Architectural Adventures

Take a tour of the Alton region to discover breathtaking scenery and architectural beauty scattered throughout its historic villages, towns and neighborhoods.

Architects Theodore Link and Bernard Ralph Maybeck left their mark along the Alton region with a number of spectacular structures.

The entire village of Elsah was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.


Nestled between the towering bluffs of the Mississippi River, just off the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway, is where you’ll find the village of Elsah. Escape to a simpler way of life during your visit to Elsah as you drive past buildings that were built in the mid-to-late 1800s.

Principia College

Your tour will continue high upon the bluffs at Principia College, a masterpiece of breathtaking scenery and architectural beauty. The college was designed by renowned architect Maybeck in 1930, and the campus is patterned after an English village. Take some time to check out the unique architecture of the only Christian Science college in America with a free driving tour.

End your day with a trip to Grafton to see the charming riverside community. Some of the buildings in town are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can also take a walking tour of historic Grafton. There are 19 stops along this trail.


On day two of the tour, pick up a historic Alton driving tour guide at the Alton Visitor Center so you can travel the streets of Alton where they will learn of its rich history and architectural styles.

Make sure to drive through all three historic neighborhoods: Middle Town, Upper Alton and Christian Hill. Each neighborhood has its own, distinctive architectural design. Make sure to stop and see the Lucy Haskell Playhouse, Alton Museum of History & Art, and the Hayner Library.

Link, best known for his design of Union Station in St. Louis, Mo., also designed the Hayner Genealogy & Local History Library & the First Presbyterian Church in Alton.