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Alton

The Lincoln-Douglas Square in Alton commemorates one of the city's claims to fame. It also welcomes visitors to the town of almost 27,000 people. March 21, 2018.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

When Lauren Pattan and James Rogalsky started looking for a building to house their brewery, they didn’t plan to move from St. Louis to Alton, where they’d both grown up. But they found the perfect building on Landmark Boulevard, right near the riverfront and off Alton’s old Antiques Row on East Broadway, and it swayed them.

The downtown stretch of Broadway, Rogalsky said, had been “neglected for the last several decades.” But in the last few years, new businesses have opened on the street. Established food staples moved from the city’s traditional main street to Broadway. A tattoo parlor opened at the same intersection as beauty and art supply shops, and a self-serve craft beer bar cropped up.

Robert Wadlow on tour with the International Shoe Company. Crowds of thousands would flock to Wadlow wherever he went.
Alton Museum of History and Art

Feb. 22, 2018, marks the centennial of the birth of Robert Wadlow, the tallest man who ever lived, and a lifelong resident of Alton.

Wadlow was normal size at birth, but a growth on his pituitary gland caused him to grow rapidly and never stop. By kindergarten, he was 5 feet 4 inches. He grew to 8 feet 11, and 490 pounds, by the time he died at age 22.

Head Start teacher Chea Wyatt guides Kennydi Harris through an exercise June 23, 2017 at the East St. Louis Kindergarten readiness camp.
File Photo |Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

For the first time this school year, Illinois public schools statewide are required to measure and report how prepared their kindergartners were for school.

The state board of education is collecting the data to better understand what regions are lacking preschool access.

However, area school districts are concerned the reporting process is time consuming. Several expressed doubt that the information will be useful.

Freida L. Wheaton, Denise Ward-Brown and Sun Smith-Floret.
Mary Edwards | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, contributor Steve Potter discussed Jacoby Arts Center’s multi-platform artistic exploration entitled “Social Justice: Both Sides of the River,” which opened earlier this July.

Alton school board finance committee director Chris Norman said though negotiations went long, a teachers strike would have still been weeks away.
Courtesy Alton Community School District #11 Facebook

A teachers strike in the Alton School District has likely been averted, and a new two-year contract for teachers is one step closer to being approved.

At a special meeting Friday morning, the school board's finance committee tentatively approved a counter proposal from the Alton Education Association, which is representing district teachers.

Photo courtesy of the artist.

There’s no reason  for fans of the man who “defined cool” to be “Kind of Blue” this weekend as the Miles Davis Memorial project plans to unveil its sculpture of the renowned jazz musician in Alton.  A musical celebration that will put a swing in the step of local jazz aficionados will accompany the unveiling.

via Flickr\Orbspiders

What is art?

That is the question Alton, Ill. residents and council members debated after the owner of a tattoo parlor, Grand Piasa Body Art, proposed relocating his business to East Broadway Street, in the city’s historic downtown district.

Photo courtesy of the artist.

Miles Davis once said, “Always look ahead, but never look back.” Yet some Alton residents believe looking back is a matter of pride.

The Miles Davis Memorial Project maintains a varied fundraising approach in its effort to erect a statue in Davis’ honor. The group has held events, started Indiegogo campaigns and gathered donations.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Governmental and religious officials rallied Thursday for the Illinois Department of Transportation to build a high-speed rail stop in East St. Louis. 

IDOT working on a high-speed rail line connecting St. Louis to Chicago. Construction is already underway on rail improvements between Joliet and Alton, where a station is under construction. 

Efforts Underway To Erect Statue Of Miles Davis In Alton

Aug 23, 2013
Brickstreet Design in Alton, IL

Plans are in motion to erect a bronze statue of jazz musician Miles Davis at his birthplace in Alton, Ill.  The city council of Alton gave its approval in July, and sculptor Preston Jackson has been commissioned to build the statue.

Jackson's design was selected out of a pool of ten. A professor emeritus from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Jackson is also a musician and lover of jazz music.

Alton continues longest-running Memorial Day Parade

May 28, 2012
Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

The small town of Alton, Ill. boasts of having the longest consecutive Memorial Day Parade in the country. The community has honored the sacrifices of its sons and daughters in uniform for 145 years. 

Korean War veteran Harry Kortcamp says he was a boy the first time he marched in Alton’s Memorial Day Parade.

“When they had victory in Germany, I marched in that parade," he said. "When they had victory in Japan, I marched in that parade as a member of the Alton Legion Drum and Bugle Corps.”

LaHood to announce $44M for Illinois road, rail

Dec 15, 2011
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

More than $44 million in federal transportation money is headed to Illinois for two projects in the Chicago area and one in Alton in southern Illinois.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is to announce the funding Thursday at a Chicago "L" station with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. It's part of more than a half-billion dollars in federal transportation funding for 46 projects in 33 states.

An Alton, Ill. soldier was awarded the Army's Silver Star, the third-highest military award for valor while on his fourth tour of duty.

Army Sgt. 1st Class John P. Fleming, 32, received the honor after tending to wounded soldiers and directing aircraft fending off enemy gunfire so the injured could be evacuated, the News Democrat reports. The incident is described in more detail: 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 5, 2009 - The Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau is putting a new twist on that pastime that's become a winter tradition in the St. Louis area: eagle watching.

Thanks to the CVB, eagle watchers can use their GPS units to find geo cached treasures with an eagle slant in a new sport called eagle-caching.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 16, 2008 - The Alton Telegraph is fighting a subpoena from a Madison County grand jury seeking the identities of anonymous Web posters who may have information about a murder case. First Amendment experts say the case could break new legal ground.

The Great Rivers National Scenic Byway 2008
Courtesy, Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 29, 2008- The Loading Dock Bar and Grill in Grafton, Ill., is all concrete and steel. Utilities hover above, the walls are really garage doors, and the view brings customers from far and near to sit and sip where the Mississippi and Illinois rivers meet.

It's also a symbol of lessons learned.