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 on the Underground Railroad, hiding slaves in caves, barns and basements throughout Alton, Otterville and Jerseyville. Tours available by appointment only.