Alton, Illinois: Ruins of Civil War Military Prison

A small corner of a formerly large, rock-walled prison was so historically important that it was moved across the street to make way for a parking lot.
Address:
214 William St., Alton, IL
Directions:
West edge of town, on the west side of William St. a half-block north of OH-100/W. Broadway.
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Wall section of prison ruins.

Ruins of Civil War Military Prison

This site is really strange. Limestone blocks made up a corner wall of the first Illinois State Penitentiary opened in 1833. During the Civil War it became a military prison housing Confederate POWs and Southern sympathizers.

After the war the prison was demolished (except for this small corner) and the vacant space was turned into "Uncle Remus Park." And this isn't even where the prison was located. The blocks were moved and the wall was rebuilt in 1970 when a local corporation turned the original site across the street into a parking lot.

There is also a sign on site explaining that abolitionist newspaper publisher Elijah P. Lovejoy was killed in a warehouse here, defending his press against a pro-slavery mob. There's just a whole lot going on.

[Mike Gassmann, 09/17/2019]

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In the region:
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October 23, 2019

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