Showing 1-40 of 40 items found in History
National Great Rivers Museum
Located adjacent to the Melvin Price Locks and Dam, this museum is dedicated to telling the story of the Mississippi River, from its colorful history to its modern-day role as a major transportation corridor. The museum features kid-friendly, interactive and computer animated exhibits. Steer a towboat through the locks and dam via simulator, measure your water consumption or come face-to-face with river fish in the aquarium. Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower
The Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower is dedicated to the duo's history-making journey, and serves as a gateway to the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway. The Corps of Discovery voyage began here on May 14, 1804, at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Take the elevator up to the top of the 180-foot-tall tower, where you’ll step out to panoramic views of the swirling river waters (the view is particularly stunning at sunset). On platforms located at 50, 100 and 150 feet visitors learn about the early days of Hartford, as well as Lewis and Clark's journey.
J.E. Robinson Underground Railroad Tours
In the early 1800s, Alton became a safe haven for slaves escaping from the bonds of slavery. Because of the area's neighboring slave state of Missouri, runaways found refuge in the free land surrounding Alton. The tunnels of the Underground Railroad run deep beneath the streets along the "Alton Route." The area was a major stop along the Underground Railroad, hiding slaves in caves, barns and basements throughout Alton, Otterville and Jerseyville. Hear the slave's tales, feel their fear and learn about Alton's remarkable past on an Underground Railroad Tour. Tours available by appointment only.
Ruebel Hotel & Restaurant
Located near the convergence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers is Grafton - a little town steeped in history. In the heart of that history is the Ruebel Hotel. The Ruebel was built in 1884, caught fire in 1912 and was rebuilt and completely renovated in 1997. The Ruebel Hotel has a magnificently restored bar from the 1904 Worlds Fair in St. Louis. The Ruebel Saloon offers excellent food and a great variety of beer and wines.
Lincoln & Civil War Legacy Trail
Walk in the footsteps of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, and Civil War soldiers from both North and South. Experience the life of young Lincoln as a lawyer, duelist and orator. It was here that the final Lincoln-Douglas Debate took place, with the issue of slavery on the minds of spectators. It was here that Confederate soldiers were held captive, died and were buried. It was here that Alton resident and U.S. Senator Lyman Trumbull authored the 13th Amendment, putting an end to slavery in the United States. Experience the 11 historic sites interpreted along the Lincoln & Civil War Legacy Trail.
Lewis and Clark State Historic Site
The Lewis and Clark State Historic Site commemorates Camp Dubois, the 1803-1804 winter camp of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. It was at Camp Dubois that members of the Corps of Discovery prepared for their expedition to the Pacific Ocean. The 14,000 square-foot exhibit space contains six galleries that outline the background and history of the Lewis and Clark expedition from its conception to its meaning for today's America. Exhibits are kid-friendly, offering opportunities for hands-on engagement. A "reconstruction" of the winter camp, Camp Dubois, is located on the grounds near the visitor center. Its design reflects 1803 U.S. Army regulations for the construction of military posts. Interpreters are on-site daily in the camp to explain how the men prepared for the journey.
Confederate Prison Site
Built in 1833, Alton houses Illinois' first state penitentiary. During the Civil War, the facility imprisoned thousands of Confederate soldiers. Partial remains of the structure can still be observed today.
Jeni J's Guest House
Stroll the streets of Grafton with the great rivers at your doorstep. From a stone terrace overlooking the junction of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, Jeni J's offers the choice of 3 cottages with 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms. Built in the early 1800's, the cottages are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Situated between the two cottages, take the time to stop into Jeni J's gift shop for a memento of your trip.
Piasa Bird Mural at Piasa Park
Located on the edge of Alton, Piasa Park is an attractive stop for motorists, picnickers and bicyclists. The park is set at the base of the giant Piasa Bird mural that is painted on the side of a huge bluff. A large granite arrowhead tells the story of the Piasa Bird, which, according to legend, Chief Ouatoga and his 20 warriors killed with poison darts.
Mineral Springs Haunted Tours
Take an eight-block tour of some of the haunted locations in downtown Alton, investigate the four floors of the Mineral Springs Hotel, be part of a seance and top the evening off with a tarot card reading. All tours begin and end at the Mineral Springs Mall. Tour options include New Moon Haunted Tours, Waking the Dead Walking Tours, Cemetery Tours and Haunted Overnights.
Beall Mansion Historic Tours
Tour the mansion built as a wedding present by railroad baron and riverboat magnate Z.B. Job for his son and bride Mary Drummond, heiress to the Drummond tobacco fortune. Today this three-story mansion serves as a bed and breakfast.
Alton Museum of History and Art
Winged monsters, explorers, riverboats and a gentle giant. The Alton Museum of History & Art shows the crossroads of American history in Alton. The museum is located in the historic Loomis Hall across from the Wadlow statue. Loomis Hall is the oldest building in the state of Illinois continuously utilized for education. One of the most popular rooms, the Wadlow Room, pays tribute to Alton's "Gentle Giant" and the World's Tallest Man. The Pioneer Room explores the history of Alton from the Lewis & Clark Expedition to the Civil War with exhibits on Elijah Lovejoy, the Lincoln-Douglas Debates and the "Alton Route" on the Underground Railroad. Hours: Wednesday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Sunday 1 - 4 p.m.
When just about any native of the Alton area thinks of a haunted house, normally one name comes to mind - the infamous McPike Mansion. Thousands of visitors and paranormal investigators have visited the grounds of the notorious McPike Mansion claiming spirits still roam this property. Some claim the haunts date back to the property before the mansion was even built, with native American ghosts and a residue from a possible Underground Railroad stop. Other mysterious stories include servants of the building, a cook in the kitchen and a strange death of a woman in the bathtub. Some even believe that Eleanor and Henry McPike still roam the corridors of their former home. All total, more than 11 different spirits have been experienced in recent years.
Center For American Archeology
Located in Kampsville, the Center for American Archeology Museum is housed in the historic Kamp Store, offering a variety of exhibits focusing on the 10,000 year pre-history of the lower Illinois River Valley, the archeological history of Illinois and the history of the Kamp Store. Guided tours of the facility and excavation sites are available for groups of ten or more.
Old Fire Engine Museum
Learn how firemen fought fires throughout history. See all of the antique firefighting memorabilia.
The final debate of Stephan A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln took place in front of Alton's city hall at the corner of Broadway and Market Streets. The senatorial debate drew national attention along with more that 6,000 visitors. Life-like statues of the two statesmen keep the famous series of debates in 1858 frozen forever in time.
Fulkerson Mansion and Farm Museum
Colonel William H. Fulkerson's mansion and farm museum contains many rare agricultural items and equipment with emphasis on large, rare farm steam traction engines, utilized for plowing the prairie, threshing the grain, and for powering early sawmills. The estate is 14-room Southern-style Victorian mansion that has remained virtually unchanged to this day. It was placed on the National Historic Register of Historic Places in 1998.
Wood River Refinery History Museum
Step back in time more than 75 years at the Shell History Museum in Roxana, Illinois. Trace the history of Shell Wood River and neighboring communities as you look at early photographs and the many items of interest, including vintage gasoline pumps, glass motor oil bottles Shell product advertising and city maps.
Old Six Mile Museum in the Emmert-Zippel House
This 158-year-old home has displays of historic items including Civil War artifacts, a Native American collection, and 1830s furnishings.
Robert Wadlow Statue
In 1918, Alton became the famous birthplace of Robert Wadlow, "The Gentle Giant." Born a normal eight pounds in 1918, Wadlow suffered from a pituitary gland problem. He was almost nine feet tall and 500 pounds when he died of complications from a foot infection at age 22. He is noted in the Guinness Book of World Records as the tallest man alive. A life-sized statue on College Avenue lifts visitors' heads in amazement. The Alton Museum of History and Art have devoted an entire room to Wadlow, including his third-grade desk and oversized grade school ring.
Benjamin Godfrey Memorial Chapel
Originally called Monticello, the village of Godfrey was named for a Massachusetts sea captain, Benjamin Godfrey who founded the Monticello Seminary in 1838. One of the more rapidly growing Illinois community colleges, Lewis & Clark Community College, now calls the Monticello campus home. Located on the campus, the Benjamin Godfrey Chapel, built in 1854, has become a landmark in the community. This church has been designated as one of only six churches outside of the northeastern United States that are authentic copies of New England church architecture and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Confederate Cemetery and Memorial
This monument remembers those who died in the infamous Alton prison. A smallpox virus spread rapidly through the Alton Prison in 1863, killing more than 1,435 incarcerated soldiers. The soldiers are laid to rest here and each of their names is commemorated at the Memorial. The Alton Prison and Confederate Cemetery are some of the rare northernmost monuments to the Confederate Soldier.
Lewis and Clark Memorial
This memorial commemorates Camp Dubois, the 1803-04 winter camp of Lewis and Clark where they launched their Corps of Discovery expedition to the Pacific.
James J. Eldred House Historic Site
Visit the James J. Eldred House, completed in 1861, and step back in time to view one of the most elegant residential structures in the region and an important surviving example of Greek Revival architecture. The home had fallen into disrepair over the years, but with the creation of The Illinois Valley Cultural Heritage Association, the Eldred House has come back to life and is being painstakingly restored. The home is open for tours during the annual Greene County Days celebration.
Elijah P. Lovejoy Monument
This monument memorializes Elijah P. Lovejoy, whose work and death in Alton gave him a place in history for the abolition of slavery. During the slavery era, Elijah Lovejoy was a pastor who wrote anti-slavery editorials so controversial he became an object of hatred by slaveholders. Despite threats to his life, he continued his anti-slavery writings in the Alton Observer, even after three of his printing presses were thrown into the Mississippi River. It was this persistence that led an angry pro-slavery mob to attack and kill him in 1837.
This Queen Anne-style playhouse was built for Lucy J. Haskell, daughter of Dr. William A. & Florence H. Haskell. The playhouse was an exact replica of the family home. The Haskell's gave the estate to the City of Alton for educational & recreational purposes. The playhouse is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places and can be visited in Haskell Park.
Historic Museum of Torture Devices
Historic Museum of Torture Devices is a privately-owned collection of unique historic torture devices. This museum features over 50 displays from nearly all over the world. Devices such as these were once used to kill, maim, terrorize, punish and force confession, all in the name of The Law. Exhibits include, the pillory, the Chinese death cage and so much more. This unique museum is a must see. Open Saturday and Sunday, Noon to 4 p.m.
Wood River Museum and Visitors Center
The Wood River Heritage Council has worked diligently to preserve the town's past at the Wood River Museum and Visitors Center. It is here that you will find exhibits on the Wood River massacre of 1814, Olde Downtown, the Flood of 1915, the World's largest swimming pool, and the impact of Standard Oil on this growing community. Hours Thursday - Saturday, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Hayner Genealogy & Local History Library
The Hayner Public Library District provides a variety of genealogy-related services to support research efforts. Information from various states in addition to Illinois and other countries is available. The digitized newspaper collection is a wonderful resource of The Hayner Public Library District for genealogy research. The collection includes the Alton Telegraph Archives dating as far back as 1836 and access NEWSPAPER ARCHIVE to locate newspaper articles in other parts of the country.
Historic Jerseyville Courthouse Square
Built in 1893, this historic masonry courthouse sits at the center of town and serves as the hub of activity for the entire county. The courthouse is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours of the courthouse are available for groups with reservations. Hours: Monday - Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday, 8 a.m. to noon
A beautiful sculpture of Sacagawea graces the campus of Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, Illinois. The piece was crafted by Glenna Goodacre who also designed the image on the Sacajewea $1 coin.
Porthole Barn Trail
After the Civil War, Confederate shipbuilder Joe Minch was looking for a fresh start. He made his way back to the Rockbridge area and traded his building expertise for a set of tools. That first project of building a barn set into motion a new trend in barn design. Joe placed round windows, now know as portholes, in the barn. Travel through Greene County today to view the highest concentration of Porthole Barns in the country.
Mineral Springs Paranormal Research Center
Share evidence and peruse scientific research on the paranormal at one of the most haunted buildings in Alton -- the former Mineral Springs Hotel -- now the home of the Mineral Springs Paranormal Research Center. Overnight paranormal events are held at the site, in addition to meetings with other paranormal experts, investigators and researchers. Ghost hunting equipment is used in every investigation and there are over 140 EVPs obtained over the years at the hotel and at other investigation sites.
Village of Elsah Museum
Discover what life was like in historic Elsah when it was founded in 1853 by James Semple. The museum, housed in the Elsah Village Hall built in 1887, showcases former residents, architectural styles used in constructing buildings, and implements used by residents in the mid-1800s. The museum is open Saturday and Sundays only from 1 - 4 p.m.
Village of Elsah
Travel back in time with us to the Village of Elsah. The entire village of Elsah is on the National Registry of Historic Places. This village, with a population of around one hundred people, is often referred to as the "village where time stood still." Visitors to Elsah can escape back to the Americana of the early 1800s with quiet streets and 19th century stone homes. This “picture perfect” village nestled in the valley is a perfect place for photographers – amateur and professional – anxious to capture a glimpse of the past.
Bethalto History Museum
A log cabin originally built in 1873 is this city's history museum. The cabin is authentically furnished as it might have appeared 150 years ago. The building once housed Bethalto's water, fire and police departments. The tiny one room jail can still be seen. Open Wednesday 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. for tours. Call for tour appointment.
Brussels Historic Village Jail
Once known as the local "calaboose", the Brussels Jail was built around 1876 and centered in the heart of the village. The jail mainly housed men overnight for drinking too much and the last person to stay in the jail was in 1952. The jail is open seven days a week.
Southwestern Farm & Home Museum
This living memorial offers an insight into rural and farming life, with exhibits that include antique farm implements and a number of household items.
Pere Marquette Historic Site
This historical marker honors Father Pere Marquette.
Miles Davis Statue
Miles Davis was born on in Alton, IL on May 26, 1926 and is noted as one of the most influential jazz muscians of the 20th century. Over his lifetime, Davis won nine Grammy awards and recorded more than 100 albums. In 2006 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Created by sculptor Preston Jackson, the bronze statue stands in the middle of the Miles Davis Memorial Plaza.