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Alton

Trip Planner USA  /  Illinois  /  Alton
(3.5/5 based on 400+ reviews for 7 attractions)
Things to do: museums, scenic drive, casinos
Alton is a city on the Mississippi River in Madison County, Illinois, United States, about 15mi north of St. Louis, Missouri. The population was 27,865 at the 2010 census. It is a part of the Metro-East region of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area in Southern Illinois. It is famous for its limestone bluffs along the river north of the city, for its role preceding and during the American Civil War, and as the hometown of jazz musician Miles Davis and Robert Wadlow, the tallest known man in history. It was the site of the last Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debate in October 1858. The former state penitentiary here was used during the war to hold up to 12,000 Confederate prisoners of war.HistoryAlthough Alton once was growing faster than its sister city of St. Louis, a coalition of St. Louis businessmen planned to build a competing town to stop its expansion and bring business to St. Louis. The result was Grafton, Illinois.Many blocks of housing in Alton were built in the Victorian Queen Anne style; they represent a prosperous period in the river city's history. At the top of the hill in the commercial area, several stone churches and a fine city hall also represent the city's wealth during its good times based on river traffic and shipping. It was a commercial center for a large agricultural area. Numerous residences on hills have sweeping views of the Mississippi River.
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