Friday, November 24, 2006

Alton Riverfront

Here's a shot of Alton, Illinois from across the Mississippi River taken in October 2006. I was standing on what is referred to as Small Pox Island. However, this spot is not the true Small Pox Island. That island was removed during the construction of the original Lock and Dam No. 26 at Alton. Small Pox Island got its name during the Civil War. The Union held Confederate POWs at a prison in Alton. After an outbreak of small pox, infected prisoners were quarantined on a small island in the Mississippi River just above the city. It was a horrible situation and many Confederate soldiers died on the island.

The area now called Small Pox Island is not really an island at all. It's a small spit of land that holds part of the former lock and dam. There is also a memorial to the soldiers who died on the island. A granite monument bears the name, military unit and date of death for each soldier who did not make it off the island. (Click on the photo to view a larger sized image.)