There are several things to do in Alton. The city is located on the Mississippi River in Madison County, Illinois, about 18 miles north of St. Louis. Its population is estimated to be 25,676 at the 2020 census. The city is a part of the River Bend area and the Metro-East region of the St. Louis metropolitan area.
The Haskell Playhouse in Alton, Illinois was named after Lucy Haskell, a young girl who died at age nine of black diphtheria. In her will, Lucy’s mother, Florence, left the playhouse and large house to the City of Alton. She also bequeathed 6.4 acres of land for a playground. She also stipulated that the playhouse should remain there in her memory.
The Haskell Playhouse is a unique architectural treasure of the Midwest. It stands at the intersection of Twelfth and Henry streets in Alton. It looks like something out of a fairytale. The playhouse was built in 1885 and designed by Lucas Pheiffenberger, a prominent architect in Alton from 1857 to 1918.
The Haskell Playhouse is the only surviving portion of the original Haskell House. Designed by Lucas Pfeiffenberger, the playhouse has an ornate, Queen Anne-style exterior. It features a raised front porch with diagonal stickwork and fishscale shingles on the gable ends of the second story. An ornamental iron fence tops the hipped roof.
The Haskell Playhouse is free to visit. Its exterior is open all year round, and the interior is open periodically. You can visit this historic landmark as part of a family outing in Alton. You can even plan a special event in the playhouse. Some of the many events that have been held in the playhouse include bridal showers, pirate-themed birthday parties, and tea parties.
Dr. Gordon Moore, a physician who lived in Alton, suggested the creation of an Asian garden at Alton Park in 1984. He put together a committee of fellow physicians and began raising funds for the project. The garden took four years to create and occupies approximately two to three acres of the park. It was dedicated to the public on Oct. 28, 1989. The garden attracts visitors looking to quiet down or reflect on the world around them. It also helps generate revenue for the city through rentals.
The city is now working with the community to revitalize the garden. It is considering planting Japanese cherry trees and other themed trees. The Missouri Botanical Gardens supervisor has offered to prune one tree and help plan the placement of the rest. Another garden project is a fountain in the conifer forest area.
Columbia Bottom Conservation Area
Columbia Bottom Conservation Area is a 4,256-acre conservation area located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. The area protects and preserves the natural and cultural heritage of the region. The area is a popular destination for outdoor activities, including hiking and birding. The area’s wetlands provide a great environment for wildlife to thrive.
This area is also home to the Columbia Bottom Trail, a meandering trail through wetlands, forests, and open fields. The trail is part of the Missouri River Greenway, a project that will eventually extend 50 miles along the Missouri River. The trail will eventually reach the western edge of St. Louis County and include an observation deck near the border. The trail is closed to deer hunting during November and December.
The Conservation Department owns this 4,256-acre area, located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. It features a visitor center, naturalist-led educational programs, and special programs for school groups. The area is closed one-half hour before sunset and one-half hour before sunrise.
The Columbia Bottom Conservation Area contains a mosaic of natural areas, including wetlands, forests, prairies, and croplands. In addition, it includes a 110-acre “Duck Island” on the Mississippi River. There are also more than six miles of river frontage. The Conservation Department plans to create a mosaic of bottomland habitats, which will attract a wide variety of migratory and resident wildlife.
Melvin Price Locks and Dam
On a road trip to Alton, Missouri, make sure to visit the Melvin Price Locks and Dam, an engineering marvel on the Upper Mississippi River. It’s located at river mile 200.78, 17 miles north of Saint Louis. You can learn more about the dam’s construction and engineering at the National Great Rivers Museum.
The dam’s eight-story concrete Colossus dominates the view of the Mississippi River in Alton. It is a marvel of American engineering, and a great example of form following function. It is used to move huge quantities of goods from the Mississippi River to the world’s markets.
The Melvin Price Locks and Dam are the last structures of its type on the Mississippi River. The museum tells stories of life on the Mississippi. It also provides a magnificent view of Alton from 80 feet above the water. Visitors can also watch barge traffic in the area, carrying commodities like grain and soybeans. If you’re lucky, you may see bald eagles while you’re there.
The Melvin Price Locks and Dam is the first replacement of the original installation of the nine-foot channel project, and is located about two miles downstream of Lock and Dam 26. It’s colossal in scale, and the Corps of Engineers went through a rigorous computer-aided design and testing program before finalizing the project.
North Alton Confederate Cemetery
The North Alton Confederate Cemetery is located at 635 Rozier St., Alton, Illinois, 62002. It contains the graves of more than 1,350 Confederate soldiers who fell in battle or died in captivity in the Union prison at Alton. The cemetery is located on the top of a hill in the northeast section of Alton.
Another thing to do in Alton is to visit the monument of jazz legend Miles Davis. He was killed by a pro-slavery mob in 1837 and is commemorated by a statue in Alton. The statue, designed by Preston Jackson, shows him in his signature trumpeting pose.
While in Alton, visitors can learn about the Civil War by visiting the city’s first Confederate cemetery. The cemetery was used to bury Confederate soldiers and civilians. After the Civil War, the Confederate soldiers and civilians were released from Alton.
The cemetery is located on a hill near the entrance. It is shaped like a rectangle with a wrought iron fence. It has a monument that is carved on a sloping hill. The cemetery also has a museum of history and art where visitors can learn about Alton’s past.
There are also several other interesting things to do in Alton, including visiting the Alton Museum of History and Art. The city was also home to the famous 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debate, where more than 6,000 people ran to the city’s city hall to hear the two politicians argue.
Haunted McPike Mansion
The McPike Mansion is a beautiful old house in Alton, Illinois. Designed by architect Lucas Pfeiffenberger, it was once the largest home in Alton. Built on a 15-acre country estate, the mansion had 16 rooms and 11 marble fireplaces. At the time, the home was very luxurious and featured ornate molding and ornate ceilings. The mansion has a history, and many ghost stories surround its mysterious past.
The McPike Mansion was once owned by the McPike family, but was sold to another family in the 1920s. Now, the property lies abandoned and has been the site of several paranormal investigations. In August of 2018, a paranormal group called Spectrewaves investigated the McPike Mansion and captured evidence of ghostly clippity-clop noises.
The McPike Mansion was once lived in by the McPike family until 1910 when it was used as a boarding house for the Brown’s Business College. Later, it was used by Paul Laichinger, who died in 1945. After his death, the property began to deteriorate. Lack of maintenance and weather eventually ravaged the property.
Paul Laichinger, the former owner of the mansion, is said to be the mansion’s ghost. Despite its mythical reputation, the Laichinger family has a real connection to the property. Paul’s ghost first appeared six weeks after Sharyn Laichinger purchased the house. She was working in the garden when she first encountered him. She said that he was wearing the same clothing in the photograph of Laichinger.