HGTV’s Most Charming Illinois Town? It’s Also Full of History
Charming is such a subjective word. What's charming to one person may be irritating to another. However, there's no arguing history and the Illinois town that was just named the most "charming" is also full of vital American history.
Let's get the charming part out of the way right from the beginning. This recent ranking comes from the very prestigious HGTV top 50. They looked at all 50 states and declared the one town each contains that is the most appealing in a charming kind of way.
What does HGTV say is Illinois' most charming town?
Answer - Alton, Illinois.
The reasons HGTV gave for naming Alton the most charming Illinois town are interesting. They mentioned the ample bald eagle watching places and how haunted it is. Alrighty, then.
Now, let's dig into the rich history of Alton. Wikipedia provides a detailed description of how vital Alton was even before the Civil War. Both abolitionists and pro-slavery groups clashed in Alton as it was one of the places with Underground Railroad access and that made it a target for pro-slavery forces. This intense conflict came to a head late in 1837 as Wikipedia says:
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.
That made him the first martyr of the slavery conflict.
Alton, Illinois was also a location for one of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1858. Decades later, Alton would become famous again as the birthplace of Robert Pershing Wadlow, the world's tallest man ever at 8 feet 11.1 inches.
When you factor in Alton's proximity to the Mississippi River and it's recovery from the devastating flood of 93, "charming" barely begins to aptly describe what this city means to Illinois and America.
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Gallery Credit: decayingmidwest via YouTube