Alto is an unincorporated community located in Kent County in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is situated on Platt Lake Creek, at the intersection of Bancroft Avenue and 60th Street, just west of M-50 about two miles south of exit 52 off I-96.
Alto, which means "high," received its name from being the highest point along the railroad line on which it is situated. The elevation is somewhat higher to much higher than the surrounding cities of Caledonia, Lowell and Middleville.
Alto is situated at on the boundary between section 33 of Lowell Township and section 4 of Bowne Township, although it lies mostly within Bowne. The Alto ZIP code 49302 serves most of Browne Township as well as portions of Lowell Township to the north, Cascade Township to the northwest, and Caledonia Township to the west. It also serve a very small area of Campbell Township in Ionia County around the community of Elmdale.
Alto was founded by David N. Skidmore in 1845. A post office was established in September 1851 with Daniel C McVean as the first postmaster. Alto was also a station on the Detroit, Grand Rapids and Western Railroad. It was named by Lucy Skidmore McVean for being the highest point of land between Grand Rapids and Detroit.