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Alton Prison, Alton

#14 of 16 in Things to do in Alton
Historic Site · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
The Alton Military Prison was an Illinois prison located in Alton, Illinois. Opening as Illinois State Prison in 1833 Alton was the first state penitentiary in Illinois which originally held 24 cells. By 1857, when it was replaced by a new state prison in Joliet, the prison housed 256 cells. In 1862, the U.S. government reopened the prison to house Confederate prisoners of war during the Civil War. The prison housed over 11,000 prisoners during the war. Deaths at the prison were more common than at other Union prisons, and prisoners faced harsh conditions and regular outbreaks of diseases such as smallpox and rubella. 1,534 Confederate soldiers and many Union soldiers and civilians are known to have died at the prison.
The prison closed in 1865 and was later demolished; all that remains of the structure is a section of a wall. The site of the prison was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 31, 1974. It is also part of the Christian Hill Historic District, which was listed on the National Register in 1978.
A visit to Alton Prison represents just the start of the adventure when you use our Alton road trip planning site to plot your vacation.
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  • A confederate history must, There isn't much there any longer, but the history behind the place and stories attached to it, makes a great place to stop.  more »

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