Altamont, Illinois, a small city located in the south-central region of the state, has a rich history. Over the years, Altamont has played host to several historical events that have impacted the city, its residents, and the surrounding region. Here are seven such historical events:
1. Formation of Altamont - Altamont was first settled in the early 1800s and was officially incorporated as a city in 1867. The city was named after the Latin phrase "alta monte," which means "high mountain," referencing the town's elevation above the nearby Kaskaskia River.
2. Lincoln-Douglas Debates - Altamont played host to an event that would become a pivotal moment in American politics. On September 18, 1858, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas held a debate in Altamont as part of their campaign for a United States Senate seat from Illinois.
3. Altamont Riots - One of the most significant events in Altamont's history was the Altamont Riots, also known as the Altamont Massacre. On December 6, 1969, a free concert featuring The Rolling Stones was held at Altamont Speedway, a race track located just outside the city. The concert was supposed to be a peaceful event, but a series of violent incidents occurred, culminating in the stabbing death of Meredith Hunter.
4. Birthplace of Georgie Anne Geyer - Georgie Anne Geyer was a journalist who covered foreign affairs for several American newspapers and news magazines. She was born in Altamont on April 2, 1935.
5. Altamont Speedway - Besides the Rolling Stones concert, Altamont Speedway also played an integral role in the history of stock car racing. The track hosted numerous races throughout the 1960s and 1970s, with some of the biggest names in racing, like Mario Andretti, Richard Petty, and A.J. Foyt, participating.
6. Civil War Camp - Altamont was also home to a Civil War camp called Camp Altamont. The camp was set up in 1861 and served as a training site for Union soldiers until 1865.
7. Oil Discovery - In 1940, oil was discovered in Altamont, leading to the creation of multiple oil wells throughout the area. The discovery of oil brought new economic opportunities to the city, providing jobs and boosting the local economy.
In conclusion, Altamont has a rich and diverse history that has been shaped by many significant events. From Lincoln-Douglas debates to the Altamont Riots to the discovery of oil, the city has played a critical role in the development of Illinois and the broader United States. Whether you are a history buff or just a curious visitor, Altamont has plenty of fascinating stories to discover.
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