In the early 1800s the Upper Mississippi Lead Mine District was established, which paved the way for the industry that gave birth to Galena. In 1826, Galena (a technical term for sulfide of lead) was organized as a town. It soon grew because prospectors received grants to occupy and mine lead on lots in the area.
By the 1850s Galena was the busiest port between St. Paul and St. Louis. In 1845 Galena shipped a record 54,494,850 pounds of lead. Galena's political history includes Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas who both spoke from the balcony of the DeSoto House Hotel.
Ulysses S. Grant came to Galena in 1860. Grant (who later became a general and then the 18th president of the United States) soon left for the Civil War. The home he occupied on High Street still stands today.
After the Civil War, a group of citizens presented Grant and his family a fine, fully furnished home on Bouthillier Street as a token of gratitude. The Grant Home is now a state historic site open to the public.
Average July temperatures are about 75 degrees in northeastern Illinois to more than 79 degrees in the south. July daytime highs average 84 degrees at Chicago and 90 degrees at East Saint Louis. Summer nights are usually warm throughout the state, ranging from 66 degrees in the north to 69 degrees in the south. January averages range from less than 24 degrees in the northwest to more than 34 degrees in the south. Chicago January lows average 13 degrees with highs of 29 degrees.
Galena features numerous art galleries and studios. The Galena Arts Festival is held annually. The most magical night of the year is the Night of Luminaria in December. The Chamber of Commerce sponsors an annual Halloween Parade through downtown. Other points of interest include Galena's historic Turner Hall, the Sinsinawa Mound Theater in nearby Sinsinawa, WI.
Exceptional recreational opportunities include the Galena Triathlon and Duathlon, the Arts and Recreation Center, the Recreation Park and Alice T. Virtue Memorial Pool and Water Park. Camping, hiking and fishing are offered at Apple River Canyon State Park.
Galena is also a golfer's paradise. The Galena Golf Club features 18 holes. You'll find scenic trail rides and equestrian events at the Shenandoah Riding Center. It offers 40 miles of groomed trails that run through the most scenic part of Jo Daviess County. he edge of the Mississippi River.
The Alpine Slide at Galena's Chestnut Mountain Resort provides thrills galore. It features wheeled sleds speeding down a 2,500-foot bluff on a toboggan-like track to the edge of the Mississippi River. In winter, Chestnut Mountain Resort offers downhill skiing. Eagle Ridge Resort offers cross-country skiing, snowboarding and 4 golf courses.
Galena and Jo Daviess County, speaks to visitor and resident alike as it delights them with its many pleasures. Stop by and let us show you some of the many homes, businesses, farms and other properties we have to offer.