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This small scrap of land on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River is the gift that keeps giving both in terms of my photography and in terms of simply enjoying the beauties of the natural world.

It's rather curious that it does, for it is little more than a giant parking lot with a boat ramp attached. Consequently, it has little beauty of its own unless you happen to love wide parking places, but it offers some the best looking landscapes in the area in all directions around it. Aiding this outlook is a massively overbuilt viewing platform that looks as if should serve a much more robust function than simple allowing people to get a wide panorama of the Mississippi River and Alton.There's a lot of history associated with this spot. During the American Civil War, the area was set aside as a smallpox quarantine annex for a prisoner-of-war camp at Alton. The mortality rate, unsurprisingly, was very high and a memorial to those who lost their lives has been erected next between the viewing platform and the parking lot.I have little doubt that this grim antecedent gives this location a rather more tangible aura of history than it would otherwise have and contributes to a moderating of the rather utilitarian aspect of the surrounding architecture. The park itself is named after a little known incident that occurred early in Abraham Lincoln's political career – a duel between Lincoln and another Illinois politician named James Shields that is likely to have occurred on this particular site. The fascinating story is told here.

Apart from the delicious sunset shown in the top photo and here, the following shots (that have been seen on this blog before) have all been taken at this spot. You can see why I like it so much.