“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
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Historical Markers and War Memorials in Alton, Illinois

Clickable Map of Madison County, Illinois and Immediately Adjacent Jurisdictions image/svg+xml 2019-10-06 U.S. Census Bureau, Abe.suleiman; Lokal_Profil;; J.J.Prats/dc:title> Madison County, IL (213) Bond County, IL (25) Clinton County, IL (32) Jersey County, IL (17) Macoupin County, IL (30) Montgomery County, IL (19) St. Clair County, IL (222) St. Charles County, MO (226) St. Louis County, MO (757) St. Louis County, MO (555)  MadisonCounty(213) Madison County (213)  BondCounty(25) Bond County (25)  ClintonCounty(32) Clinton County (32)  JerseyCounty(17) Jersey County (17)  MacoupinCounty(30) Macoupin County (30)  MontgomeryCounty(19) Montgomery County (19)  St.ClairCounty(222) St. Clair County (222)  St.CharlesCountyMissouri(226) St. Charles County (226)  St.Louis(757) St. Louis (757)  St.LouisCounty(555) St. Louis County (555)
Edwardsville is the county seat for Madison County
Alton is in Madison County
      Madison County (213)  
      Bond County (25)  
      Clinton County (32)  
      Jersey County (17)  
      Macoupin County (30)  
      Montgomery County (19)  
      St. Clair County (222)  
      St. Charles County, Missouri (226)  
      St. Louis, Missouri (757)  
      St. Louis County, Missouri (555)  
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1 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — A Changing Waterfront
The view from the Alton waterfront has changed dramatically through the years. In the past, the view was dominated by Locks and Dam No. 26, a railroad bridge, and the old Clark Bridge. Today, all three of these structures have been removed, while . . . Map (db m133282) HM
2 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — A National Cemetery System
Civil War Dead An estimated 700,000 Union and Confederate soldiers died in the Civil War between April 1861 and April 1865. As the death toll rose, the U.S. government struggled with the urgent but unplanned need to bury fallen Union . . . Map (db m185503) HM
3 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — After The WarFrom Prison to Parking Lot
The Alton Military Prison closed July 7, 1865 when the last prisoners were released or sent to St. Louis The buildings were torn down over the next twenty year until only a small remnant of the cell back remained Stone from the prison buildings . . . Map (db m211807) HM
4 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — 4 — Alton & Sangamon Railroad
"Drive the Locomotive through our land, and you will have business, activity, prosperity, and mettle." -Benjamin Godfrey In 1834, a group of visionaries in Springfield, Illinois, led by Abraham Lincoln, proposed laying railroad tracks . . . Map (db m144836) HM
5 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Alton and the Flood of '93
In the summer of 1993, very heavy and extensive rains began falling in the upper Midwest. This historic event pushed the Mississippi and Missouri rivers to record flood levels, and caused one of the most dramatic and damaging natural disasters in . . . Map (db m133279) HM
6 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Alton National Cemetery
Civil War Alton In spring, 1861, pro-Confederate militia in St. Louis, Missouri, threatened to capture the U.S. arsenal there. Union forces in Illinois commandeered the steamboat City of Alton, sailed south, and and at midnight on . . . Map (db m133299) HM
7 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — College Avenue Presbyterian Church1837
College Avenue Presbyterian Church, established 1837, formerly Upper Alton Presbyterian Church, heralds Elijah Parish Lovejoy, editor and martyr to freedom, as its first pastor. Emerson wrote, "The brave Lovejoy gave his breast to the bullets . . . Map (db m142158) HM
8 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — College Avenue Presbyterian Church and the Old Rock HouseThe Anti-Slavery Society Is Born
This is the third church to be built here since 1836. The first church was made of stone and was built late in 1836 on the present site. The land and church's bell were donated by Enoch Long. Elijah Parish Lovejoy was the first pastor . . . Map (db m144833) HM
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9 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Confederate Cemetery Monument
. . . Map (db m154167) WM
10 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Discover History All Around AltonLooking for Lincoln
Rich in heritage and haunted by history, many threads of our nation's past can be discovered here in Alton. Located at the confluence of the Mississippi, Illinois, and Missouri rivers, Alton is one of America's great river towns. It was . . . Map (db m133286) HM
11 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Elijah Parish Lovejoy
Elijah Parish Lovejoy (Nov. 9, 1802 - Nov. 7, 1837) was a newspaper editor, social reformer, and Presbyterian minister whose death at the hands of an angry mob at Alton, Illinois, made him an enduring symbol of the fight for human liberty and . . . Map (db m133297) HM
12 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Elijah Parish Lovejoy
[South side] Editor Alton Observer Albion, Me., Nov. 8. 1802. Alton, Ill., Nov. 7, 1837. A Martyr to Liberty "I have sworn eternal opposition to slavery, and by the blessing of God I will never turn back." . . . Map (db m133298) HM
13 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Elijah Parish Lovejoy
Elijah Parish Lovejoy was the first pastor of Upper Alton Presbyterian Church, now College Avenue Presbyterian Church. A minister, teacher, newspaper editor, and martyr to free speech and the abolition of slavery, he was fatally shot on Nov. 7, . . . Map (db m142159) HM
14 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — First Soybeans Planted in Illinois, 1851
Bitten by gold rush fever in 1849, Dr. Benjamin F. Edwards, brother to former Illinois governor Ninian Edwards and the Honorable Cyrus Edwards, left Alton and traveled to San Francisco to try to capitalize on the economic opportunity. Days before he . . . Map (db m140668) HM
15 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Freedom Shrine
Theodore Roosevelt Letter On Cuba On January 22, 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt wrote to Secretary of War William Howard Taft rejecting the idea of a protectorate over Cuba and expressing his determination that the United States should . . . Map (db m169581) HM
16 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Freedom's MartyrElijah P. Lovejoy — Looking for Lincoln —
Considered by many to be the first casualty of the Civil War, abolitionist editor and Presbyterian minister Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy was killed defending the freedom of the press. Editor of the St. Louis Observer, Lovejoy wrote . . . Map (db m133295) HM
17 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — 1 — 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, . . . Map (db m144832) HM
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18 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Great River Floods
Throughout history, Mississippi River floods have been a part of the natural cycle of life [unreadable]. During each flood, residents have worked to lessen damage, and have slowly rebuilt their towns, their farms, and their lives. Today, a modern . . . Map (db m133280) HM
19 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Haskell Playhouse
This unique Queen Anne style playhouse was built in 1885 for five year old Lucy J. Haskell, daughter of Dr. William A. and Florence Hayner Haskell. It is believed Lucy's grandfather, John E. Hayner, commissioned prominent local architect, Lucas J. . . . Map (db m133293) HM
20 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — In Remembrance - Wood River Massacre - July 10, 1814
In remembrance of the pioneer days of this area and to the memory of the victims of the Wood River Massacre who were killed by Indians near this site on July 10, 1814 - Rachel Reagan, Elizabeth 7, Timothy 3 wife and children of Reason Reagan - . . . Map (db m47661) HM
21 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — John Mason Peck
On this site in 1831, John Mason Peck (1789-1858), pioneer Baptist preacher, author, and educator, established the school which became Shurtleff College. In 1817, Peck had left his home in New England with a vision "to bring the lamp of learning and . . . Map (db m139658) HM
22 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Alton
The seventh and last debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas in the 1858 U.S. Senatorial Campaign was held at this site on October 15. Approximately five thousand people gathered in front of the old City Hall to hear the two . . . Map (db m154153) HM
23 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Lincoln-Douglas Debates!Lincoln's Rise to Prominence
The two life-like statues represent a monumental event in our nation's history—the Lincoln-Douglas debates. For a decade, the Illinois U.S. Senate seat was held by Stephen A. Douglas, one of the most famous politicians of his time. . . . Map (db m133288) HM
24 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Lovejoy Assassination SiteNov. 7, 1837
The warehouse of Godfrey, Gilman & Co. was situated at the foot of William Street near where the flour mill is located today. Broadway was a one lane street at that time called Short Street. The building was stone, three stories on the street . . . Map (db m211806) HM
25 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Lyman Trumbull HouseNew Birth of Freedom — Looking for Lincoln —
The stately house down the block once housed the co-author of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free—honorable alike in what we give and what we . . . Map (db m133291) HM
26 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Miles DavisMay 26, 1926 - September 28, 1991 — Alton, Illinois - Birthplace of the Cool —
Miles Dewey Davis III is noted as one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th century. The son of a successful dental surgeon and music teacher, he was born in Alton, Illinois prior to the family relocating to East St. Louis, Illinois in . . . Map (db m144775) HM
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27 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — North Alton Confederate Cemetery
Alton Military Prison In late 1861, Union Gen. Henry Halleck received permission to use the former Illinois State Penitentiary in Alton, Illinois, as a military prison. The old prison had 256 cells, a hospital, a warden's house, and . . . Map (db m154164) HM
28 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — 5 — Plank Road
"Godfrey [Illinois] was in the forefront of the early-day road paving enterprise of a century ago…that was the day of the celebrated plank toll roads." - Alton Evening Telegraph, July 17, 1952 In 1836, during construction of Monticello . . . Map (db m144919) HM
29 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Prisoners at Alton Military Prison1862-1865
Prisoners at Alton Military Prison The Alton Military Prison was inhabited by four different classes of prisoner, Confederates, civilians, Federal soldiers and a group called guerillas or bushwhackers. Confederate prisoners of war made up . . . Map (db m211487) HM
30 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Robert Pershing Wadlow
Robert Pershing Wadlow, Alton's gentleman giant, was born February 22, 1918. He lived most of his life in Alton, where he attended Alton High School and Shurtleff College, now the campus of S.I.U.E. Dental School. At age five, Robert was 5'6" tall . . . Map (db m140133) HM
31 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Ruins of First State Prison in Illinois
Ruins of first state prison in Illinois. Built in 1830-31. Unsanitary conditions aroused persistent criticism from Dorothea Dix, pioneer in prison reform. All inmates were transferred to Joliet prior to 1860. During the Civil War many Confederate . . . Map (db m144762) HM
32 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Ryder BuildingLincoln Practiced Here — Life Before Presidency —
Lincoln made frequent legal and political trips to Alton putting him in the heart of Alton history. For nearly twenty-five years before becoming president, Lincoln was a general practice attorney, representing clients in a variety of . . . Map (db m133290) HM
33 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Scott Bibb and the Alton School Desegregation Case(1897-1908)
Scott Bibb (1855-1909) was the plaintiff in the Alton School Case, a series of lawsuits that sought to retain Alton's desegregated schools, which had existed in Alton from 1872 to 1897, a short-lived outcome of the Reconstruction era. When Alton . . . Map (db m133294) HM
34 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Setting the Stage for the Great Debate
The Franklin House hotel served as Lincoln's debate headquarters and reception area during the final debate. In 1858, great debates were staged for the public with carnival-like appeal. People came from across Illinois and nearby states to . . . Map (db m164649) HM
35 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Smallpox IslandThe Deadly Epidemic
A now-submerged island directly across from you is a mass gravesite for hundreds of Confederate solders. "In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all and to the young it comes with bittersweet agony, because it takes them . . . Map (db m133283) HM
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36 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — 2 — St. Paul's Episcopal Church
"He had been in Alton scarcely a year when he began the building with his own funds, of a neat stone church on the corner of Third and Market Street and offered the building for use of all organized religious bodies in the town. From that time . . . Map (db m144835) HM
37 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — The Alton Military Prison1862-1865
The Civil War began at Fort Sumpter on April 12, 1861 and Alton became a stopping off point for thousands of Union soldiers. Rail lines brought the soldiers to the river front and they boarded steamers for Southern battlefields. By December, . . . Map (db m211069) HM WM
38 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — The Cost of Freedom
More people died during the Civil War than during any other war in U.S. history. An estimated 200 Union soldiers are buried at the Alton Cemetery. More than three million fought in the Civil War. Two percent of the population—more than . . . Map (db m133300) HM
39 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — The Duel That Never Happened
An island in the Mississippi River across from Alton was the site of one of Abraham Lincoln's less celebrated adventures. "I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday." — Abraham . . . Map (db m133285) HM
40 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — The First Illinois State Penitentiary
The Illinois State Penitentiary at Alton was the first institution built with public funds in Illinois. Previously, prisoners sentenced in county courts were incarcerated in crude buildings, often constructed of logs that were inadequate for the . . . Map (db m211622) HM
41 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — The Legend of the Piasa
In 1673 Jacques Marquette reported that he and fellow French explorer Louis Jolliet discovered a Painting of what was probably two "Water Monsters" on the bluffs of the Mississippi River near present day Alton. By 1700 those pictographic creatures . . . Map (db m89339) HM
42 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Those Who Remain
While the Alton Military Prison operated here during the Civil War, there were approximately 1,570 deaths among the soldiers and civilians and about 200 deaths among the Union soldiers who acted as their keepers. Burials occurred in three places, . . . Map (db m210695) HM
43 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Units Guarding the Alton Military Prison1862-1865
Units assigned to guard the Alton Federal Military Prison 13th U.S. Regular Infantry Ordered to Alton February, 1862 77th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Ordered to Alton August, 1862 37th Iowa Volunteer Infantry (The . . . Map (db m210701) HM
44 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Veterans Memorial
Plaque 1. This memorial is erected to commemorate the patriotism and devotion of our citizens who answered our country's call and served in the World War. Plaque 2. Let us have faith in that right makes might, and in that . . . Map (db m55500) HM
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45 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Veterans Memorial
Point of Life In dedication to these men who gave their lives in the pursuit of peace during the Vietnam Conflict. May these roots grow deep. Harman R. Armstrong, Pfc USMC • Norman L. Barton, Pfc USA • James I. Burgoyne, WO USA • . . . Map (db m169579) HM WM
46 Illinois, Madison County, Alton — Veterans Memorial Fountain
This fountain is dedicated to the men and women who serve their country in the military service Past — Present — Futue Map (db m169586) WM
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May. 31, 2023