Welcome to Grafton
At the confluence of America’s two great rivers, the Mississippi and Illinois, the riverfront community of Grafton is known for its sweeping views and vibrant downtown district. Legends abound about Grafton’s early history. Outlaw Jesse James and his gang reportedly spent time at The River House Hotel, or “Bloody Bucket” as it was later known. Much of the community’s early history resembles the Wild West with the relatively short distance across the river to Missouri a draw to outlaws who would hide out in surrounding hollows and caves.
Grafton was founded as a river community with an eye on supporting riverboats traveling between Chicago and St. Louis. Boat construction, quarries, mills and more were part of the city’s early industrial years. The city housed a boat works facility which made boats through the 1960s.
A vibrant destination, Grafton now is home to a zipline canopy tour high in the bluffs over the city, an indoor ice rink along the banks of the Mississippi River, a water park along the river, and a local award-winning winery, among other attractions that make the community a popular destination for travelers and locals alike.