The city of Alton in Madison County, Illinois, may not sound as grand as the neighboring St. Louis in Missouri, but the former was growing faster than the latter at some point in history.
However, its historical heritage and location on the bank of the Mississippi River had made it an excellent place for all curiosity-seekers.
Right here, you could pay homage to anti-slavery, visit the exact spot where the last debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas happened in 1858, and felt the emotion at the ruins of the former state prison that held 12,000 confederate prisoners of war. The long list of notable residents also makes Alton worth a visit.
Among the most recognizable of the city’s famous people was Robert Wadlow, known to those closest to him as a gentle young man who loved philately and photography, yet to the rest of the world, he was an undisputed giant – the tallest man in recorded history.
At the age of 22 and not yet fully grown, Robert stood 8 feet 11 inches. Doctors diagnosed him with the hyperactive pituitary gland, an untreatable condition in his lifetime.
10 /10 Quiet Inspiration
Throughout his relatively short life, Robert Wadlow earned a special place in the history of Alton.
He is always remembered as a quiet young man with a strong will to overcome his handicap and a great personality that inspired everyone else around him.
He spent no more than a year in a circus, yet he never was, during that time, officially part of a sideshow attraction.
The people of Alton until today still think of him never as a freak, only a young quiet, friendly, intelligent giant with a big heart.
9 /10 Normal Baby
Born on February 22, 1918, there was nothing to suggest that Robert Wadlow would spend life as an oddity of nature.
The first day he came to this world, he weighed 8 pounds and 6 ounces; Robert was a normal-sized baby by all accounts.
That view soon changed as, during the first 12 months, he had increased to reach a little more than 44 pounds.
When most nine-year-old boys got an average height of just around 4 feet 4 inches, Robert was already 6′ 2″ unusually tall. Showmen were begging his family to bring him to the circus.