Pre-event: Road to Freedom Tour

Date: Tuesday, January 23
Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Cost: $100 per person (includes transportation and admission fees)

9:00 AM Pick Up at Union Station Hotel
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Freedom to Equality Tour
Explore Black History in the historic Mississippi River community of Alton, IL on this new guided shuttle tour where stories and songs are used to bring the city’s history to life! Dive in to the past and learn about Alton’s significance on the Underground Railroad, discover the legendary abolitionists who fought against slavery and follow the stories of local Civil Rights leaders who made their mark on the city and the nation.
12:15 PM – 1:30 PM: Lunch on your own in Alton
There are many fabulous options for dining near Broadway in Lower Alton. My Just Desserts is known for their pies and Chicken Salad Sandwich. Old Bakery Beer Company has delightful brews, great food, and a surprising number of vegetarian options. Brown Bag Bistro makes exceptional sandwiches. There are many more to choose from – within walking distance of the downtown shopping district.
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Visit Hamilton Primary School
Built in 1835, the Hamilton Primary School was the first free and integrated school in the United States. A monument to Dr. Hamilton, the visionary benefactor of the school, is located at the site. It was dedicated by George Washington, a former slave who was freed by his master, the same Dr. Hamilton. Dr. Silas Hamilton, a Vermont physician, settled his practice in Otterville, Illinois in 1830 with his slave, George. Upon his death in 1834, he left behind $4,000 to establish a primary school in Otterville that would be free to residents along with his freed slave George. George became a successful farmer and active member of the Otterville Baptist Church. In 1864, George died leaving an estate to erect a monument west of the schoolhouse to his former master and began a scholarship fund for the education of African Americans. On the site, Dr. Hamilton, George Washington, and Gilbert Douglas (Hamilton’s brother-in-law) are buried in a crypt. This is one of the only known instances where a slave erected a monument for this master and where the two are buried side-by-side.
3:15 PM – 4:15 PM: Visit Cheney Mansion
As one of the first houses built in Jerseyville, the Cheney Mansion is a 12-room mansion featuring vintage clothing, military artifacts, toys, pictures and other items of historical interest. Serving as the Jersey County Historical Museum, the mansion is available for touring.
5:00 PM Drop Off at Union Station Hotel

Departs from and returns to the Union Station Hotel Lobby

Location: Terminal Atrium


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