Louisville St. Louis Alton Davenport Galena Red Wing St. Paul
Louisville was founded by George Rogers Clark in 1778 becoming Kentucky’s largest city by 1830. Strategically located at the Falls of the Ohio, Louisville was a major commercial center with river transportation supplemented by the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, chartered in 1850 and operating 1,800 miles by 1920.
A City of Firsts with a Colorful Past
First in the Nation to introduce the secret ballot and adopt zoning and planning measures to control and shape urban growth, the first bridge designed exclusively for motor vehicles to cross the Ohio River, and birthplace of Mary Millicent Miller, the first woman in the United States to receive a steamboat master’s license. Famous citizens include President Zachary Taylor, two U.S. Supreme Court Justices, naturalist John James Audubon and boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
Neighborhoods Louisville’s earliest neighborhoods were incorporated river towns each with its own strong sense of neighborhood identity. The area saw an influx of German and Irish immigrants and, with the advent of streetcars, suburban growth. 1890-1930 streetcars marked the era of the beginning of the city’s suburbs combining rural ambiance with urban amenities.
Downtown St. Louis has undergone a myriad of changes and modifications since its days as a garment and shoe manufacturing center. The Loft District is home to major corporations, small businesses, residential lofts, boutiques, galleries, restaurants and nightspots. The neighborhood’s evolution has returned the once proud historic buildings to service.
The Gateway Arch soars 630 feet above downtown St. Louis. America’s tallest man-made monument offers a 30-mile panoramic view of the Mississippi River and the city; it was built to honor President Thomas Jefferson and his vision of a continental United States.
The Central West End is over a century old and full of charming sidewalk cafés, galleries, antique shops, restaurants, boutiques and pubs. Adjacent to the commercial district, it is characterized by tree-lined streets, stately turn-of-the-century homes and the family apartment of playwright Tennessee Williams, setting of his play The Glass Menagerie.
Webster Groves is an enclave filled with century-old homes and a mélange of architectural styles with cultural offerings, cozy restaurants, and boutiques. Over 300 of the community’s homes are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The neighborhood includes the 1857 Hawken House, built by inventors of the rifle that explorers took to the western frontier, Webster University and the Loretto-Hilton Theatre.
Soulard is the city’s oldest neighborhood. Its historic streets, lined with red brick townhomes, are located five minutes south of the Arch. It is named for Antoine Soulard, a Frenchman who surveyed colonial St. Louis and is home to historic churches, built by St. Louis’ immigrant communities. Soulard marks its French heritage with an annual Mardi Gras fête; revelers also flock to the neighborhood in the fall for Oktoberfest. The Farmers Market has been operating since 1779.
Laclede’s Landing is where 19th century architecture meets 21st century dining and entertainment. The Landing is a collection of historic riverfront warehouses that have been converted into nightclubs and restaurants.
Alton is located 25 Miles north of St. Louis amid the confluence of three navigable rivers, the Mississippi, the Illinois and the Missouri, as a river trading and industrial town whose waterfront features concrete grain silos and railroad tracks for the shipping of grains and produce. Once the site of several brick factories, Alton’s streets are paved in brick along with many commercial buildings located downtown. The Great Rivers Region is accessible from six interstates, an international airport and an Amtrak station.
Historic Trails Alton’s Civil War and Lincoln Legacy Trail features costumed docents at sites throughout the city revealing Alton’s legacy through personal tales along with the Underground Railroad, where runaway slaves were hidden in caves, barns and basements. The Alton Museum of History and Art has special exhibits relating to Alton’s connection to the Civil War era.
Your River Towns and Neighborhoods Itinerary
on the Ohio and Upper Mississippi
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The Quad Cities area consists of Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Moline, East Moline and Rock Island in Illinois. The region has the excitement of a big city and the hospitality of a small town with award-winning museums and cultural centers, internationally-recognized festivals, beautiful riverfronts and a vibrant nightlife.
Davenport has beautiful riverfront vistas and an active downtown area with the Figge Art and Putnam History Museums and great shopping at the North Park Mall. Bettendorf the Library and adjacent Family Museum provide exciting programs and storytelling. Rock Island is known for its festivals and nightlife with Cajun food and zydeco music. Experience a downtown architectural tour and the Broadway Historic District. Moline is one of the agricultural capitals of the world, home of John Deere. The modern downtown area features great riverfront views and evening entertainment with musicals performed by local actors. East Moline is home to many great events and festivities. Empire Park is right on the Mississippi River, walk along the riverfront trails of The Quarter or visit to the John Deere Harvester Works, one of the world’s largest combine factories.
The Galena Historic District Main Street was among the first to require the architectural review of exterior building modifications. Also, zoning restrictions contributed to the prevalence of brick buildings and efforts to improve the existing infrastructure while preserving the character of this neighborhood. Trolley Cars follow parade routes north and south on Main Street and connect shopping to parks and wineries. Main Street in Galena has specialty shops, restaurants and is home to DeSoto House Hotel which opened in 1855 and is the oldest operating hotel in Illinois.
The Galena Historic District is Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
Environment Because of the city’s proximity to the Galena River, buildings have been threatened on numerous occasions by flooding. In 2011, over a 12-hour period, Galena received nearly 15 inches of rain and he Galena River rose to more than twice its normal height. A dike and floodgates were built to prevent flooding of the city.
The River Towns of southeast Minnesota are located 60 miles from the Twin Cities. Winona is an arts and cultural center with three major galleries that hold works by Picasso, Van Gogh and Monet that depict lakes, oceans and rivers. The Garvin Heights overlook features panoramic views of the town and Mississippi River Valley. Follow the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway to New Ulm and experience Old World German heritage through unique architecture, restaurants and shops selling German imports, from chocolates to cuckoo clocks. A traditional Glockenspiel features figures from the town’s history.
Red Wing was officially incorporated in 1857. Located in the Mississippi River Valley and flanked by rolling bluffs, the town is a leading manufacturer of leather, pottery and Red Wing Shoes. The town is named for the Native American Chief who first met a US Army Officer in 1805. Tucked between bluffs and the river, Red Wing has many historic Victorian properties and farmhouses, including the St James hotel that dates to the 1880s. It overlooks the Mississippi River near the 1904 Amtrak Depot, home to an art gallery and a visitor center.
Minnesota means clear blue water from the Dakota language. Nearly 60 percent of the population lives in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the center of transportation, business, industry, education, government and an internationally renowned arts community. The remainder of the Land of 10,000 Lakes consists of western prairies, forests in the southeast and mining, forestry, and recreation in the North Woods.
The Twin Cities besides the Mississippi river, they are also connected by the Metro Green Line light rail, which runs between Minneapolis’ Target Field and St. Paul’s Union Depot, with more than 20 stops.
Performing Arts Minnesota is home to older stages that have been restored. Fergus Falls built in 1921 as the Orpheus, and later known as the Fergus Theatre, this venue has evolved from vaudeville to film and back to stage performances. The Center for the Arts remodeled and updated the space in 1995, showcasing a variety of live performances.
Summit Brewing in St Paul is a leader of the modern Minnesota craft beer movement with the release of its ever-popular Extra Pale Ale in 1986. Since its launch, the brewery has expanded both its production facility in St. Paul and its brewing horizons, releasing new year-round and limited-run beers that are among the most popular in the Upper Midwest.