John Hayward, Gazetteer of the United States of America… (Philadelphia: James L. Gihon, 1854), 268.
Alton, Ill., city, Madison co. Situated on the east bank of the Mississippi, 82 miles W. by S. from Springfield, the capital of the state. This place has an excellent steamboat landing, and is advantageously situated for trade. It extends along the river about 2 miles; and back, from half a mile to a mile. The streets, which are laid out with regularity, are from 60 to 180 feet wide. The place has had a rapid growth. There are churches here of the Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, Evangelical, Lutheran, and Unitarian denominations. Two or three weekly newspapers are published here. There are several large commission houses, a great number of stores, a flouring mill, a brewery, saw mills, &c. Quite a number of steamboats doing business on the Mississippi, Missouri, and Illinois Rivers, are owned here. The surrounding country is rich in fine timber, limestone, and bituminous coal.