State House Circle
Pride, Incorporated led a fundraising effort for a beautification project at what is known among Altonians as the old State House Circle. It is located at College and Central Avenues and adjacent to OSF St.Anthony’s Health Center. To celebrate Pride, Incorporated’s 50th anniversary as a beautification organization, we felt it was a perfect beautification project that would further improve our neighborhoods. This location holds historic significance to Alton.
The first capital of Illinois was located in Vandalia, Illinois. In the late 1820s, Illinois citizens began to advocate relocating the capitol to a location nearer the center of the state. A bill was introduced in 1833 for a statewide vote to determine a new location from a list of choices including Alton, Jacksonville, Peoria, Springfield, and Vandalia, which were at the state’s actual geographic center. Alton was the victor, however, the legislature determined the margin of votes too small to be conclusive and ignored the vote. In 1836, a young lawyer named Abraham Lincoln and his colleagues, of the legal profession, advocated moving the capital to Springfield. On February 25, 1837, the General Assembly voted to relocate the capital from Vandalia to Springfield. Hence, had the vote been upheld, State House Circle would have been the location of the Illinois state capitol.
Several years ago, the Alton/Godfrey Rotary organization updated the fountains and planted trees at the location. Over time, the trees became overgrown and unmanageable. Through the cooperation of the City of Alton, the trees were removed in preparation for the new landscaping project. Alton/Godfrey Rotary and OSF St. Anthony’s Health Center became partners with Pride, Inc. to initiate the work. Along with Pride’s fundraising efforts and the generosity of so many businesses and individuals the stone beds and appropriate landscaping was completed.
State House Circle has now been restored to the prominence it deserves.