Underground Railroad to the 13th Amendment

Visit Alton, IL to learn about Lyman Trumbull's 13th Amendment abolishing slavery and also about the impact of the Underground Railroad on this region’s history.

This itinerary will capture your emotions – a painting, if you will, of historical proportions.

Historical Background

Throughout its history, which spans over 175 years, the Alton region has been the centerpiece of many events of note, none more pivotal than the assassination of Elijah P. Lovejoy in November of 1837. There is also the work of Lyman Trumbull, the author of the 13th Amendment to our U.S. Constitution, who lived in Alton, and you have a canvas rich with the verbal history and artifacts of the Underground Railroad.

Lyman Trumbull House


Begin your day touring the Alton Museum of History & Art. The museum’s Black Pioneer Exhibit will provide some of the tools which are used to trace the Underground Railroad’s “tracks through town.”

The next stop will be Alton City Cemetery where a monument was erected in honor of Elijah P. Lovejoy – a pastor, publisher and founder of the Illinois Anti-Slavery Society. He is also buried there.

Then, just up the street is the Lyman Trumbull House. Trumbull is the co-author of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery.

Alton Museum of History & Art

MUSEUM TEMPORARILY CLOSEDThe City of Alton has been a crossroads of history for many centuries. Before America, Native American tribes lived in the future Alton area for thousands of years; the Native… Learn More

Other Underground Railroad Sites

These sites must be visited with a tour guide:

Old Rock House

Site of the Anti-Slavery Society and a station on the railroad.

College Avenue Presbyterian Church

Abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy served as its first minister.

Enos Apartments

Underground tunnels exist 15 feet below Third Street and resemble Roman catacombs.

Rocky Fork Church

Church originated before the Civil War, when free people and slaves crossed the Mississippi river to begin life in the free state of Illinois

Hamilton Memorial School

One of the earliest integrated schools in the state, it was funded through the legacy of Dr. Silas Hamilton. Free slave George Washington built a memorial in Hamilton's honor and left a sizable estate for the education of black youth.

Josiah White's Log Cabin

The remains of this once-spacious two-story cabin sheltered runaway slaves on their journey northward.

Lewis & Clark Community College

Site of the former Monticello's Women's Seminary where students and faculty were purported abolitionists.

Tour Information

For information on guided tours of the Underground Railroad sites, please contact the Alton Visitor's Center at (800) 258-6645. We will provide you with names of experienced tour guides. Advanced reservations must be made for all tours.