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William Street & Broadway Street Alton, IL 62002
In just three years, more than 11,700 Confederate prisoners passed through the gates of the Alton Prison and were held captive with its walls. The Alton Prison, opened in 1833 and closed in 1860, was the first Illinois State Penitentiary. In December of 1861, after inspecting the facilities, Major General Henry Halleck, Commander of the Department of the Missouri, prepared to have the prison re-opened as a the Alton Federal Military Prison.
On Feb. 9, 1862, the first prisoners arrived at the prison. Inmates of the prison included Confederate soldiers, citizens imprisoned for treason acts, and bushwackers or guerillas imprisoned for acts against the government. Much of the time, the prison was overcrowded, prisoners were malnourished and had inadequate clothing.
Under these dilapidated conditions, prisoners were exposed to influenza, dysentery and small pox. The small pox epidemic grew in numbers, and the official military death toll listed 1,354 deceased. A monument dedicated to those who perished can be found at their burial site in the Confederate Cemetery.
After the war, the prison was privately purchased and building blocks were removed. The remaining small portion of the wall was restored in 1973 and may be visited today.
Alton's National Cemetery
600 Pearl St. Alton, IL 62202
Fought on American soil, the Civil War was the deadliest war in American history. More than three million men fought in this “war between the states” that claimed the lives of more than 620,000 soldiers. An estimated 263 Union soldiers are buried in Alton’s National Cemetery. The men either died of disease at the Alton Hospital or onboard steamboats passing up the Mississippi River.
Clayville Historic Site
125 Co Hwy 9C Pleasant Plains, Illinois 62677
Constructed by the Broadwell family as a stagecoach stop between Springfield and Beardstown in 1824, the Inn is the oldest brick building in Sangamon County. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Inn is surrounded by numerous other historic buildings from central Illinois that were moved to Clayville in the 1960s to recreate an early frontier pioneer village. Come discover a unique piece of Illinois history.
2021 Schedule of Events
May 15: Hammer-in blacksmith event
June 23: Chris Vallillo music
September 18 & 19 Fall Festival
December 4: Christmas with Santa
December 10 & 11 Candlelight Christmas
Confederate Cemetery & Memorial
635 Rozier Street Alton, IL 62002
A smallpox virus spread rapidly through the Alton Prison in 1863, killing more than 1,435 incarcerated soldiers. The soldiers are laid to rest here and each of their names is commemorated at the Memorial. The Alton Prison and Confederate Cemetery are some of the rare northernmost monuments to the Confederate Soldier.
208 State Street Alton, IL 62002
In the 1840s and 1850s, the Franklin House was one of the largest and finest hotels in Alton. Spectators of the debate came by train and steamboat from all over Illinois and the nearby slave state of Missouri to witness the last of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates in Alton. Lincoln used the Franklin House as his campaign headquarters where supporters gathered for the day.
Historic Carthage Jail
310 Buchanan St. Carthage, Illinois 62321
Carthage Jail is a historic building built in 1839. It is best known as the location of the 1844 killing of Joseph Smith and founder of the Latter Day Saint movement and his brother Hyrum, by a mob of approximately 150 men. The site is operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a historic site with an adjacent visitors' center.
I&M Canal Mule-Pulled Boat Rides
754 1st St. LaSalle, Illinois 61301
In 1848, Illinois was a very different place! Prairies covered much of the state, settlers used wagons, stagecoaches & boats for transportation and to ship goods, and LaSalle, IL was bigger than Chicago!
Visit the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Area & take a journey back in time aboard the “Volunteer,” a mule-pulled 1840’s replica canal boat, as it coasts gently up and down the Illinois & Michigan Canal.
I&M Canal Toll House
1221 Columbus St. Ottawa, Illinois 61350
The only I&M Canal toll house in existence, The Ottawa Office offers a unique glimpse of what life was like in the 1800’s. As only one of four stops for the collection of tolls, these houses once stood in LaSalle, Lockport and Chicago with the LaSalle office closing in 1876.
Illinois History and Lincoln Collections
1408 W. Gregory Drive Urbana, Illinois 61801
The Illinois History and Lincoln Collections (IHLC) preserves and provides access to both print and manuscript materials documenting the history of Illinois as well as Abraham Lincoln’s life and legacy. Approximately 35,000 printed volumes and 1,000 manuscript collections as well as numerous maps, photographs, ephemera, and other materials provide rich resources for researchers in a many fields.