Alton Cemetery, like many Nineteenth Century cemeteries around the United States, sits on rugged topography, utilizing land that otherwise was not suitable for building houses or businesses. Of course, in Alton just about everywhere above the first couple of streets along the river are steep. For comparison with another cemetery built on rugged bluffs, see Woodland Cemetery in Quincy, Illinois.
An interesting, and slightly unique aspect to this cemetery that is not common the Missouri side of the river are the presence of squat stone walls between burial plots. Above, the actual Elijah P. Lovejoy grave possesses one of these walls. The fencing present is not common–most fences were melted down in World War II, from what I understand.
The sun paints dappled light across the gravestones throughout the cemetery, creating a peaceful, and typically Victorian era burial space.
We were also pleasantly surprised to discover that Alton is featuring actors every Saturday in October that bring the people alive who are buried there. From a young diphtheria victim, to a Civil War soldier, the actors tell the story of one person buried in the cemetery. It’s not cheesy, or campy, but very well done, and I encourage you to visit the cemetery to see their performances.