View of Alton, Madison County, I.L., 1867 / drawn & published by A. Ruger.
This panoramic print of Alton, Illinois was drawn by Albert Ruger and published by Chicago Lith. Co. in 1867. Alton, along the Mississippi River, was established in the 1830's as an accessible port for flat-bottom steamers used in the transportation of the area’s valuable agricultural produce.
Its low-bank portage became an early concern for Alton, as it was susceptible to flooding, resulting in many of the streets being paved using bricks made at the community’s own brickworks. This somewhat solved drainage of the town’s arterial streets.
Alton was the site of the last Lincoln/Douglas debate just before the election of 1858 and in the years preceding the American Civil War was an important harbor and haven to the underground railroad. During the war, Alton’s prison was used to hold several thousand Confederate prisoners. A smallpox epidemic in 1863 claimed nearly 2,000 of them.
The map from 1867 includes labeled streets, buildings and railroad route. It portrays steamboat activities and notes the “Ben. Campbell”, the “Wester”, and the “Lucy Bertram” steam paddle boats.
Features references to the following locations:
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