Explore one of the busiest 19th-century ports on the Mississippi Rivergalena-social-3

Galena served as one of the busiest ports on the Mississippi River from the early to mid-1800s. In the 1960s, preservationists lovingly restored this town to display its grand buildings and timeless beauty, making it a hub of activity for Galena Country.

What is Main Street Galena like?

A charming city on the Galena River, Galena delights visitors with its 19th century history and architecture, trolley rides, eclectic shops, great food, local wines and a wide range of lodging, including more than 30 B&Bs. You’ll find restaurants, clothes, accessories, home goods, art galleries, specialty stores as you park your car and explore Galena’s Main Street. It’s truly a place you can unwind and relax.

How close is Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa?

Just outside of Galena is the home of Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, Illinois’ largest golf resort. But what surrounds it is the real attraction, 6,800 acres of The Galena Territory for guests to explore, fish, hike, boat and horseback ride.

How was Galena once bigger than Chicago?

From the early to mid-1800s, Galena was a mining, smelting and steam boating center and one of the busiest ports on the Mississippi River. By the 1830s, its population had surpassed Chicago and many thought it would become the leading city in the Midwest. In fact, nine Union Army generals hailed from Galena during the Civil War — including Ulysses S. Grant who later became the country’s 18th president. Unfortunately, the arrival of the Illinois Central Railroad in 1854 began the city’s decline as railroads surpassed rivers as the main transportation method and it became a quiet, backwater town.

How did Galena become a historic city?

Luckily, Galena was rediscovered in the 1960s by preservationists who restored her grand old buildings and timeless beauty. The historic district encompasses 85 percent of the city of Galena and includes more than 800 properties. Notable homes such as the Ulysses S. Grant Home and the Elihu B. Washburne House are two top historic sites to see. Galena was one of the first cities in Illinois to pass a historic preservation ordinance.

Places in Galena