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flag  History of Alton, Illinois, USA

Journey back in time to Alton, Illinois, USA

Visit Alton, Illinois, USA. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures, postcards and ancestry.

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Alton, Illinois, USA - Illini Island, Alton, Ill.

Alton, Madison, IL

Robert Wadlow was born in 1918 in Alton, and is the tallest person ever recorded in human history. He measured in at 8 feet 11.1 inches and was nicknamed the Alton Giant or the Giant of Illinois.

Before the Civil War, Alton was an important town for abolitionists, and was part of the Underground Railroad. Several homes were equipped to help slaves on to a safe passage in the North. Alton resident Lyman Trumbull co-wrote the
Thirteenth Amendment after the Civil War ended.


thetelegraph.com

There is MUCH more to discover about Alton, Illinois, USA. Read on!

Alton Nostalgia: Vintage Photos, Ads, and Postcards

Illini Island, Alton, Ill.
Alton, Illinois, USA

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Illini Island, Alton, Ill.
Shurtleff College, Upper Alton, Ill., 1908
Alton, Illinois, USA

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Shurtleff College, Upper Alton, Ill., 1908
Clifton Terrace Railroad Station, Alton, Ill.
Alton, Illinois, USA

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Clifton Terrace Railroad Station, Alton, Ill.
The Elk's Club
Alton, Illinois, USA

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The Elk's Club
Illini Hotel
Alton, Illinois, USA

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Illini Hotel
Western Military Academy, Upper Alton, Ill.
Alton, Illinois, USA

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Western Military Academy, Upper Alton, Ill.
Nazareth Home
Alton, Illinois, USA

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Nazareth Home
St. Joseph's Hospital
Alton, Illinois, USA

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St. Joseph's Hospital
Three Pagodas on the Bluffs, Alton, Ill., 1912
Alton, Illinois, USA

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Three Pagodas on the Bluffs, Alton, Ill., 1912
View of Standard Oil Plant, near Alton, Ill., 1912
Alton, Illinois, USA

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View of Standard Oil Plant, near Alton, Ill., 1912
State Street, 1912
Alton, Illinois, USA

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State Street, 1912
Third Street, 1912
Alton, Illinois, USA

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Third Street, 1912

Alton, Illinois, USA

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"Old Ladies Home," Alton, Ill., 1919
Scene along the Bluff Line, near Alton, Illinois
Alton, Illinois, USA

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Scene along the Bluff Line, near Alton, Illinois
Discover you family history through historical newspapers at Newspapers.com
City Hall
Alton, Illinois, USA

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City Hall
Alton Mineral Springs Hotel on Ill. State Route No. 3 IL 160-159 and U.S. No. 67 and MO. No. 99 at B
Alton, Illinois, USA

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Alton Mineral Springs Hotel on Ill. State Route No. 3 IL 160-159 and U.S. No. 67 and MO. No. 99 at Bridge Entrance
Headquarters Alton Automobile Club - A.A.A.
Lewis and Clark Bridges over Mississippi, Alton, Ill.
Alton, Illinois, USA

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Lewis and Clark Bridges over Mississippi, Alton, Ill.
Alton Memorial Hospital
Alton, Illinois, USA

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Alton Memorial Hospital
Memorial Gate, Entrance to Monticello College, Alton, Ill.
Alton, Illinois, USA

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Memorial Gate, Entrance to Monticello College, Alton, Ill.

Discover Alton: History, News, Travel, and Stories

Add informationAdd History/News/Story
1854 - Alton
Alton, a city and river port of Madison county, Illinois, on the Mississippi river, 21 miles above St. Louis, 3 miles above the mouth of the Missouri, and 70 miles 8. S. W. from Springfield. It has a favorable position for trade, and its landing is one of the best 1 on the river. A railroad has been completed from this place to Springfield, and two others are in coarse of construction, which will connect it with Jacksonville, and with Terre Haute, Indiana. Alton contained but few houses until the penitentiary was located here in 1832, since which it has increased rapidly. It has wide streets, several public squares, and a large space along the margin of the river reserved for a public landing and promenade. It contains about 6 churches, a lyceum, a theological seminary, and a news paper office. Upper Alton, 1 1/ 2 or 2 miles to the E., is the seat of Shurtleff College, under the direction of the Baptists. Large quarries of fine limestone have been opened near Alton, and stone coal and... Read MORE...

1857 - Destructive Fire At Alton, Ill.
Chicago, Saturday, April 18. A destructive conflagration occurred at Alton, Ill. On Thursday, destroying the planing Mill of MORRISON & BEAL, the Methodist Church parsonage house, and doing great damage to the WAVERLEY HOTEL, Piazza house, and the warehouse of HOLLISTER & COFFER. Total loss was $50,000.
The New York Times
New York, New York
May 20, 1857
1858 - Alton was the site of the last Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debate in October 1858.

1868 - Fire in Alton, Ill.
Louisville, Ky., Tuesday,. Feb. 18. FLACKENECKER'S grocery-store, and three or four adjoining buildings in Alton, Ill., were burned on Sunday night. The loss is about $15,000. The insurance has not been ascertained.
The New York Times
New York, New York
February 19, 1868
1885 - DAMAGE BY FIERCE STORM. HOUSES WRECKED, CROPS INJURED, AND LIVES LOST.
Alton, Ill., May 25. - This city was struck last night by a tornado, which burst from the southwest, sweeping across the river with terrific fury. Several large buildings on the river front were damaged, some of them seriously. Among them were the National Mills, the Roller Mills, J. A. RYERIE'S grocery store, HAWLEY'S warehouse, the DRURY - WADE Company's hardware store, the DRUMMOND - RANDALL, tobacco facctory, and the Illinois Glass Works. The most serious damage was to RYERIE'S store, the third story being wrecked and half the roof taken off. Wooden awnings, fences, and shade trees were blown down in all directions. Three freight cars on the Chicago and Alton siding were blown off, blocking the main track. The minor losses throughout the city aggregate a large amount, and it is feared the damage in the lowlands across the river was serious. Large planks and timbers were carried a long distance. Several pieces of stone coping on the fire wall of the Roller Mill, each weighing 400... Read MORE...

1893 - January 21 - Nine persons were killed, twelve fatally injured, and a hundred others burned by oil in a collision on the "Big Four" Road, near Alton, Ill.

The World Almanac and Book of Facts, Volume 1894 Press Publishing Company. 1894
1895 - Alton
Alton, all'ton, a handsome city and river port of Madison co., Ill., on the Mississippi River, 8 miles above the mouth of the Missouri, 25 miles above St. Louis, and 257 miles S.S.W. of Chicago. Lat. 38° 20' N. It is the south west terminus of the Chicago & Alton Railroad, and is on the Chicago, Burlington Quincy and the Springfield, Alton & St. Louis Railroads. It is situated on a high limestone bluff, which rises about 200 feet above the river, and is built on hilly or uneven ground. It contains a Roman Catholic cathedral, a high school, 15 churches, a Catholic hospital, a convent, an academy, 2 national banks, a city hall, and a public library. Two daily and 3 weekly newspapers are published here. Alton is the seat of a Catholic bishop. It has 5 large flouring-mills, a woollen-factory, a manufactory of church organs, and several glass-factories, machine-shops, brick-yards, saw-mills, planing-mills, &c., and manufactures of lime, cement, cigars, crackers, farming implements,... Read MORE...

1923 - NINE KILLED, 25 HURT IN POWDER EXPLOSION
ALTON, Ill., July 10 (Associated Press) — Nine persons were killed and twenty-five injured in an explosion this afternoon in the metallic shell department of the Western Cartridge Company plant at East Alton.

Three of the dead are women — Miss Anna Gorman of Alton, Miss Ruth Green of East Alton and Miss Hazel Young of Rockford. The men were William Brummer of East Alton, Frank Bennes of Alton, Russell Reyburn of Brownstown, III., Charles Hawkln of Alton and Howard Hunter of Alton. Two of those injured will die, it is feared, while several others are said to be in a serious condition.

The most seriously-injured are Mrs. Bessie Jenkins and Mrs. Minnie Wagner, for whose recovery little hope was held out tonight.

The cause of the explosion has not been ascertained. It occurred in a fireproof structure in which about fifty employees, mostly women, were extracting powder from cartridges.

Fire followed the explosion, but was soon extinguished. Today's explosion was said to have... Read MORE...

1926 - FOUR MEN KILLED, FIVE INJURED, IN REFINERY BLAST. EXPLOSION, CAUSE OF WHICH IS UNKNOWN, OCCURS IN LIQUID ASPHALT MIXING TANK OF PLANT.
Alton, Illinois, June 14. - (AP) - Four men were killed and five injured in an explosion and fire at the refinery of the Standard Oil Company of Indiana at Wood River, near here, today. According to a statement by company officials, the explosion, the cause of which is unknown, occurred in the liquid asphalt mixing tank. A pitch still nearby was ignited where were employed the men killed or injured.

The dead:
JOSEPH LUPPENS, 25, Wood River.
FRANK M. GIRARD, 26, Wood River.
WILLIAM H. KOEHNE, 25, Wood River.
HENRY KINGERY, 25, East Alton.
The injured:
BERT E. HUFF, 24, Wood River.
HAROLD R. BRYANT, 21, Wood River.
ALCIDE BRANDT, 31, Upper Alton.

Two other men - R. MOORE and C. PELAN - both of Wood River, were injured and given first aid treatment at the plant. The other four are at St. Joseph's hospital here. The men killed and injured, it was said at the office and of the Standard Oil Company, were employed on a pipe line close by the pitch stillls. The bodies of the men ... Read MORE...

2023 - Here's a list of some of the best places to go and things to do in Alton:
Visit the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center: Start your journey by exploring the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. This center provides an in-depth look at the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition, with informative exhibits and beautiful views of the river. It's a great place to learn about the history of Alton and its role in westward expansion.

Alton Museum of History and Art: If you're interested in local history and art, make sure to stop by the Alton Museum of History and Art. It houses a diverse collection of artifacts and artwork that showcase the city's rich cultural heritage.

Elijah P. Lovejoy Monument: Pay your respects to a significant figure in the abolitionist movement at the Elijah P. Lovejoy Monument. Lovejoy, a newspaper editor, and abolitionist, was murdered by a pro-slavery mob in Alton in 1837. The monument serves as a reminder of his commitment to the anti-slavery cause.

Take a Riverboat Cruise: The Mississippi River is a central part of Alton's... Read MORE...

Discover MY Roots: Alton Ancestry

Ancestors Who Were Born or Died in Alton, Illinois, USA

We currently have information about ancestors who were born or died in Alton.

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female ancestorMary Elizabeth SCOTT (27 November 1837, Maumee, Ohio, USA - 18 November 1921, Alton, Illinois, USA)
female ancestorBlanche EVERTS (16 September 1872, Alton, Illinois, USA - 17 October 1962, Los Angeles, California, USA)
photo of John Merrill OLINJohn Merrill OLIN (10 November 1892, Alton, Illinois, USA - 8 September 1982, East Hampton, Suffolk, New York, USA)
photo of Everts MOULTONEverts MOULTON (14 June 1898, Alton, Illinois, USA - 28 October 1982, Long Beach, California, USA)
photo of Spencer Truman OLINSpencer Truman OLIN (20 August 1900, Alton, Illinois, USA - 14 April 1995, Jupiter Island, Martin, Florida, USA)
male ancestorJohn Hollis MOULTON (13 September 1900, Alton, Illinois, USA - 31 October 1990, Nokomis, Florida, USA)
female ancestorRuth MOULTON (12 June 1908, Alton, Illinois, USA - 30 May 2006, Santa Barbara, California, USA)
female ancestorPauline Katherine ASH (16 April 1921, Alton, Illinois, USA - 7 November 1989, Sun City, Maricopa, Arizona, USA)
male ancestorLarry MYERS (10/1940, Alton, Illinois, USA - 01/2009, Wood River, Illinois, USA )

Ancestors Who Were Married in Alton, Illinois, USA

We currently have information about ancestors who were married in Alton.

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male ancestorJohn Henry MOULTON (14 July 1870 - 28 August 1974) and female ancestorBlanche EVERTS (16 September 1872 - 17 October 1962) married 2 December 1896

Genealogy Resources for Alton

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Updated: 9/14/2023 4:54:47 PM