Alton is one of America’s great river towns. It is filled with historic homes, great shops and diverse industry. Abundant with historical figures and local legends, many threads of our nation’s history can be discovered right here in Alton, Illinois.
In its early days, Alton was a bustling river town, much larger than Chicago. Alton was built on industry - flour mills, quarries, brick making, pottery making - and relied on the Mississippi River. The "Steamboat Era" played an important role of the growth of Alton, and riverboat traffic can still be seen from the riverfront up and down the Mighty Mississippi River.
The location dates back to 1673 when Father Jacques Marquette made his famed journey with Louis Joliet down the Mississippi River. That year, Marquette recorded in his diary his discovery of the Piasa Bird on the bluffs above his canoe. The city was founded in 1818 by Rufus Easton.
Why Visit Alton
You can easily spend several days in Alton taking in all of the historic sites and enjoying the endless recreational options. Alton is a timeless river city that you will be drawn to time and again for quick getaways or extended stays.