About the Town
Although it’s sometimes described as one of America’s most haunted towns, Alton’s tight-knit community and beautiful riverfront instantly reassure visitors that there is nothing to be afraid of. Separated from St. Louis by the mighty Mississippi, the town’s rich history and spirited community make it ripe for a revival.
The 200-year-old town has an astoundingly rich history: It has been home to presidential debates, the Underground Railroad, Miles Davis and the world’s tallest man. At one point, the community boasted the highest number of millionaires per capita of anywhere in the United States. But a changing economy and a declining population have reshaped the community.
Now, Alton is in the midst of an entrepreneurial reinvention. New businesses have begun to line East Broadway, the town’s main thoroughfare. From a self-pour craft beer taproom to a post-office that was converted into a small business incubator, Alton’s unique businesses draw a diverse crowd, and the community has also attracted artists from around the country to participate in the river town’s current renaissance. Residents are hoping the Small Business Revolution can help contribute to the next chapter in Alton’s story.