. Lincoln dined here and may have stayed overnight when in Alton for his seventh debate with Stephen Douglas on October 15, 1858. Statues of Lincoln and Douglas mark Lincoln Douglas Square, at the corner of Landmarks and Broadway. This was the site of their last debate before the 1858 Illinois Senatorial Election.
  • The Beall Mansion, designed by notable architect Lucas Pfeiffenberger, and built in 1902 and 1903. It has been the private residence of Edmond Beall, four-time mayor of Alton and state senator.
  • St. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church, more than 150 years old, the Cathedral of the Diocese of Alton under three bishops (1857 to 1923). In 1923 the See was moved to Springfield.[6]
  • A statue of Robert Pershing Wadlow, the tallest man in the recorded history of the world.

Notable residents

References

  1. ^ Steven A. Simon, "A Half-Century of History", Fifty Years of Excellence: Building Leaders of Character for the Nation, 2004.
  2. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "U.S. & Illinois Reach Settlement with Bankrupt Laclede Steel to Facilitate Clean-up & Reopening of Alton, Illinois Mill". U.S. Department of Justice. 2003-01-22. http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2003/January/03_enrd_033.htm. 
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "North Alton Confederate Cemetery". United States Department of Veterans Affairs. http://www.cem.va.gov/cems/lots/north_alton.asp. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  6. ^ "History", Church of St. Peter and Paul, Alton, accessed 30 Oct 2009
  7. ^ Bassett, Kathie (2009-04-14). "Charactor actor Dale Swann dies". The Telegraph (Alton). http://www.thetelegraph.com/news/swann_25681___article.html/dale_alton.html. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Alton (Illinois) article)

From Wikitravel

Contents
Stephen Douglas debating in Alton
Stephen Douglas debating in Alton

Alton [1] is a charming river town in Illinois just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis MO. Once a blue collar town of heavy manufacturing, Alton has transformed itself into a tourist destination and wedding and reception mecca of the Midwest.

Located along the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway, named one of the Seven Wonders of Illinois, the Greater Alton area has five wineries, fifty antique shops, fifteen bed and breakfasts and guest houses, nine golf courses, Alton Marina, Alton Square Mall, boating, parasailing, hiking, biking, historic sites, fine dining, and more.

  • Alton is within fifteen minutes or less of I-270 and I-255. Illinois Route 3, Illinois Route 140, and Illinois Route 143 run through Alton.
  • Lambert St. Louis International Airport (IATA: STL), 10701 Lambert International Blvd, +1 314 426-8000, [2]. Alton is only 25 minutes from Lambert St. Louis International.
  • St Louis Regional Airport, 8 Terminal Drive East Alton,

+1 618 259-2531 or toll free +1 888 562-9950, [3].

By train

  • Amtrak, 3400 College Ave., +1 800 USA-RAIL, [4]. Station stops on each route.
  • Alton Marina [5] #1 Henry Street, +1 618 462-9860.
  • Champagne Limousines, 3406 West Delmar Avenue, Godfrey, Toll Free: 1-800-500-2526, In MO (314) 567-5466, In IL (618) 466-7001, [6]. Luxury limousine service to the entire St. Louis Metro-East area since 1984. Fleet includes new Lincoln Town Car Limos 10, 12, & 14 Passengers. New Lincoln Navigator Stretches, new Hummer H2 Stretch For 16 To 18 Passengers, Classic Rolls Royce Silver Cloud, new Model Sedans And Vans For Airport Service.
Robert Wadlow, The Gentle Giant
Robert Wadlow, The Gentle Giant
  • Alton is a bird watchers paradise. Each year from Christmas to the end of February Alton boasts the largest gathering of American bald eagles outside Alaska. Trolley, motor coach, limousine, and self guided tours are available in season.
  • Lewis & Clark Trail Site and Museum
  • Lincoln Douglas debate site
  • Alton Museum of History.
  • The Robert Wadlow Statue is a life-size statue of Alton native Robert Wadlow, the tallest man who ever lived. He measured 8'11" when he died in 1940 at age 22 from a foot infection.
  • Alton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, [7]. Official website of the Alton Convention and Visitors Bureau. Call Toll Free 1-800-Alton-IL for a free All Around Alton Guide or personal help in planning your Alton, Illinois Trip.
  • The Beall Mansion Historic Home Tour, 407 East 12th Street, Alton, Illinois +1 618 474-9100 or Toll Free 1-866-The-BEALL, [8]. Tour this three story turn of the century mansion that was built as a wedding gift. Thirty minute narrated tours of the history, architecture and furnishings. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Adults $10, Seniors $7.50, Children $5. Tours are by appointment.
  • Haunted Alton Tours, History and Hauntings Book Co., 515 East Third Street in Alton, Illinois, 1-888-446-7859 (), [9]. Tours start at 7:00PM, see website for schedule. Ghost hunter Troy Taylor calls Alton "one of the most haunted small towns in America", and he'll attempt to show you why with this tour through the old downtown area. $20 per person.  edit

Buy

Alton, Illinois is a shoppers paradise with over 50 antique shops and Alton Square Mall to choose from. Special Third Thursday Shop 'Til You Drop events are scheduled each fall and winter.

  • Alton Square Mall, 200 Alton Square Alton, [10]. Shop the big stores including Macy's, JC Penney, and Sears, plus over 70 specialty stores.
  • Mineral Springs Mall, 301 East Broadway Alton, [11]. Dine & Shop in this former downtown Alton hotel.
At the Lewis & Clark Trail Site and Museum
At the Lewis & Clark Trail Site and Museum
  • Bossanova Martini Lounge & Restaurant, 112 West 3rd Street, +1 618 462-1175. Martinis galore and fine food with each dish reflecting a different international flavor.
  • Gentelin's on Broadway, 122 East Broadway, Alton, Illinois 62002, +1 618-465-6080. Fine dining with a view of the Mississippi River. Excellent lobster stuffed raviolli appetizer, roast duck, and selection of steaks and seafood.
  • Pie Town Stompin'Grounds, 2512 College Ave, +1 618 465-4779. Coffee house and cafe' located in a historic building in Upper Alton (Pie Town) across from the Alton Dental College. Enjoy your favorite coffee specialty drink, phosphates, breakfast served all day long, and a delicious array of salads, soups, sandwiches, and daily specials. Free Wireless Internet access. Pie Town has been closed since Dec. 8th, however he is now managing The Cup in Bethalto which features a smoothie bar, coffee, and serves food and has the pies that were served at Pie Town
  • Thymes Past a Bistro & Wine Bar, 2223 State Street, Alton, +1 618 462-7279, [12]. Fine dining, wines and imported brews all in the relaxed atmosphere of the historic Krug House. Excellent Caesar salad and "the best prime rib anywhere". Indoor and outdoor dining available. Period live entertainment on the back deck. Available for private parties and wedding receptions.
  • Fast Eddie's Bon Air, 1530 E. 4th Street, (618) 462-5532,[13]. “Beer, burgers and boogie.” Translated: cold beer, cheap food, and live entertainment have made Fast Eddie's one of the largest beer retailers in the country. An Alton phenomenon everyone has heard about and that you have got to experience.

Sleep

From charming to luxurious, chain motels to one of a kind bed and breakfasts and guest houses, Alton has lodging accommodations for every need and budget. With so many things to see and do in Alton, Illinois and the rest of the Greater St. Louis Area travel experts recommend making the most of your trip by staying multiple nights.

  • Beall Mansion, 407 East 12th Street, (618) 474-9100 or Toll Free 1-866-The-BEALL (1-866-843-2325), [14]. This elegant Bed and Breakfast & Boutique Hotel was voted "Best of Illinois" in Illinois Magazine Readers Poll. Join a guest list that includes politicans, Hollywood notables, TV celebrities, and Miss America. Guest room features include a triple sheeted, feathered bed, private bath with Italian marble floor, expanded cable TV/DVD/VCR, complimentary high speed wireless Internet access, telephone with free local calling and voice mail. Leisure, corporate, and extended stay plans are available. Weddings and reception facilities and corporate retreats. Located twelve blocks from the Mississippi on Millionaire's Row in the Middletown Historic District.
  • Comfort Inn, 11 Crossroads Ct., (618) 465-9999, [15]. Free continental breakfast, indoor heated pool, fitness center, and business center. Rooms include a micro-fridge, iron & ironing board, hairdryer, in-room safe, and high speed internet access.
  • Holiday Inn, 3800 Homer M. Adams Pkwy., (618) 462-1220, [16]. 137 guest rooms, Holidome, and indoor pool. Great if you're traveling with kids. There is also Franco's, a full service restaurant, and two lounges on site.
  • Jackson House Bed and Breakfast, 1821 Seminary St., (618) 462-1426, [17]. Located in upper Alton on ten wooded acres, bed and breakfast facilities include a Victorian home, remodeled barn, and an earth home known as "the cave." The cave is one of the few handicap accessible bed and breakfast facilities in the Greater Alton area. Pie is served with breakfast each morning.
  • Stratford Hotel, 229 Market, (618) 465-8821. Fifty room hotel and apartments. Air conditioning, Cable TV, Pets allowed. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Super 8 Motel, 1800 Homer M. Adams Pkwy, (618) 465-8885, [18]. Hotel amenities include: Super Start Plus breakfast, high speed wireless internet, 24-hour front desk, microwave/refrigerators and hairdryers in all rooms. Children under 18 stay free.
  • Tiffany Inn, 410 E. Broadway St., (618) 462-4145, [19]. Charming bed and breakfast above the Alton Stained Works in the historic Downtown Alton. Conveniently located in the heart of Alton's antique district within walking distance of quaint shops and restaurants. Packages that include bed and breakfast accommodations and stain glass making workshops are available.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ALTON, a city of Madison county, Illinois, U.S.A., in the W. part of the state, on the Mississippi river, about 10 m. above the mouth of the Missouri, and about 25 m. N. of St Louis, Missouri. Pop. (1890) 10,294; (1900) 14,210, of whom 1638 were foreign-born; (1910) 17,528. Alton is served by the Chicago & Alton, the Chicago, Peoria & St Louis, the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St Louis, and the Illinois Terminal railways. The river is here spanned by a bridge. The residential portion of the city lies on the river bluffs, some of which rise to a height of 250 ft. above the water level, and the business streets are on the bottom lands of the river. Alton has a public library and a public park. Upper Alton (pop. 2373 in 1900), about 12 m. N.E. of Alton, is the seat of the Western Military Academy (founded in 1879 as Wyman Institute; chartered in 1892), and of Shurtleff College (Baptist, founded in 1827 at Rock Spring, removed to Upper Alton in 1831, and chartered in 1833), which has a college of liberal arts, a divinity school, an academy and a school of music; and the village of Godfrey, 52 m. N. of Alton, is the seat of the Monticello Ladies' Seminary, founded by Benjamin Godfrey, opened in 1838, and chartered in 1841. Among the manufactures of Alton are iron and glass ware, miners' tools, shovels, coal-mine cars, flour, and agricultural implements; and there are a large oil refinery and a large lead smelter. The value of the city's factory products increased from $4,250,389 in 1900 to $8,696,814 in 1905, or 10 4.6%.

The first settlement on the site of Alton was made in 1807, when a trading post was established by the French. The town was laid out in 1817, was first incorporated in 1821, and in 1827 was made the seat of a state penitentiary, which was later removed to Joliet, the last prisoners being transferred in 1860. Alton was first chartered as a city in 1837. In 1836 the Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy(1802-1837), a native of Albion, Maine, removed the Observer, a religious (Presbyterian) periodical of which he was the editor, from St Louis to Alton. He had attracted considerable attention in St Louis by his criticisms of slavery, but though he believed in emancipation, he was not a radical abolitionist. After coming to Alton his anti-slavery views soon became more radical, and in a few months he was an avowed abolitionist. His views were shared by his brother, Owen Lovejoy (1811-1864), a Congregational minister, who also at that time lived in Alton, and who from 1857 until his death was an able anti-slavery member of Congress. Most of the people of southern Illinois were in sympathy with slavery, and consequently the Lovejoys became very unpopular. The press of the Observer was three time destroyed, and on the 7th of November 1837 E. P. Lovejoy was killed while attempting to defend against a mob a fourth press which he had recently obtained and which was stored in a warehouse in Alton. His death caused intense excitement throughout the country, and he was everywhere regarded by abolitionists as a martyr to their cause. In 1897 a monument, a granite column surmounted by a bronze statue of Victory, was erected in his honour by the citizens of Alton and by the state.

See Henry Tanner, The Martyrdom of Lovejoy (Chicago, 1881), and "The Alton Tragedy" in S. J. May's Some Recollections of Our Anti-Slavery Conflict (Boston, 1869).


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Simple English

Alton
City
Country United States
State Illinois
County Madison
Coordinates 38°54′2″N 90°9′35″W / 38.90056°N 90.15972°W / 38.90056; -90.15972 extra parameters (dms format) in {{Coord}}
Area 16.6 sq mi (43 km²)
 - land 16.6 sq mi (43 km²)
Density 1,949.3 /sq mi (753 /km²)
Mayor Donald E Sandidge
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code 62002
Area code 618
Location of Alton within Illinois

Wikimedia Commons: Alton, Illinois

Alton is a city in Madison County, Illinois, in the United States. About 34,500 people lived in Alton as of the year 2006.

Other websites

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