Showing 1-57 of 57 items found in History
Doc’s Soda Fountain
Located on historic Route 66, this was originally a pharmacy built in the 1880’s. The soda fountain was added to the business in the 1950’s. Stop in for an old-fashioned treat or ice-cream. Doc’s is also open for lunch and dinner.
The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge
Built in 1927, Old Chain of Rocks was the fifth bridge to cross the Mississippi River, which shortened the distance between St. Louis, Missouri, and Edwardsville, Illinois by 15 miles.
Henry's Ra66it Ranch
This quirky must-see Route 66 attraction, information center and souvenir gift shop is home to rabbits of all kinds, bunny and VW, as well as Mother Road memorabilia.
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.
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.
Pink Elephant Antique Mall
The Pink Elephant Antique Mall has many hidden gems. Open daily 9:30 am - 5:30 pm.
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.
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.
Weezy’s Route 66 Bar and Grill
The restaurant is known for charbroiled burgers, homemade pies and hearty breakfasts, particularly biscuits and gravy made with fresh sausage from locally produced hogs. The decor follows a diner theme with a black-and-white checkered floor and red vinyl seat cushions on chrome booths, tables and chairs. Walls are lined with vintage signs, photos of old vehicles and other Route 66 memorabilia and even has an outdoor patio.
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.
The Ariston Cafe was founded by Pete Adam, a Greek immigrant, in Carlinville, Illinois in 1924. The original cafe was located on Route 4, the predecessor of Historic Route 66. In 1929, the Cafe was relocated to Litchfield, Illinois and moved into its present location on Route 66 in 1935. Since 1966, Pete’s son Nick and wife, Deme, continue to offer the traditional service expected of a family-owned and operated restaurant. The cafe is believed to be one of the oldest restaurants on Route 66 and has been inducted into the Route 66 Hall of Fame and is placed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
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.
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.
Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center
Designed to reflect the Route 66 era, the museum houses exhibits which focus on the roles the railroads, Route 66, businesses, agriculture, and the military have played in Litchfield's history.
Alton Hauntings Tours
Based on the book Haunted Alton by Troy Taylor, Alton Hauntings Tours offers an entertaining and spine-tingling trip into the unknown, taking visitors to the most authentic haunted places in Alton. Uncover the eerie folklore, ghostly tales and documented haunted spots on a three-hour walking tour of the city’s most haunted sites. Visitors will see sites that have become nationally known, like the old Alton penitentiary, First Unitarian Church, Enos Sanitarium and many others. The tours have been proven to be popular with ghost enthusiasts and history buffs alike, and nowhere else can you learn as much about the real, haunted history of Alton. Walking tours and bus tours are offered during two touring seasons – Spring & Summer and the Haunted Fall Season. Private tours are also available for groups of 20 or more. Reservations must be made in advance for all tours.
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.
Soulsby’s Service Station in Mount Olive
The Soulsby Service Station is a historic service station in Mount Olive, Illinois. The station is located along historic U.S. Route 66 and is the oldest usable service station on the highway in Illinois. It serves as an example of the house and canopy gas station design.
Livingston Muffler Man
The Livingston-Staunton Muffler Man, in his spiffy orange "Harley-Davidson" shirt, is located outside the Pink Elephant antique mall. He's clearly visible from I-55 now, but looks so tiny in the middle of a field with nothing for reference. You can see him and many other "Muffler Men" along the historic route.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sky View Drive In - Litchfield
The Sky View Drive-In Theatre in Litchfield opened in the Spring of 1950 and has been in operation each season since then. We are a seasonal operation and run from the first or second weekend in April until the end of September. Open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays only.
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.
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.
Historic Wabash Train Depot
This historic train depot features a preserved facade and a renovated interior that houses specialty shops.
Edwardsville Children's Museum
The museum focuses on expanding young minds through a variety of educational programs. It is available for birthday parties and field trips.
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. Lucy died at age nine of diphtheria and 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.
Log Cabin Museum
In the park next to Hamel School, this building was built between 1820 and 1852 and moved to Hamel in 1980. Artifacts from the period are displayed inside.
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.
Historic Museum of Torture Devices
Displays of torture devices from around the world, pictures and written explanations are part of this self-guided tour. Hours: Saturday & Sunday, Noon to 6 p.m.
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
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.
Macoupin County Jail
The historic 1869 Macoupin County Jail was designed by E.E. Meyers. It was built using the "cannon ball" method which prevented jail breaks by making it nearly impossible to remove the blocks. This unique medieval-inspired fortress housed many lawbreakers during its 119 years of use, but only one prisoner escaped. He was soon apprehended a few blocks from the jail.
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.
Macoupin County Historical Society Museum
The Macoupin County Historical Society Museum is housed in the John Anderson mansion, originally built in 1883. The main house is a museum with exhibits that chronicle the development of Macoupin County and its citizens. In addition to the mansion, several other buildings on the grounds emphasize the county's history: a one-room schoolhouse, blacksmith shop, church, wash house, granary and herb garden.
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.
Madison County Historical Society Museum & Archives
The 1836 Weir House is filled with an amazing display of artifacts representing local and county history, in addition to a historic research library.
Colonel Benjamin Stephenson House
This two-story brick home is a wonderful example of Federal-style architecture from 1820. Col. Stephenson, who was a contemporary of Lewis & Clark, moved there in 1809.
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.
Hot Metal Heaven Museum
This museum features a collection of letterpress printing memorabilia.
Carlinville Historic District
The Historic District includes the Macoupin County Jail, Million Dollar Courthouse, and the largest collection of Sears & Roebuck mail-order homes in the U.S.
The Holy Dormition of the Theotokos Catholicon of the Patriarchal Russian Orthodox Catholic Church
Established in 1907 by a group of Russian immigrants who lived and labored in Beneld, the group built homes and raised their families while adding their customs to the area's ever-mixing cultures.
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.
Macoupin County Courthouse
The Macoupin County Courthouse, built in 1870, used to be the largest county courthouse in the United States, with the possible exception of one in New York City. It was even larger than the Illinois Statehouse. While the courthouse still serves as the seat of county government, it has also become a showplace that attracts tourists, architects and artists from across the country, as well as overseas.
Governor Coles Memorial
This memorial in Valley View Cemetery honors Edward Coles, the second governor of Illinois (1822-1826). A former slaveowner from Virginia, Coles became an abolitionist and won the 1822 gubernatorial election as the candidate of anti-slavery forces.
Carnegie Public Library
This historic 1904 building houses one of the most complete genealogy departments in the area.
Mother Jones Monument
The Mother Jones Monument, located in the Union Miners Cemetery, honors the crusader for coal miners' rights.
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.
Mennel Milling Of Illinois
This mill produces everything from animal feed ingredients to cake, biscuit and organic pastry flour.
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 M - F 1 - 4 p.m. for tours. Call for tour appointment.
One of the oldest colleges in Illinois, founded in 1837. Blackburn is also one of only seven colleges in the U.S. where students work in exchange for tuition credit, and the only one whose Work program is student-run. This keeps Blackburn's tuition among the lowest of all private colleges in the United States. Over the years, students have literally built Blackburn, brick by brick; the only college campus in the United States to be largely built by its students.
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.