Galena Historical Museum
Extra photographs are a MUST SEE if you want to smile
Jill and I had a "blast" at the Galena History Museum. It's also called Galena/Jo Daviess County History Museum.
It is located in an 1858 Italian-style mansion that, in itself, is a treat to see. It was formerly home to a local retailer.The museum has special exhibits that feature Grant and the Civil War, steam boating, clothing, geology, toys, dolls, mining, and agriculture.
Since we love anything about the Civil War, we loved the rare photographs & personal items of U.S. Grant and the famouse Painting called "Peace in Union" of Lee's surrender to Grant.
Perhaps the most remarkable offering in this local museum is an abandoned mineshaft. It's an original 1830's mine shaft which you can see for yourself. It's a specially constructed viewing platform that allows you to look 30 feet down into an original shaft. You can see for yourself You can also see a video on Galena's history on the hour.
If you wish, you may want to visit the book, gift, and antique shop.
211 South Bench Street, Galena, IL 61036
Daily from 9 am until 4:30 pm
Child [under 10] Free
The Long House
The Long House isn't all that great of an attraction since you can't even enter, but it is conveniently located outside the Ulysses S. Grant House so you might want to take a look .
The Longs were a family, and this is the house they lived in, preserved because it is typical of the homes of its time, circa 1850. The sign outside tells a little bit about the house, like how the work was done downstairs and the family of five slept upstairs.
Old Market House
The Old Market House was a public building that was the center of the community's life during Galen's "Golden Era." Today it serves for a Grant Exhibition and Information Center.
It was constructed in 1845-1846; it's a Greek Revival structure that sheltered vendors and shoppers at one time. In 1947, ownership was transferred to the State of Illinois. In 1955, it was completely restored. Right now it is managed by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. They change exhibits frequently [except for the Grant exhibit]. They also have meetings here and do special events throughout the year.
When it was a real Market House, the first floor was divided into 12 stalls which rented for $50.00 per year. A bell was rung to announce the opening and closing of the market.
The second floor housed the surveyor's office and the city council chamber.
I found it interesting that in 1846, two jail cells were built in the basement.
Since City Markets ended about 1910, the old building started to deteriorate. Thankfully, the State of Illinois restored it.
It is Free;however, donations are encouraged which goes toward maintenance.
Wednesday through Sunday from 9am-5pm April through October.
Winter hours are Wednesday through Sunday 10am-4pm
Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Also it is totally closed mid-December through mid-March.
"Welcome to Galena"
Galena is a small, historic town located in the far NW corner of Illinois, only about ten miles from Dubuque. It is hard to believe, but Galena was a thriving trading town when Chicago was made of mud huts. That changed when the railroad made the riverboat obsolete, and Galena, like so many riverport towns of its day, faded in importance and population.
Today, Galena is notable for its old architecture and new boutiques. It is a toutist town, where people come to get away from the cities and spend a few days in the countryside.
Historically speaking, Galena is important for three things. First, as I already mentioned, Galena was an early riverport town that played a crucial staging role in the settlement of the area. Second, Galena lay at the heart of an area in which the only true war fought on Illinois soil took place, the Black Hawk War, where the Sauk Indians weren't too keen on the settlement of the region.
lastly, and most prominently, Galena has a tie to Ulysses S. Grant. The former Civil War general and President was not born in Galena, but he did start his career as an army officer there, and he did launch his campaign for president from Galena. later, he retured there. Everywhere you look, you will see tributes to Ulysses S. Grant.
Galena has a cute side to it, like this teddy bear store. This is one of many cute little shops that sell everything from apple butter to salad tongs to wine and cheese.