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Alton (ôlˈtən) [key], city (1990 pop. 32,905), Madison co., SW Ill., on bluffs of the Mississippi River 5 mi (8.1 km) above its confluence with the Missouri; inc. 1837. Alton is a shipping and industrial center, and there are oil refineries nearby. Food products, lime, crushed stone, lumber, crystal, paperboard, maechinery, and steel are produced. Riverboat gambling, a redeveloped riverfront, and antique stores attract tourists. The Clark Bridge across the Mississippi connects Alton with West Alton, Mo., and the St. Louis metropolitan area. Of interest are a monument to the abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy, who was killed by a mob in Alton; a tablet marking the site of the last Lincoln-Douglas debate (1858); and a cemetery where many captured Confederate soldiers are buried. Alton suffered extensive flood damage in 1993.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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