Galena Illinois History
Located in the northwestern corner of Illinois, Galena is known for
its architecture, rich and unique history, ski and golf resorts, and
quaint downtown area. Established in 1826, Galena was actually named
after the mineral Galena, the natural mineral form of lead sulfide.
In the early 1800s, this lead ore mineral was found in the region,
and by 1845, Galena was shipping nearly 27,000 tons of lead ore on
the Galena River, a tributary of the Mississippi River. The
population in Galena Illinois ballooned to 14,000 by the mid 19th
century, and Galena became the busiest port on the Mississippi River
between St. Paul and St. Louis. Because of Galena's economic
importance during this time, Galena became a hub of political
activity in Illinois. Both Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas
spoke from the balcony of the DeSoto House in Galena Illinois, and
in 1860, Ulysses S. Grant left his St. Louis farm and moved to
Galena to work in his father's leather goods store. It was in this
political environment that Grant met many influential friends and
was subsequently named a General in the Civil War, thus ending his
seven year hiatus from the military. Until Grant left for the Civil
War in the spring of 1861, he and his wife Julia rented a Federal
style brick home for $100 a year on High Street. When Grant returned
to Galena as a triumphant general in 1865, the town of Galena IL
presented him with a fully furnished, grand home on Bouthillier
Street. Today, the Grant House is managed by the Illinois Historic
Preservation Agency as the
U.S. Grant Home State Historic Site and
is open to the public. In 1868, Grant awaited the results of his
successful run for the Presidency in the home of Congressman Elihu
Washburne, also a current historic site open to the public.
The decline of the lead mining industry and onset of the California
Gold Rush slowly dried up the buzz of activity in Galena Illinois.
Today, the population in Galena IL rests at 3,600. Although the
population is a fraction of what it once was, Galena is one of the
most well preserved and intact historic towns in America. Over 85%
of Galena's buildings are listed on the National Register of
Historic Places. Main Street features the same narrow, two miles of
sidewalks and street it did in the mid-1800s, and the numerous
boutiques, galleries, restaurants and stores delight over 1 million
visitors a year. Galena is alive once again, retelling a pivotal
time in American history through the quaint landscape, historic
buildings and streets that voice the past with grace and grandeur.
Known as the "town that time forgot," come discover the beauty,
charm and antiquity awaiting you in Galena Illinois.
Queen Anne Guest House is a beautiful Galena Bed & Breakfast located
very close to Main Street. This Victorian Bed and Breakfast in
Galena Illinois has been featured in books such as "America's
Painted Ladies", "Victorian Express" and "Treasures of Illinois".
Come discover the alluring, friendly and historic town of Galena
Illinois, a place that is truly fixed in time. Browse our site for
more information about Things to Do in Galena Illinois
like Galena IL Skiing, Galena Winery, Apple River Canyon State Park
and you will be sure to experience the unique Galena Illinois
For more information or to make reservations, contact us at 815-777-3849,
email us, or
click here to book online.