Galena’s Railway Station

July 5, 2016

Galena, Illinois became the destination of a girl’s getaway weekend this past May.  Other than hearing how old, picturesque and quaint the town was, we knew little about it and we were delightfully impressed.    Galena is rich in history and architectural beauty with  85 % of the buildings in a National Register Historic District.   Organized in 1826, the town of Galena quickly became  a hub for lead mining and shipping along the Mississippi River from the Galena River.   In 1845 Galena shipped a record 54,494,850 pounds of lead.    By the 1850’s Galena was the busiest port between St. Paul and St. Louis with sometimes  fifteen steamboats  docked along Water Street at one time.

As for the  political side of Galena’s  history, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas both spoke from the balcony of the DeSoto House Hotel.   In  1860, Ulysses S. Grant came  from  St. Louis to work in his father’s leather goods store.   Grant  met  many politically influential  people and subsequently was  named  a General in the Civil War.   When Grant  triumphantly  returned  from the  War in 1865 , he was given a fine furnished  home on  as a token of the town’s gratitude.    Now an  historic site, it is  open to the public.

In 1848 at the start of the  California Gold Rush,  the lead mining industry  began to decline and  Galena  population began to decline also.   Today, Galena  is a tourist destination known for its history, architecture,  shopping and resorts.   The following photos are a mere sampling of what there is to do and see in Galena…


Grant’s home stands behind the statue of Julia Dent Grant.


A room full of Grant memorabilia  can be seen in the Galena Welcome Center.


Grants Park sits overlooking the Galena River – an  inviting spot to sit-a-spell.


Downtown is very  walkable and full of shops and restaurants.


To see more of Galena,, the trolley tour is relaxing , interesting and entertaining all in one.  Also a terrific way to see the  town but avoid walking  the very  hilly terrain.


Taken from the trolley window, this is a great example of hills and staircases.


This Guest House is another example – imagine carrying your suitcase up those stairs….


Along the banks of the Galena River, there are  beautiful , peaceful places to  enjoy the scenery and  nature .



Or a great walking path to explore.


Galena has one majestic  home after another – there was no end to the beautiful historic homes.


of all sizes


The Belvedere Home, built in 1857,  has 22 rooms and  is open to the public for tours.  Sadly, the day were there, it had not opened yet for the season.

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The condo we rented backed up  to some woods and had a convenient  patio railing where I could sprinkle the bird seed  I brought.   ( Yes, I do travel with bird seed – was there any doubt?)


And look what I attracted…….


an Eastern Bluebird…


and an Oriole !!!!!

(There are many orioles –  I think this is a Scott’s Oriole)

Thanks for reading and safe travels !!!













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