Architectural Adventures

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

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

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.

Alton's Historic Districts
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. 

Sample Itinerary
  Day 1  
 Alton, Elsah, Grafton 
Day 2  
 Alton Visitor Center, Alton’s Historic Districts: Christian Hill, Middle Town and Upper Alton  
 Allow 2 - 3 days  
 Alton, Elsah, Grafton  
 Architecture, History, Family Fun, On the Byway  
 Any Season   

Aerie's Riverview Winery Castelli's at 255 Grafton Winery & Brewhaus Mississippi Half Step My Just Desserts Rib City School House Grill St. Louis Bread Co. The Cultured Table Tony's Restaurant More Dining Alton Little Theater Alton Square Mall Argosy Casino Altno East Alton Ice Arena Greater Alton Concert Association Jacoby Arts Center Lewis & Clark State Historic Site Lincoln & Civil War Legacy Trail Historic Museum of Torture Devices Robert Wadlow Statue More Attractions Beall Mansion Best Western Comfort Inn Green Tree Inn Holiday Inn Lucy Mae's Pere Marquette Lodge Riverview Suites Ruebel Hotel Tara Point Inn More Lodging Image Map uses cookies to ensure that we provide you with the best browsing experience. By continuing to use the site, we will retain your current cookie settings.