Missouri is a state in the Midwestern United States. With over six million residents, it is the 18th-most populous state of the Union; the largest urban areas are St. Louis, Kansas City and Columbia; the state is the 21st-most extensive in area. In the South are the Ozarks, a forested highland, providing timber and recreation; the Missouri River, after which the state is named, flows through the center of the state into the Mississippi River, which makes up Missouri's eastern border. Humans have inhabited the land now known as Missouri for at least 12,000 years; the Mississippian culture built mounds, before declining in the 14th century. When European explorers arrived in the 17th century they encountered the Osage and Missouria nations; the French established Louisiana, a part of New France, founded Ste. Genevieve in 1735 and St. Louis in 1764. After a brief period of Spanish rule, the United States acquired the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Americans from the Upland South, including enslaved African Americans, rushed into the new Missouri Territory.
Missouri was admitted as a slave state as part of the Missouri Compromise. Many from Virginia and Tennessee settled in the Boonslick area of Mid-Missouri. Soon after, heavy German immigration formed the Missouri Rhineland. Missouri played a central role in the westward expansion of the United States, as memorialized by the Gateway Arch; the Pony Express, Oregon Trail, Santa Fe Trail, California Trail all began in Missouri. As a border state, Missouri's role in the American Civil War was complex and there were many conflicts within. After the war, both Greater St. Louis and the Kansas City metropolitan area became centers of industrialization and business. Today, the state is divided into the independent city of St. Louis. Missouri's culture blends elements from Southern United States; the musical styles of ragtime, Kansas City jazz, St. Louis Blues developed in Missouri; the well-known Kansas City-style barbecue, lesser-known St. Louis-style barbecue, can be found across the state and beyond. Missouri is a major center of beer brewing.
Missouri wine is produced in Ozarks. Missouri's alcohol laws are among the most permissive in the United States. Outside of the state's major cities, popular tourist destinations include the Lake of the Ozarks, Table Rock Lake, Branson. Well-known Missourians include U. S. President Harry S. Truman, Mark Twain, Walt Disney, Chuck Berry, Nelly; some of the largest companies based in the state include Cerner, Express Scripts, Emerson Electric, Edward Jones, H&R Block, Wells Fargo Advisors, O'Reilly Auto Parts. Missouri has been called the "Mother of the West" and the "Cave State"; the state is named for the Missouri River, named after the indigenous Missouri Indians, a Siouan-language tribe. It is said that they were called the ouemessourita, meaning "those who have dugout canoes", by the Miami-Illinois language speakers; this appears to be folk etymology—the Illinois spoke an Algonquian language and the closest approximation that can be made in that of their close neighbors, the Ojibwe, is "You Ought to Go Downriver & Visit Those People."
This would be an odd occurrence, as the French who first explored and attempted to settle the Mississippi River got their translations during that time accurate giving things French names that were exact translations of the native tongue. Assuming Missouri were deriving from the Siouan language, it would translate as "It connects to the side of it," in reference to the river itself; this is not likely either, as this would be coming out as "Maya Sunni" Most though, the name Missouri comes from Chiwere, a Siouan language spoken by people who resided in the modern day states of Wisconsin, South Dakota, Missouri & Nebraska. The name "Missouri" has several different pronunciations among its present-day natives, the two most common being and. Further pronunciations exist in Missouri or elsewhere in the United States, involving the realization of the first syllable as either or. Any combination of these phonetic realizations may be observed coming from speakers of American English; the linguistic history was treated definitively by Donald M. Lance, who acknowledged that the question is sociologically complex, but that no pronunciation could be declared "correct", nor could any be defined as native or outsider, rural or urban, southern or northern, educated or otherwise.
Politicians employ multiple pronunciations during a single speech, to appeal to a greater number of listeners. Informal respellings of the state's name, such as "Missour-ee" or "Missour-uh", are used informally to phonetically distinguish pronunciations. There is no official state nickname. However, Missouri's unofficial nickname is the "Show Me State"; this phrase has several origins. One is popularly ascribed to a speech by Congressman Willard Vandiver in 1899, who declared that "I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and Democrats, frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I'm from Missouri, you have got to show me." This is in keeping with the saying "I'm from Missouri" which means "I'm skeptical of the matter and not convinced." However, according to researchers, the phrase "show me" was in use
Iconography, as a branch of art history, studies the identification and the interpretation of the content of images: the subjects depicted, the particular compositions and details used to do so, other elements that are distinct from artistic style. The word iconography comes from the Greek εἰκών and γράφειν. A secondary meaning is the production of religious images, called "icons", in the Byzantine and Orthodox Christian tradition. In art history, "an iconography" may mean a particular depiction of a subject in terms of the content of the image, such as the number of figures used, their placing and gestures; the term is used in many academic fields other than art history, for example semiotics and media studies, in general usage, for the content of images, the typical depiction in images of a subject, related senses. Sometimes distinctions have been made between iconology and iconography, although the definitions, so the distinction made, varies; when referring to movies, genres are recognizable through their iconography, motifs that become associated with a specific genre through repetition.
Early Western writers who took special note of the content of images include Giorgio Vasari, whose Ragionamenti, interpreting the paintings in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, reassuringly demonstrates that such works were difficult to understand for well-informed contemporaries. Lesser known, though it had informed poets and sculptors for over two centuries after its 1593 publication, was Cesare Ripa's emblem book Iconologia. Gian Pietro Bellori, a 17th-century biographer of artists of his own time and analyses, not always many works. Lessing's study of the classical figure Amor with an inverted torch was an early attempt to use a study of a type of image to explain the culture it originated in, rather than the other way round. Iconography as an academic art historical discipline developed in the nineteenth-century in the works of scholars such as Adolphe Napoleon Didron, Anton Heinrich Springer, Émile Mâle all specialists in Christian religious art, the main focus of study in this period, in which French scholars were prominent.
They looked back to earlier attempts to classify and organise subjects encyclopedically like Cesare Ripa and Anne Claude Philippe de Caylus's Recueil d'antiquités égyptiennes, étrusques, grècques, romaines et gauloises as guides to understanding works of art, both religious and profane, in a more scientific manner than the popular aesthetic approach of the time. These early contributions paved the way for encyclopedias and other publications useful in identifying the content of art. Mâle's l'Art religieux du XIIIe siècle en France translated into English as The Gothic Image, Religious Art in France of the Thirteenth Century has remained continuously in print. In the early-twentieth century Germany, Aby Warburg and his followers Fritz Saxl and Erwin Panofsky elaborated the practice of identification and classification of motifs in images to using iconography as a means to understanding meaning. Panofsky codified an influential approach to iconography in his 1939 Studies in Iconology, where he defined it as "the branch of the history of art which concerns itself with the subject matter or meaning of works of art, as opposed to form," although the distinction he and other scholars drew between particular definitions of "iconography" and "iconology", has not been accepted, though it is still used by some writers.
In the United States, to which Panofsky immigrated in 1931, students such as Frederick Hartt, Meyer Schapiro continued under his influence in the discipline. In an influential article of 1942, Introduction to an "Iconography of Mediaeval Architecture", Richard Krautheimer, a specialist on early medieval churches and another German émigré, extended iconographical analysis to architectural forms; the period from 1940 can be seen as one where iconography was prominent in art history. Whereas most icongraphical scholarship remains dense and specialized, some analyses began to attract a much wider audience, for example Panofsky's theory that the writing on the rear wall in the Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck turned the painting into the record of a marriage contract. Holbein's The Ambassadors has been the subject of books for a general market with new theories as to its iconography, the best-sellers of Dan Brown include theories, disowned by most art historians, on the iconography of works by Leonardo da Vinci.
Technological advances allowed the building-up of huge collections of photographs, with an iconographic arrangement or index, which include those of the Warburg Institute and the Index of Medieval Art at Princeton. These are now being digitised and made available online on a restricted basis. With the arrival of computing, the Iconclass system, a complex way of classifying the content of images, with 28,000 classification types, 14,000 keywords, was developed in the Netherlands as a standard classification for recording collections, with the idea of assembling huge databases that will allow the retrieval of images featuring particular details, subjects or other common factors. For example, the Iconclass code "71H7131" is for the subject of "Bathsheba with David's letter", whereas "71" is th
The Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is the site of a pre-Columbian Native American city directly across the Mississippi River from modern St. Louis, Missouri; this historic park lies in southern Illinois between Collinsville. The park covers 2,200 acres, or about 3.5 square miles, contains about 80 mounds, but the ancient city was much larger. In its heyday, Cahokia covered about 6 square miles and included about 120 manmade earthen mounds in a wide range of sizes and functions. Cahokia was the largest and most influential urban settlement of the Mississippian culture, which developed advanced societies across much of what is now the central and southeastern United States, beginning more than 1,000 years before European contact. Today, Cahokia Mounds is considered the largest and most complex archaeological site north of the great pre-Columbian cities in Mexico. Cahokia Mounds is a designated site for state protection, it is one of only 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites within the United States.
The largest prehistoric earthen construction in the Americas north of Mexico, the site is open to the public and administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Division and supported by the Cahokia Mounds Museum Society. In celebration of the 2018 Illinois Bicentennial, the Cahokia Mounds were selected as one of the Illinois 200 Great Places by the American Institute of Architects Illinois component and was recognized by USA Today Travel magazine, as one of AIA Illinois's selections for Illinois 25 Must See Places. Although some evidence exists of occupation during the Late Archaic period in and around the site, Cahokia as it is now defined was settled around 600 CE during the Late Woodland period. Mound building at this location began with the emergent Mississippian cultural period, about the 9th century CE; the inhabitants left no written records beyond symbols on pottery, copper and stone, but the elaborately planned community, woodhenge and burials reveal a complex and sophisticated society.
The city's original name is unknown. The mounds were named after the Cahokia tribe, a historic Illiniwek people living in the area when the first French explorers arrived in the 17th century; as this was centuries after Cahokia was abandoned by its original inhabitants, the Cahokia tribe was not descended from the earlier Mississippian-era people. Most multiple indigenous ethnic groups settled in the Cahokia Mounds area during the time of the city's apex. Historian Daniel Richter notes that the apex of the city occurred during the Medieval Warming Period; this period appears to have fostered an agricultural revolution in upper North America, as the three-fold crops of maize and gourds were developed and adapted or bred to the temperate climates of the north from their origins in Mesoamerica. Richter notes that Cahokia's advanced development coincided with the development in the Southwest of the Chaco Canyon society, which produced large-scale works in an apparent stratified society; the decline of the city coincides with the Little Ice Age, although by the three-fold agriculture remained well-established throughout temperate North America.
Cahokia became the most important center for the people known today as Mississippians. Their settlements ranged across what is now the Midwest and Southeastern United States. Cahokia was located in a strategic position near the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, it maintained trade links with communities as far away as the Great Lakes to the north and the Gulf Coast to the south, trading in such exotic items as copper, Mill Creek chert, whelk shells. Mill Creek chert, most notably, was used in the production of hoes, a high demand tool for farmers around Cahokia and other Mississippian centers. Cahokia's control of the manufacture and distribution of these hand tools was an important economic activity that allowed the city to thrive. Mississippian culture pottery and stone tools in the Cahokian style were found at the Silvernale site near Red Wing and materials and trade goods from Pennsylvania, the Gulf Coast and Lake Superior have been excavated at Cahokia. Bartering, not money, was used in trade.
At the high point of its development, Cahokia was the largest urban center north of the great Mesoamerican cities in Mexico and Central America. Although it was home to only about 1,000 people before circa 1050, its population grew after that date. According to a 2007 study in Quaternary Science Reviews, "Between AD 1050 and 1100, Cahokia's population increased from between 1,400 and 2,800 people to between 10,200 and 15,300 people". An estimate that applies only to a 1.8-square-kilometre high density central occupation area. Archaeologists estimate the city's population at between 6,000 and 40,000 at its peak, with more people living in outlying farming villages that supplied the main urban center. In the early 21st century, new residential areas were found to the west of Cahokia as a result of archeological excavations, increasing estimates of area population. If the highest population estimates are correct, Cahokia was larger than any subsequent city in the United States until the 1780s, when Philadelphia's population grew beyond 40,000.
Moreover, according to the same population estimates, the population of 13th-century Cahokia was equal to or larger than the population of 13th-century London. One of the major problems that large centers like Cahokia faced was keeping a steady supply of food. A related problem was waste disposal for the dense population, Cahokia became unhealthy from polluted waterways; because it was such an unhealthy
Lithographic limestone is hard limestone, sufficiently fine-grained and defect free to be used for lithography. Geologists use the term lithographic texture to refer to a grain size under 1/250 mm; the term sublithographic is sometimes used for homogeneous fine-grained limestone with a somewhat coarser texture. The accepted theory for the origin of lithographic and sublithographic limestones is that they were formed in shallow stagnant hypersaline and anoxic lagoons; the combination of mild hypersalinity and low oxygen content is believed to have inhibited the formation of microbial mats and prevented the invasion of bottom dwelling organisms. Microbial mats and bottom dwelling organisms would have left fossils, bottom dwelling organisms would have churned the accumulating sediment, producing a less homogeneous rock. Stagnancy was required to avoid sculpting of the sediment by currents or wave action; the original source for lithographic limestone was the Solnhofen Limestone named after the quarries of Solnhofen where it was first found.
This is a late Jurassic deposit, part of a deposit of plattenkalk that extends through the Swabian Alb and Franconian Alb in Southern Germany. Only a small fraction of plattenkalk is suitable for lithography. For many years, the Solnhofen deposits were the only source of lithographic limestone. French lithographic limestone from quarries near Montdardier, about 6 km south of le Vigan, Gard was exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851, where it earned an honorable mention; this stone is from the early Jurassic. The largest lithographic printing stone quarried came from Le Vigan, 230x150cm. Théophile Steinlen used a comparable stone for some of his posters. Several quarries are visible today on the chalky plateau above Montdardier, between 2 km north, 2 km west of the town. Shortly before 1867, a second lithographic limestone quarry was opened in France near Cerin and Crey, Isère; the lithographic limestones of Cerin are from the Kimmeridgian stage of the Upper Jurassic, as with the Solnhofen deposits, they preserve numerous interesting fossils.
Lithographic limestone from the Lower Cretaceous has been quarried near Santa Maria de Meià on the south flank of the Serra del Montsec in Spain. In 1902, L. M. Vidal, a mining engineer, recognized; the American Lithographic Stone Company was organized in Louisville, Kentucky in late 1868. It focused its operation on quarries in Overton County, but shortly before 1900, it opened a quarry at Brandenburg, Kentucky; this quarry was the only commercial source of lithographic stone in the United States at the turn of the 20th century. Unlike the Solnhofen stone, Kentucky lithographic limestone was dolomitic, it was judged to be competitive with Solnhofen stone for some purposes, but not for the highest quality work; this stone source was sub-Carboniferous. In 1917, the Brandenburg quarry was judged the most important source of Lithographic stone in the United States. Prior to 1916, the output of the Brandenburg quarry was small, but in 1916, as World War I cut off access to Solnhofen stone, the quarry produced 20 tons of finished lithographic stone.
The Remains of the Brandenburg Lithograph Quarry are located along the Buttermilk Falls Historic Walking Trail. In 1903, Clement L. Webster discovered a bed of lithographic limestone about 2 miles southwest of Orchard, Iowa, his company, the Interstate Investment & Development Company platted a town named Lithograph City nearby and opened a quarry. The Lithograph City Formation of the Cedar Valley Group straddles the border between the Middle and Late Devonian and was named for its exposure in this quarry. Outcrops of this formation extend from near Iowa north into Minnesota; the suitability of Lithograph City limestone for lithography was tested by A. B. Hoen who reported that stone from two layers in the Lithograph City quarry was excellent for lithography and finer grained than the finest Solnhofen stone. Lithograph City was an important source of lithographic stone in the United States during World War I, but the quarries closed as metal printing plates replaced stone. In 1918, the Devonian Products Company took over the operation, focusing on the production of crushed rock and renaming the town Devonia.
By 1938, the town had disappeared. List of dinosaur-bearing rock formations List of types of limestone
Father Jacques Marquette S. J. sometimes known as Père Marquette or James Marquette, was a French Jesuit missionary who founded Michigan's first European settlement, Sault Ste. Marie, founded St. Ignace, Michigan. In 1673, Father Marquette and Louis Jolliet were the first Europeans to explore and map the northern portion of the Mississippi River Valley. Jacques Marquette was born in Laon, France, on June 1, 1637, he came of an ancient family distinguished for its military services. Marquette joined the Society of Jesus at age 17, he studied and taught in France for several years, the Jesuits assigned him to New France in 1666 as a missionary to the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Arriving at Quebec he was at once signed to Trois-Rivières on the Saint Lawrence, where he assisted Gabriel Druillettes and, as preliminary to further work, devoted himself to the study of the local languages, became fluent in six different dialects. In 1668 Father Marquette was moved by his superiors to missions farther up the St. Lawrence River in the western Great Lakes region.
That year he helped Gabriel Druillettes found the mission at Sault Ste. Marie in present-day Michigan. Other missions were founded at St. Ignace in 1671, at La Pointe, on Lake Superior near the city of Ashland, Wisconsin. At La Pointe he encountered members of the Illinois tribes, who told him about the important trading route of the Mississippi River, they invited him to teach their people, whose settlements were farther south. Because of wars between the Hurons at La Pointe and the neighboring Lakota people, Father Marquette left the mission and went to the Straits of Mackinac. Leave was granted, in 1673 Marquette joined the expedition of Louis Jolliet, a French-Canadian explorer, they departed from St. Ignace on May 17, with two canoes and five voyageurs of French-Indian ancestry, they followed Lake Michigan up the Fox River, nearly to its headwaters. From there, they were told to portage their canoes a distance of less than two miles through marsh and oak plains to the Wisconsin River. Many years at that point the town of Portage, Wisconsin was built, named for the ancient path between the two rivers.
From the portage, they ventured forth, on June 17 they entered the Mississippi near present-day Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. The Joliet-Marquette expedition traveled to within 435 miles of the Gulf of Mexico but turned back at the mouth of the Arkansas River. By this point they had encountered several natives carrying European trinkets, they feared an encounter with explorers or colonists from Spain, they followed the Mississippi back to the mouth of the Illinois River, which they learned from local natives provided a shorter route back to the Great Lakes. They reached Lake Michigan near the site of modern-day Chicago, by way of the Chicago Portage. In September Marquette stopped at the mission of St. Francis Xavier, located in present-day Green Bay, while Jolliet returned to Quebec to relate the news of their discoveries. Marquette and his party returned to the Illinois Territory in late 1674, becoming the first Europeans to winter in what would become the city of Chicago; as welcomed guests of the Illinois Confederation, the explorers were feasted en route and fed ceremonial foods such as sagamite.
In the spring of 1675, Marquette traveled westward and celebrated a public mass at the Grand Village of the Illinois near Starved Rock. A bout of dysentery which he had contracted during the Mississippi expedition sapped his health. On the return trip to St. Ignace, he died at age 37 near the modern town of Michigan. A Michigan Historical Marker at this location reads: The Ojibway Museum on State Street in downtown St. Ignace is in a building, constructed adjacent to Marquette's gravesite during urban development. Father Marquette is memorialized in the names of many towns, geographical locations, parks, a major university, other institutions: Marquette County, Marquette County, Wisconsin The communities of Marquette, Michigan. Marquette Transportation Company, a towboat company using a silhouette of the Pere in his canoe as their emblem. Marquette Building in Chicago, Illinois Marquette Elementary School, Illinois Marquette Park, Illinois Marquette Road, IllinoisIn addition, statues in Marquette's honor have been erected in several places, including the Prairie du Chien Post Office.
Other types of memorials were erected, including those at his birthplace in France. The Legler Branch of the Chicago Public Library displays "Wilderness, Winter River Scene," a restored mural by Midwestern artist R. Fayerweather Babcock; the mural depicts Father Jacques Native Americans trading by a river. Commissioned for Legler Branch in 1934, the mural was fu
The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American civilization archeologists date from about 800 CE to 1600 CE, varying regionally. It was composed of a series of urban settlements and satellite villages linked together by a loose trading network; the largest city was Cahokia, believed to be a major religious center. The civilization flourished from the southern shores of the Great Lakes at Western New York and Western Pennsylvania in what is now the Eastern Midwest, extending south-southwest into the lower Mississippi Valley and wrapping easterly around the southern foot of the Appalachians barrier range into what is now the Southeastern United States; the Mississippian way of life began to develop in the Mississippi River Valley. Cultures in the tributary Tennessee River Valley may have begun to develop Mississippian characteristics at this point. All dated Mississippian sites predate 1539–1540, with notable exceptions being Natchez communities that maintained Mississippian cultural practices into the 18th century.
A number of cultural traits are recognized as being characteristic of the Mississippians. Although not all Mississippian peoples practiced all of the following activities, they were distinct from their ancestors in adoption of some or all of these traits; the construction of large, truncated earthwork pyramid mounds, or platform mounds. Such mounds were square, rectangular, or circular. Structures were constructed atop such mounds. Maize-based agriculture. In most places, the development of Mississippian culture coincided with adoption of comparatively large-scale, intensive maize agriculture, which supported larger populations and craft specialization. Women ate more maize, whereas men ate more animal meat. Shell-tempered pottery; the adoption and use of riverine shells as tempering agents in ceramics. Widespread trade networks extending as far west as the Rockies, north to the Great Lakes, south to the Gulf of Mexico, east to the Atlantic Ocean; the development of the chiefdom or complex chiefdom level of social complexity.
The development of institutionalized social inequality. A centralization of control of combined political and religious power in the hands of few or one; the beginnings of a settlement hierarchy, in which one major center has clear influence or control over a number of lesser communities, which may or may not possess a smaller number of mounds. The adoption of the paraphernalia of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex called the Southern Cult; this is the belief system of the Mississippians. SECC items are found in Mississippian-culture sites from Wisconsin to the Gulf Coast, from Florida to Arkansas and Oklahoma; the SECC was tied into ritual game-playing, as with chunkey. The Mississippians had no writing stone architecture, they worked occurring metal deposits, such as hammering and annealing copper for ritual objects such as Mississippian copper plates and other decorations, but did not smelt iron or practice bronze metallurgy. The Mississippi stage is divided into three or more chronological periods.
Each period is an arbitrary historical distinction varying regionally. At a particular site, each period may be considered to begin earlier or depending on the speed of adoption or development of given Mississippian traits; the "Mississippi period" should not be confused with the "Mississippian culture". The Mississippi period is the chronological stage, while Mississippian culture refers to the cultural similarities that characterize this society; the Early Mississippi period had just transitioned from the Late Woodland period way of life. Different groups abandoned tribal lifeways for increasing complexity, sedentism and agriculture. Production of surplus corn and attractions of the regional chiefdoms led to rapid population concentrations in major centers; the Middle Mississippi period is the apex of the Mississippi era. The expansion of the great metropolis and ceremonial complex at Cahokia, the formation of other complex chiefdoms, the spread and development of SECC art and symbolism are characteristic changes of this period.
The Mississippian traits listed above came to be widespread throughout the region. The Late Mississippi period is characterized by increasing warfare, political turmoil, population movement; the population of Cahokia dispersed early in this period migrating to other rising political centers. More defensive structures are seen at sites, sometimes a decline in mound-building and large-scale, public ceremonialism. Although some areas continued an Middle Mississippian culture until the first significant contact with Europeans, the population of most areas had dispersed or were experiencing severe social stress by 1500. Along with the contemporaneous Ancestral Pueblo peoples, these cultural collapses coincide with the global climate change of the Little Ice Age. Scholars theorize drought and the reduction of maize agriculture, together with possible deforestation and overhunting by the concentrated populations, forced them to move away from major sites; this period ended with European contact in the 16th century.
The term Middle Mississippian is used to describe the core of the classic Mississippian culture area. This area covers the central Mississippi River Valley, the lower Ohio River Valley, most of the Mid-South area, including western and central Kentucky, western Tennessee, northern Alabama and Mississippi. Sites in this area often
Alton is a city on the Mississippi River in Madison County, United States, about 15 miles north of St. Louis, Missouri; the population was 27,865 at the 2010 census. It is a part of the Metro-East region of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area, it is famous for its limestone bluffs along the river north of the city, for its role preceding and during the American Civil War, as the home town of jazz musician Miles Davis and Robert Wadlow, the tallest known person in history. It was the site of the last Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debate in October 1858; the former state penitentiary in Alton was used during the Civil War to hold up to 12,000 Confederate prisoners of war. Although Alton once was growing faster than its sister city of St. Louis, a coalition of St. Louis businessmen planned to build a competing town to stop its expansion and bring business to St. Louis; the result was Illinois. Many blocks of housing in Alton were built in the Victorian Queen Anne style. At the top of the hill in the commercial area, several stone churches and a fine city hall represent the city's wealth during its good times based on river traffic and shipping.
It was a commercial center for a large agricultural area. Numerous residences on hills have sweeping views of the Mississippi River; the Alton area was home to Native Americans for thousands of years before the 19th-century founding by European Americans of the modern city. Historic accounts indicate occupation of this area by the Illiniwek or Illinois Confederacy at the time of European contact. Earlier native settlement is demonstrated by archaeological artifacts and the famous prehistoric Piasa bird painted on a cliff face nearby; the image was first written about in 1673 by French missionary priest Father Jacques Marquette. Alton was developed as a river town in 1818 by Rufus Easton. Easton ran a passenger ferry service across the Mississippi River to the Missouri shore. Alton is located amid the confluence of three significant navigable rivers: the Illinois, the Mississippi, the Missouri. Alton grew into a river trading town with an industrial character; the city rises steeply from the waterfront, where massive concrete grain silos and railroad tracks were constructed in the 19th and 20th centuries to aid in shipping the area's grains and produce.
Brick commercial buildings are located throughout downtown. Once the site of several brick factories, Alton has an unusually high number of streets still paved in brick; the lower levels of Alton are subject to floods, many of which have inundated the historic downtown area. The flood levels of different dates are marked on the large grain silos, part of the Ardent Mills, near the Argosy Casino at the waterfront; the flood of 1993 is considered the worst in the last 100 years. It became an important town for abolitionists, as Illinois was a free state across from the slave state of Missouri. Pro-slavery activists lived there and slave catchers raided the city. Escaped slaves would cross the Mississippi to seek shelter in Alton, proceed to safer places through stations of the Underground Railroad. During the years before the American Civil War, several homes were equipped with tunnels and hiding places for stations on the Underground Railroad to aid slaves escaping to the North. On November 7, 1837, the abolitionist printer Reverend Elijah P. Lovejoy was murdered by a pro-slavery mob while he tried to protect his Alton-based press from being destroyed for the third time.
He had moved from St. Louis because of opposition there, he had distributed them throughout the area. When one of the mob made a move to set the old warehouse on fire, armed with only a pistol, went outside to try to stop him; the pro-slavery man shot him dead. Lovejoy thus became the first martyr of the abolition movement. Alton became the seat of a diocese of the Catholic Church in 1857, its first bishop was French-born Henry Damian Juncker. The new diocese had 18 priests and 50,000 Catholics; when he died, 11 years the churches were 125, the priests more than 100, the Catholics 80,000. He was succeeded by Peter Joseph Baltes from James Ryan. In 1923 the bishop's seat was moved to Illinois; the Diocese of Alton, no longer a residential bishopric, is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see. Titular bishops appointed to the see have been Josu Iriondo. Congressional representatives came to Alton when they drafted the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution, to permanently end slavery throughout the Union.
Alton resident and US Senator Lyman Trumbull, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, co-wrote the Thirteenth Amendment. His Alton home, the Lyman Trumbull House, is a National Historic Monument. On October 15, 1858, Alton was the site of the seventh Lincoln-Douglas debate. A memorial at the site in downtown Alton features oversized statues of Lincoln and Douglas, as they would have appeared during the debate. Just two weeks into the American Civil War, Alton played an important part in the infamous Camp Jackson Affair, which in large part led to the eviction of Missouri Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson from office; the State of Missouri's nominal neutrality was tested in a conflict over the St. Louis Arsenal; the Federal Government reinforced the Arsenal's tiny garrison with several detachments, most notably a force from the 2nd Infantry under Captain Nathaniel Lyon. Concerned by widespread reports that Governor Jackson intended to use the Missouri Volunteer Militia to at