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.
The Legendary Piasa Bird Painted on the Bluffs above the Mississippi River
Industrial Museums learn refinery operations and how products such as gasoline, jet fuel, propane and asphalt are made at the Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery and Museum. The Mississippi Mud Pottery features artists as they demonstrate the molding of their unique pottery. At the National Great Rivers Museum and Melvin Price Locks & Dam feature the importance of the river system to America’s economy.
River Trails where great rivers converge with great moments in history at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and Confluence Tower; learn how they planned their journey west.
Hartford is at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and point of departure for Lewis and Clark.
Elsah continuing up the Great River Road and marvel at the numerous buildings that still exist. Most of the houses and building in the village were built in the mid- to late 1800s.
The Entire Village of Elsah is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Grafton’s riverfront was packed with manufacturing companies, mills, quarries, loading docks, and riverboat traffic in the 1800s. Today, it is a tourist destination with its specialty shops and wineries.
Architecture Trails many blocks of housing in Alton were built in the Victorian Queen Anne style during the prosperous period in the river city’s history at the top of the hill in the commercial area, several stone churches and city hall.
The Middletown Historic District was the center of wealth in the early days of Alton with homes reflecting the wealth of families and their descendants that led Alton society for more than a century. Brick sidewalks connect a park with a Victorian playhouse and an area called Insuranceville.
Upper Alton Historic District a cultural and educational center, Upper Alton was once a separate town anchored by a former military academy and the oldest continuously used educational buildings in Illinois.