Population (2010)

27,891

Introduction

Alton is a city with a layered history that is worth the time to explore. When you’re done, take a drive along the Mississippi River up to Grafton, which is one of the most scenic stretches of the Great River Road; it can be very busy on weekends with cars, motorcycles, and bicycles.

Visitor Information

Direct your questions to the folks at Visit Alton (200 Piasa St.; 618.465.6676).

History

Alton sits at the upriver end of a wide floodplain known as the American Bottom. It has long been an attractive place to live for its fertile soil and easy access to rivers, which is part of the reason that the largest pre-Colombian civilization in North America (what we now call Cahokia Mounds) flourished here.

Today’s Alton was once six separate communities: Alton, Upper Alton, North Alton, Hunterstown, Salu, and Milton Heights. The community known as Alton was laid out by Colonel Rufus Easton in 1817 and named for