ALTON - Families and longtime residents of the Mexico region in Alton came together for a “Back to Mexico” block party on Sept. 2.

Get The Latest News!

Don't miss our top stories and need-to-know news everyday in your inbox.

Alton’s Mexico area stretches from Tremont Street to Union Street along Central Avenue. The Back to Mexico Committee organizes this event every year so former and current residents can connect and remember the area’s history.

“It just brings me so much joy,” committee member Faye Taylor said. “It’s just like a big family gathering or picnic. It is a community event…and we have people come back from Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, Indiana, wherever.”

This year, attendees marked the occasion with a cookout, bounce house, face painting, vendors and games. Alton High School students who are part of the Alton Section of the National Council of Negro Women volunteered throughout the day.

Article continues after sponsor message

While the Back to Mexico event is a fun celebration, it’s also a nod to history. This section of Alton has been known as Mexico for years, likely because it used to be populated by Mexican employees of the former Illinois Glass Company. Today, the Mexico neighborhoods are in the Fourth Ward of Alton. Alderwoman Rosetta Brown expressed her appreciation for the committee and “rich history” of Mexico.

Other Alton residents shared stories about growing up in the Mexico region. Cassandra Warlick spoke about playing on the stretch of Highland Avenue between two taverns, helping her grandfather in the garden, and the competition between her grandfather and the Sanders family over who had the most boys; the winner got the trash route. (Bob Sanders won and founded Sanders Waste Systems.)

“We remember the old days, what it used to be,” Warlick added. “We weren’t rich, but we had a nice childhood. When you look back, you miss that…As we get older, we want to leave the younger kids with something to remember.”

This is the main reason for the Back to Mexico event. A list of families hung on a clothesline next to pictures of Mexico residents, so people could remember who used to live there and see whose relatives are still present. As the day stretched on, a firetruck from the Alton Fire Department stopped by, and the Alton Police Department brought their K9 unit.

Brown noted that the Back to Mexico celebration was a great day for positivity and community.

“We know we need some positive vibes, and this is the positive vibe location right here on Highland Avenue, blocks and blocks of Highland Avenue,” she told the crowd. “The vibe is moving, the people are grooving and we’re here.”

More like this:

Mar 14, 2024 - Alton Teen Arrested For First Degree Murder Of 13-Year-Old

Feb 10, 2024 - Third Defendant Charged With Attempted Murder In Shooting Of 13-Year-Old Girl In Alton

Feb 14, 2024 - Amended First-Degree Murder Charges Announced Against Five in Fatal Shooting of Alton Girl

Mar 13, 2024 - Senior Standout Jada Bruce Embodies Alton High's Spirit of Giving, Is An Alton-Godfrey Rotary Club Student Of The Month

Feb 6, 2024 - Alton Alderwoman Rosetta Brown Speaks Out Against Gun Violence