Alton in Madison County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Godfrey, Gilman & Co. Warehouse
"Lovejoy's tragic death for freedom in every sense marked his sad ending as the most important single event that ever happened in the new world." - Abraham Lincoln in a letter to his friend Rev. James Lemen, March 2, 1857
In 1832, Benjamin Godfrey went into business with Winthrop Gilman. They founded Godfrey, Gilman & Company to ship fur, livestock, and agricultural goods to New Orleans, bypassing St. Louis as a transportation hub. They constructed a four-story stone warehouse at the end of William Street, right at the edge of the Mississippi River. By 1835, they were the most successful shipping company in Illinois, but that success would be short-lived. The rippling effects of the nationwide Panic of 1837, one of the greatest economic depressions in United States history, forced the company to dissolve in the early 1840s.
It was within the walls of this warehouse that Elijah P. Lovejoy perished on November 7, 1837, defending his printing press and right to freedom of speech. A portion of Lovejoy's press is on permanent display at Hayner Genealogy & Local History Library.
Erected 2019 by Benjamin Godfrey Legacy Trail Committee (sponsored by Ardent Mills). (Marker Number 1.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RR • Communications • Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1832.
Location. 38° 53.481′ N, 90° 11.369′ W. Marker is in Alton, Illinois, in Madison County. Marker is on William Street north of West Broadway (Illinois Route 100), on the right when traveling south. Marker is next to the Confederate Prison Site. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 217 William Street, Alton IL 62002, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Ruins of First State Prison in Illinois (here, next to this marker); Setting the Stage for the Great Debate (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Miles Davis (about 600 feet away); Alton & Sangamon Railroad (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Alton (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lincoln-Douglas Debates! (approx. ¼ mile away); Discover History All Around Alton (approx. ¼ mile away); St. Paul's Episcopal Church (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Alton.
More about this marker. This is the first of nine markers that commemorate the Benjamin Godfrey Legacy Trail.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 23, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 22, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 287 times since then and 94 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on January 22, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.