Underground Railroad to the 13th Amendment
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. This itinerary will capture your emotions – a painting, if you will, of historical proportions.
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.
OTHER UNDERGROUND RAILROAD SITES (will need to visit sites with 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.
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.
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.