In the summer of 1993, very heavy and extensive rains began falling in the upper Midwest. This historic event pushed the Mississippi and Missouri rivers to record flood levels, and caused one of the most dramatic and damaging natural disasters in the history of the United States.
As the Mississippi swelled within its banks, the people of Alton braced themselves for the flood of the century. Though they fought a valiant battle, the river finally surged its way into downtown Alton, causing extensive damage.
"The battle with the river began in early April and continued until August 2nd. On some days the water rose a foot an hour. We didn't think it would ever stop raining. I have never seen so many good people give so much of themselves as during that flood."
—Don Huber, Alton resident
A worker wades through thigh-high water in downtown Alton during the flood of 1993.
Foodwaters in 1993 reached 9.5 feet above the street on the ConAgra grain silos in downtown Alton. Look for the line painted on the silos that indicates the record level of the river during the flood.
During the flood of 1993, Alton residents and volunteers worked all day and night filling sandbags to build floodwalls and reinforce levees. Despite their heroic efforts,
downtown Alton lost its battle as river levels rose 21.7 feet above flood stage.