Visitors Guide to the
The Elijah P. Lovejoy Memorial
Alton Cemetery at Monument Avenue
Elijah Parish Lovejoy was born in Albion,
Maine, November 9, 1802. In 1826 he came to St. Louis as a school teacher.
Ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1834, he later published a religious
newspaper, The St. Louis Observer, and began to advocate the abolition of
Despite strong opposition, Lovejoy was a champion for freedom of the press,
freedom of speech, and freedom from slavery. When, in 1836, he published a full
account of the lynching of an African American in St. Louis and the subsequent
trial that acquitted the mob leaders, his critical report angered some city
residents. In July of that year his press was destroyed by a mob, and he moved
across the river to Alton, Illinois.
at the Alton Museum of History and Art
Lovejoy enraged some of
Alton's citizens by actively supporting the organization of the
Anti-slavery Society of Illinois and establishing the Alton Observer
as an abolitionist newspaper. He continued writing and publishing
even after three printing presses had been destroyed and thrown into
the Mississippi River. On the night of November 7, 1837, a group of
twenty supporters joined him at the Godfrey & Gilman warehouse to
guard a new press until it could be installed at the Observer. When
a pro-slavery mob assembled outside the warehouse, Alton's mayor
tried to persuade the defenders inside to abandon the press. They
refused and the pro-slavery mob tried to set the warehouse on fire.
As Lovejoy attempted to put out the fire, he was killed by a shotgun
blast. Soon after the mob allowed the remaining defenders to leave
and then proceeded to destroy the printing press. Lovejoy was buried
on his 35th birthday, November 9, 1837, in an unmarked grave in the
Alton City Cemetery.
Plans for a Lovejoy monument began in the 1850's but it wasn’t until
the 1890's that work began in earnest. The memorial centers on a
93-foot high granite column topped by a 17-foot high winged statue
of Victory which is guarded by two granite sentinel columns 30 feet
high and mounted by bronze eagles. The monument was dedicated
November 7, 1897, the sixtieth anniversary of Lovejoy's death.
Following a renovation, the monument was rededicated in a ceremony
on September 25, 1969.
Visiting the Lovejoy
The Lovejoy Monument can be visited daily from dawn to
There is no charge to visit the Lovejoy
Directions: The Lovejoy Monument
is located on Monument Avenue off Broadway just east of the Clark Bridge and
N 38 53.392
W 90 09.963
more about the Alton area.
Monument - State of Illinois site
Parish Lovejoy -
"a Martyr on the Altar of American Liberty" is a good history on Lovejoy's life.