Galena Country® blog

Galena Country Blog®

Walking Tour of Downtown Galena

With over 87% of its buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Galena’s prominent past remains a permanent fixture. The architectural achievements of the men who discovered wealth in the region’s rich lead deposits and profitable river commerce are best viewed while walking on foot.

Credit: @jcbgrss

This self-guided walking tour of downtown Galena identifies the community’s diverse 19th century architectural styles and recounts the lives of the captivating individuals who first settled the steeply elevated terrain.

The tour length is one hour. For your enjoyment, we recommend a comfortable pair of walking shoes and bottled water. Bring a camera or a pair of binoculars to capture the tour’s breathtaking views. Please note that most of the locations on the tour are private and we ask that you remain respectful while enjoying the tour. Finally, walk at your own pace and have fun exploring Galena’s magnificent architectural treasures!

1. Galena River Levee & Floodgates:

Built by the Army Corps of Engineers 1948-51, this large earthen levee with flood gates protects the downtown business district from periodic flooding, the worst of which was in 1937. This flood left up to five feet of water along Main Street. Visitors often ask how often the floodgates are used. Normally they might be closed only once every few years, usually when the ice leaves the river in the spring.

2. Corwith Building – 319 S. Main St.

Constructed in 1853 with a major facelift in 1873 and home of Nathan Corwith’s Bank of Galena. The Corwiths were prominent businessmen from New York. Nathan Corwith left Galena in 1874 and moved to Chicago. He died in 1888, worth over $6 million.

3. Davis Block – 304-310 S. Main St.

These were the first, all brick blocks in Galena, consisting of five stores, constructed in 1846. Locally produced Galena brick is noted for its orange color and inner softness. For this reason, city ordinance requires they be cleaned chemically to prevent damage to the hard outer surface. Within this block, one of Galena’s nine Civil War Generals, John C. Smith, had his jewelry store at 306 S. Main, and the town’s most infamous lawyer, M.Y. Johnson had his law office on the second floor of 304 S. Main. He was arrested in 1862 for southern sympathies but later released for lack of evidence.

Galena fires:

Every early city suffered from a devastating fire. Galena was no exception. Major fires in the 1840s led to ordinances which encouraged downtown commercial structures to be built of brick or stone. Still, the worst fire of all occurred in 1856, taking out several critical blocks. A building boom ensued, all in brick.

4. Old High School Steps

Located across from the DeSoto House Hotel, the stairway has been there since the 1850s. Wooden steps were replaced by concrete in 1919 and again in 1996. In addition to hilltop residents, the steps served hundreds of school children who used them morning, noon, and afternoon. They were walking to the large building on the hill with a square clock tower. This is the Old High School which was built in 1905 and converted in the 1980s to condominiums.

5. Desoto House Hotel – 230 S. Main St.

It opened in 1855. DeSoto is the oldest operating hotel in Illinois. It was named for the discoverer of the Mississippi – Hernando DeSoto. Investors included Jesse Grant, father of Ulysses. Both Lincoln and Douglas spoke from the balcony, although on separate occasions. Grant’s presidential campaign headquarters were here in 1868. The original structure had five floors and 225 rooms, but lack of business, foundation settling, and fire insurance problems led to the top two floors being removed in 1880. Completely renovated in 1985-86.

6. DeSoto House Hotel Parking Garage:

The original facades of Main Street buildings were kept for historic appearance. The hotel project could not have proceeded without this solution to off-street parking. The garage site was originally a livery stable for the famous Frink and Walker Stage Line out of Chicago during the 1840s and early 1850s.

Side Trip: U.S. Post Office (Green & Commerce Streets):

This is the second oldest continuously owned and operated Post Office in America. The second floor served as the Customhouse, and the first floor served as Post Office. The Renaissance Revival style utilized by architect Ammi B. Young was the first standardized style to be used by the government throughout the nation. Superintendent of Construction was engineer Ely Parker; a Seneca Indian raised on a reservation in New York. When the foundation was laid, he had it stacked with bars (pigs) of lead equal to the weight of the completed structure to settle the foundation. Later the lead was sold and shipped downriver. The structure was then completed with Nauvoo limestone from the same quarries that supplied stone for the Mormon Temple. Today the building is as solid as when it was built.


Note: Ely S. Parker was one of the most famous Native Americans in U.S. history. He studied to become a lawyer only to be told by New York State that Indians could not become lawyers. He then became an engineer, was hired by the federal government and sent to Galena to build the customhouse/post office. While here, he met Grant. Volunteering for the Union with the outbreak of the Civil War, he was turned down because of his race, only to be accepted a year later. Grant made him his personal military secretary; he was breveted a brigadier general at the end of the war and later became President Grant’s Commissioner of Indian Affairs, only to resign when he created a storm of controversy by sending emergency food rations to starving Plains Indians prior to congressional authorization.

7. Schmohl Building (St. Louis Building) – 201 S. Main St.

John and Lena Schmohl emigrated from Germany in the 1850s and opened a millinery store at this site. In 1886, Lena, having lost her husband, built this building and installed Galena’s first hydraulic elevator. Her apartment was in back along Bench Street. She was a respected business leader long before most women had the opportunity. The second Schmohl Building 213-217 (the white building) was built in 1884.

8. Coatsworth Building – 126 S. Main St.

Built by Joseph Coatsworth and Daniel Barrows in 1856-57. Utilized premium Milwaukee Cream City bricks, cast iron pillars, lintels, and sills. J.R. Grant promptly leased the 120 S. Main section for his leather goods store. It was here that Ulysses came to work in 1860. Major restoration occurred in the late 1970s – the building now houses apartments for seniors.

9. Newhall Drug Store – 101-103 S. Main St.

Built-in 1843 by Galena’s foremost physician/pharmacist Horatio Newhall, a Yale graduate, who also published the “Miners Journal,” Galena’s first newspaper in 1828. But his most notable work was in treating Cholera victims during the dreaded 1832 and 1848 outbreaks. His observations on the disease and its spread are considered some of the best of the period. Note the small attic windows in the frieze, typical of the 1840s Greek Revival structures.

10. Hempstead Store – 100 N. Main St.

Built-in the Greek Revival style in 1846. Charles Hempstead was the first mayor of Galena, elected in 1841. Prior to this, the town was governed by a board of trustees and president. “City” status was given by the act of the legislature; Jo Daviess County’s other “city” is East Dubuque; all other towns in the county are villages. The second floor also housed the law office of John A. Rawlins, another of Galena’s nine Civil War generals who became Grant’s Chief of Staff.

11. Brush Building – 120 N. Main St.

Circa 1837, this was the first large store to be constructed in the downtown of brick. Note federal style stepped gables (double-chimney) and prominent roof dormers.

12. Perry Street

Also known as the “cobblestone” street, although the stone was laid down as a deterrent to erosion, not as a paving stone. Maintaining control of horses and wagons on steep hills was a constant danger in early Galena (some say it still is…)

13. The Old Stockade – 208 Perry St.

Trader Amos Farrar’s house became part of Galena’s stockade during the 1832 Black Hawk War. A refuge for women and children, the upright timbers placed along the sill shows French “post and sill” influence. Restored to the 1890s appearance.

Note: To locate the Old Stockade, take the first staircase at the corner of Perry and Main Streets. Proceed up the stairs halfway to the Old Stockade’s entrance, a limestone walkway on the left.

Side Trip: Old Market House – 123 N. Commerce St.

This State Historic Site, built in the Greek Revival style in 1845, once sheltered both vendors and shoppers. It continues to entice visitors with its historic U.S Grant exhibits and events. It also serves as the official Welcome Center for Galena Country Tourism.

14. Meusel Cigar Factory – 208-210 N. Main St.

This 1888 Italianate commercial building housed one of Galena’s many 19th-century cigar manufactories. It was home to the Standard Cigar Factory. Tobacco was also a cash crop for some county farmers, particularly in the Stockton area, up until the 1890s.

15. John Dowling Building – 213 N. Main St.

Constructed in 1837 of native limestone. The southern half was purchased by the County and used as the courthouse from 1838 until the present courthouse was completed in 1844. The original building had a gable roof. Interestingly, the street level here was originally much lower; the main entrance in 1838 entered what is now the basement!

16. Flat Iron or Diagonal Building – 222 N. Main St.

The original building housed Bradley/Taylor House hotels and was three stories. Destroyed by fire in 1876. New Italianate structure was only two floors and has housed everything from the People’s Bank (original safe still there) to a Justice of the Peace.

17. John Dowling House – 216 Diagonal St.

The Dowling House is located just left of Main Street on Diagonal Street. This vernacular structure is one of Galena’s oldest, constructed circa 1826-27. Dowling was a trader who quickly became the largest iron dealer on the Upper Mississippi. Here you could buy stoves, hinges, nails, picks, and shovels.

Note: Turn right on Franklin Street and proceed one block to Commerce Street to view the Old Blacksmith Shop.

18. Old Blacksmith Shop – (Corner of Commerce and Franklin St.)

At one time, Galena had more than two dozen operating blacksmith shops. Today the little red wood-frame structure is the only one that remains. Built-in 1897, most of the original tools including two forges and equipment are on display.

Throughout our history, Galena Country has proudly never been like anywhere else. We may be old but we’re never the same old thing!

Mother’s Day in Galena Country

Whichever way you look at it… Mom is a superhero! She sacrificed her waistline, she spent countless hours cheering you on at sports practice, she even dried your tears after crash-landings that she warned you about time and time again! Not to mention mom’s taxi service. We all know what we must do… show her that we appreciate her this Mother’s Day, but how when time in quarantine, means that love must keep its distance? We have some suggestions for you…

Send Locally Grown Blooms

Choose from mixed bouquets, mason jar arrangements and potted plants at ‘Petals on the Porch’ self-serve flower stand at Clara Joyce Flowers. If you can’t make it out to this specialty cut flower farm in Stockton, hop onto their website, choose from five different floral designs and have it shipped directly to mom’s doorstep! Murphy’s Gardens offers flowering shrubs, hanging baskets culinary herbs and a selection of trees for mom’s garden too!

Build a Pamper Hamper

A hamper of beauty products would allow any self-isolating mom to indulge in well-deserved self-care. Throw in some muscle soak bath salts and delicately scented candles from Galena Candle and Bath Company’s online store. What about clarity calming face oil and organic lip balm from Galena Apothecary? If mom loves the spa and nothing else will fill its shoes… purchase a gift voucher from Galena Country’s highly-skilled, full-service spas for a future visit!

Deliver a Delicious Meal

You may not be able to take your mom to your traditional Mother’s Day brunch, but you can take brunch to mom! Order carryout brunch from Desoto House Hotel Courtyard Restaurant or from Victory Cafe for her to enjoy in the comfort of her own home and don’t forget to order your own! When you get home, jump onto a video chat and enjoy the brunch together while you catch up! Check out Galena’s Dining from a Distance page for lunch and dinner options too!

Pack a Picnic for Mom & Dad

Grab a bottle of wine from one of the local wineries, pick up some gourmet cheeses, sausages and pates from Galena River Wine & Cheese and deliver them to Mom and Dad. Suggest that they enjoy a sunset picnic atop Horseshoe Mound Preserve overlooking stunning views of Galena Country or even in their own yard.

From Galena Country with Love

If the plan was to visit Galena Country with mom this Mother’s Day, spend a little time browsing the online stores and send Galena Country to her instead. From locally roasted coffee, award-winning wines, or popcorn to a new outfit, handbag or accessories… she is sure to love any of it! Not sure of what she would like? A gift certificate from her favorite store or restaurant will keep her looking forward to her next visit when the time is right!

While it may not be the Mother’s Day you’d imagined, these gifts are bound to bring a smile to the face of the special women in your life. That alone makes it completely worth it!

Cooped Up Couples in Galena Country

While in quarantine, date night may not look like sharing a bottle of wine at a romantic restaurant, singing together at a concert or snuggling up in a movie theater, but with a little creativity, you can still have fun together at home while supporting local businesses in #GalenaCountry!

Set the Mood

No matter what you’ll be doing… no date would be complete without that romantic ambiance we all love. Set the mood for your special night by ordering a few floral candles from Galena Candle & Bath Co.

Kiss the Cook

Find a fun recipe that neither of you has tried before and visit the following local online shopping stores for the ingredients or even utensils that you may need: Grateful Gourmet, Galena Canning Company, Galena Garlic Company, Pasta Perfetta, Galena and Spice & Tea Merchants. Divvy up the kitchen duties and enjoy some undivided couple time. Feel like a grill instead? Grab a Date Night Grill Box from Log Cabin Steakhouse.  If not a lot of cooking gets done (no judgment here)… there is always a curbside pickup or delivery service!

Wine Tasting for Two

Fergedaboudit, Galena Cellars, Massbach Ridge and Rocky Waters wineries are waiting for your curbside pickup orders! Spend the evening tasting award-winning local wines while deciding which of the two is the better sommelier. Pair these delicious vino’s with gourmet cheese and sausage from Galena River Wine & Cheese. By the end of the night, you will have your list of favorites for future date nights.

Sip & Paint

Speaking of sipping… why not get a little crafty at the same time? All you need is some poster board or canvas, paint, markers, perhaps some glitter and your creativity! If wine is not your thing, grab a growler of your favorite brew from the Pecatonica Beer Co. Tap House or Galena Brewing Company, pick up a Cocktail Kit from Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. or a Quarantine Extravaganza Party Pack from Grape Escape Cocktail Bar. Be sure to frame your masterpiece for future reminiscing!

Refresh Your Love Nest

Spring is the perfect time to change things up a bit! Rearrange the furniture, paint over that decades-old color in your bathroom and throw out that chipped vase. Out with the old, in with the new… choose a new rug or lamp from Vignettes Home, a gorgeous sunset picture from River Bend Gallery or a beautiful functional piece from Eshelman Pottery.

Play in the Dirt

Okay, this is more for a date ‘day’… but it can lead to a date night! Spring weather means you can spend time together tidying up the hedges, mulching or even planting additional plants from Murphy’s Garden’s curbside pickup! Spruce up the garden for the bird friends with a new feeder from The Feathered Nest. Reward yourselves with a sunset beverage on the porch!

Snuggle Up

Did you know that some of the scenes filmed for the award-winning movies, The Field of Dreams was filmed in Galena? Grab some popcorn from Great American Popcorn Company, snuggle up with your sweetheart and see who can spot Galena first!

Local Love in Galena Country

It’s true. We can’t change this unprecedented time, but if we spend it right, it can change us. In Galena Country, we know the importance of taking time for the things that matter most. It’s what unites us all. As locals, we know that what has inspired people to visit Galena Country for generations has always been our own little paradise. While most attractions, non-essential stores, and bars are temporarily closed to the public, there are other inspiring alternatives available. Possibilities that allow us to come together as a community and support each other as well as enjoy our surroundings while keeping our distance. 

Fresh Air & Healing Nature

Even with social distancing measures in place, you can still be responsibly active outdoors. Spend time enjoying conservation areas, hiking trails, and parks that aren’t busy. While playground equipment is temporarily closed, your kids will appreciate the change in scenery and a fun walk or bike ride each day is a great outlet for them. Take-in stunning views of Galena Country from Horseshoe Mound Preserve, while you walk the trails. Grab your pup and head down the Galena River Trail to the Buehler Preserve where you can stretch your legs and play fetch. Pack your binoculars for a morning birding expedition to the Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary. Enjoy a trek in the prairie at the Wapello Reserve or learn about native trees on an exciting self-guided tour at Schurmeier Teaching Forest. Take in majestic views of the Mighty Mississippi River at Casper Bluff or at Gramercy Park … just stop and stare for a while. Our area has just what you need to recharge your soul! Otherwise, join the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation on Facebook for their nature-related, educational Facebook Live events from the comfort of your home.

Scenic Drives

Galena Country boasts breathtaking scenery year-round. This is a perfect time to play “I spy” as you drive through the countryside interspersed with neat farmsteads and hilly terrain dotted with cows. Long Hollow Scenic Overlook offers breathtaking views of the rolling countryside… a sight for sore eyes! Don’t miss this opportunity for a great selfie or family photo! For a longer drive on a road steeped in history, cruise onto the Historic Stagecoach Trail from Meeker Street in Galena. This gently curving and hilly two-lane road was established in the mid-1830s serving as the original stagecoach route between Galena and Chicago. Grab a deli-sandwich from Pat’s Country House Grocery in Scales Mound, and a healthy shake from Thriving Thistle Market in Apple River, along the way!

History Lessons

Now is a great time to immerse yourself in the history of this amazing community we call home! Galena Country is loaded with stories of yesteryear, making it a cultural cornerstone where past meets present. Visit the Galena & U.S. Grant Museum website, where you will find interesting facts about the nine generals who called Galena home, learn about the railroad connections and more! Discover the strong ties that Ulysses S. Grant history has to Galena with this fun interactive timeline. Stretch your legs and take a stroll through historic Grant Park where you’ll find the “Blakely of Grant Park,” which is the cannon that fired some of the first shots in the Battle of Fort Sumter and the “Napoleon,” commonly used in the Civil War. Perfect for a stroll and a book, Grant Park offers some of the best views in Galena Country! There’s, even more to this historically amazing destination! From the origins of Kraft Cheese to one of the earliest African-American churches in Illinois. Be sure to check out these historic sites once they are open again!

Online Shopping & Services

We may not be able to browse the stores like we used to, but we can show some love to the small business retailers in our neighborhood by shopping their online stores listed below. Many stores are now also offering curbside collection. Contact them for a personal shopping experience via video chat or phone call.

Gift Certificates

Are you looking for a unique gift for someone special in your life? Knock their socks off with a gift certificate for a journey in the sky with Galena on the Fly or a flight through the trees with Long Hollow Canopy Tours. How about a night or two at a cozy B&B or at a luxury resort? A romantic dinner for two at a fine dining restaurant will always be appreciated and a winery, brewery, or distillery tour is a really fun experience to gift someone. Purchasing a gift card from your favorite shop, artist or restaurant is an immediate way to put cash into the business.

Restaurant Curbside Pick up & Delivery

Keep calm and carryout! Many restaurants in the area are offering convenient curbside pick-up or delivery service to your home. This is a great way to experience the different flavors of Galena Country at the same time as supporting local restauranteurs at this difficult time. 

For a full list of offerings, visit Galena’s Dining at a Distance page.


But wait, that’s not all, you can pick up your favorite beverage too! Excited much? These fine establishments are waiting for your call:


Grocery Supplies

When you go out to grab your supplies, keep the small local businesses in mind, they may just have what you’re looking for whereas bigger chain stores run out of stock sooner.

Galena Brewing Co.: Open 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Tue.-Fri. & Sat. Noon-7 p.m.
Hermanos Latinos II Mexican Store: 245 N. Main St., Galena. Open Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.- 8 p.m. & Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
La Unica Mexicana Grocery Store: 218 N. Commerce St., Galena. Open 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. daily
Pat’s Country House Grocery
Sullivans Foods: Open 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. daily
Tammy’s Piggly Wiggly: Open 8 a.m.-7 p.m. daily
Walmart, Galena: Open 7 a.m.-8:30 p.m. daily

Spread the Local Love

Galena Country is known for its strong sense of community and pride in our area. Many of us may not be in the financial position to support local small businesses monetarily, but we can spread their awareness within our community.

  • This can be done by word of mouth
  • sharing on social media platforms
  • leaving positive reviews on Google, Yelp and social media

Stay Connected

Sand Prairie, has opened its Wi-Fi hotspots for free and added new locations to help make sure everyone stays connected! These “parking lot” hotspots are available to anyone who needs them, whether downloading and uploading schoolwork and assignments, connecting with coworkers while working from home or staying in touch with family and friends. You’ll find our hotspots in these locations:

Elizabeth

  • Village of Elizabeth Public Parking Lot – next to the Apple River Fort Welcome Center
  • Elizabeth Community Building/Terrapin Park

Galena

  • Grant Park
  • Downtown Galena

East Dubuque

  • Downtown East Dubuque
We will get through this together!

Please follow the important Galena Country information and updates on the COVID-19 situation, follow recommendations, restrictions and stay safe!

Experience Galena Country From Home

So, you’re following the recommendation of social distancing and you’re at home wishing you were on vacation in Galena Country. We get it! Never fear, there are ways for you to enjoy this destination right from the comfort of your home or if you’re close by, you can still enjoy it while keeping your distance.

Online Shopping

Have Galena Country delivered doorstep! Here is a list of businesses offering exciting online shopping for your convenience! Start filling those carts…


Gift Certificates

Are you looking for a unique gift for someone special in your life? Just a few ideas include… Knock their socks off with a gift certificate for a journey in the sky with Galena on the Fly or a flight through the trees with Long Hollow Canopy Tours. How about a night or two at a cozy B&B or at a luxury resort? A romantic dinner for two at a fine dining restaurant will always be appreciated and a winery, brewery, or distillery tour is a really fun experience to gift someone. Contact your favorite business in Galena Country to find out how you can purchase a gift certificate from them.

Curbside Pick up & Delivery

Are you driving through Galena Country? Take advantage of the convenient curbside pick-up or delivery service that many restaurants are offering during this time. For a full list of offerings, visit Galena’s Dining at a Distance page. But wait, that’s not all, you can pick up your favorite beverage too! Excited much? These fine establishments are waiting for your call:


Online Vacation Planning

A vacation may seem a little far-fetched right now but once you break free from the restrictions, you will be bursting for a well-deserved escape to Galena Country. While you have the time, let the planning begin. We’ve got you covered with heaps of digital information to inspire you! Check out the following links and get that itinerary going:

Fresh Air & Healing Nature

If you are close-by and need to escape the four walls, Galena Country has just what you need to recharge your soul! Take the kids to Horseshoe Mound Preserve for stunning views and experience the children’s adventure found there. Grab your pup and head down the Galena River Trail to the Buehler Preserve where you can both stretch your legs. Pack your binoculars for a morning birding expedition to the Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary. Enjoy a picnic in the prairie at the Wapello Reserve or learn about native trees on an exciting self-guided tour at Schurmeier Teaching Forest. Take in majestic views of the Mighty Mississippi River at Casper Bluff or at Gramercy Park … just stop and stare for a while. Otherwise, join the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation on Facebook for their nature-related, educational Facebook Live events from the comfort of your home.

Horseshoe Mound Preserve

Please follow the important Galena Country information and updates on the COVID-19 situation, follow recommendations, restrictions and stay safe!

7 Hidden History Lessons of Galena Country

Galena Country is known for it’s well-preserved, 19th-century architecture and Ulysses S. Grant history, but there’s even more to discover in this historically amazing destination! From the origins of Kraft Cheese to one of the earliest African-American churches in Illinois, Galena Country is loaded with stories of yesteryear, making it a cultural cornerstone where past meets present. 

The Blackhawk War of 1832
In 1832, a faulty treaty caused a 15-week war between American settlers and Native Americans led by the Sauk warrior Black Hawk. Today, remains of the conflict are ingrained in the rich history of Galena Country. Explore the Apple River Fort State Historic Site, to learn more about the intense battle that took place there, interact with re-enactors, and discover how the town of Elizabeth was given it’s name. Stop at E-town Coffee Co. or Three Sisters Sweet Shoppe to fuel up for the next venture!

Cannons in Grant Park
Stroll the park and study the extraordinary cannons and monuments that overlook the Galena River in Grant Park. Take a look at the “Blakely of Grant Park,” which fired some of the first shots in the Battle of Fort Sumter and the “Napoleon,” commonly used in the Civil War. Perfect for a picnic and a book, Grant Park offers some of the best views in Galena Country! Interested in seeing cannon in action? Visit during Grant’s Homefront Civil War Re-enactment or Galena’s 4th of the July celebrations, you’ll know it when you hear it!

Galena’s Nine Generals
Did you know? Galena is the only location in the United States that was home to not one, but nine Civil War generals? That’s right, including Grant himself! All nine generals left an important impact on the town that can still be discovered in buildings, street names, and local history. Consider booking a stay at the Augustus Chetlain Home and Log Cabin Guest Houses, and visit the First United Methodist Church built by General John Corson Smith. You can even sit in the pew that the Grant Family sat in. When exploring downtown, take note of the unique architecture currently occupied by the United States Post Office. Once a Customs House, this unique building was designed and built by Native American General, Ely S. Parker. A great photo-op, this piece of history is the second-oldest continuously operating postal facility in the United States!

Lead Mining and the Driftless Area
The unique geography and lead mining history of Galena Country has had an impact on almost everything in the area from the distinct red “Galena brick” buildings to the size of the Galena River. At one time, this bustling lead mining city was larger than Chicago. Check out a real lead mine, learn about how glaciers shaped the region during the Ice Age, and discover how Galena Country came to be at the Galena and U.S. Grant Museum!

Travel Tip: Explore Galena via Trolley Tour! Sit back, relax, and listen as a tour guide shares historical facts and information about Galena and its incredible architecture.

The Origins of Kraft Cheese
A brand and flavor many of us have savored, Kraft cheese originated right here in Galena Country, in Stockton! Take a step back in time and learn about Kraft and much more at the Stockton Heritage Museum. After snapping a selfie with one of the original wagons used to transport the cheese, stroll the streets and discover even more places to strike-a-pose in Stockton!

Red Stripe Beer
It’s Jamaican, right? Guess again! Red Stripe Beer was crafted in the original Galena Brewing Company in the 1830’s. When the brewery closed in 1938, the recipe was sold to two British investors who moved the company to Jamaica and made the drink world-famous during World War II. Today, the Galena Brewing Company is located on Galena’s Historic Main Street and features craft micro-brews, seasonal flavors, and six styles on tap. Tours, tastings, and a giant pretzel are a must-do!

The Secret of the Sunken Garden
This hidden gem, nestled among the cascading greenery of Linmar Gardens, features the remains of an African-American Baptist Church. Today the walls of the basement and a “Baptismal Font” fountain serve as a reminder of the building’s history as one of the oldest African-American churches in Illinois. Surrounded by colorful flowers and foliage, the garden is a beautiful place to spend a relaxing afternoon reconnecting with nature. 

Immerse yourself in history and book a stay at one of Galena Country’s many award-winning accommodations. Let the planning begin with a browse through the official visitor’s guide!

Bring your Bachelorette Party to Galena Country

Galena Country is already recognized as a destination wedding hot-spot, given the beautiful rolling hills, picturesque churches, rich history and Galena’s Main Street frozen in the 1800s! Maids of honor are drawn to the area for these reasons and more… reasons that make Galena Country one of the best destinations for bachelorette party adventures.

Credit: @emmymeyers1

When I sip, you sip, we sip
With more than 13 pubs and bars on Galena’s Main Street alone, there are plenty of places to celebrate the bride-to-be with a toast. Each pub offers a unique atmosphere! From quiz-bowl trivia, martinis and live music at Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape, to brewery tours and live music at the Galena Brewing Company and karaoke at Gobbie’s Sports Pub & Eatery, the Galena pub scene is one big party. Don’t worry about driving. All pubs are located within walking distance to one another and, when the night is over, call one of Galena’s cab services to transport the party back to your lodging. How about celebrating at a unique and historic 1850’s general store/railway station that has been transformed into a watering hole and music venue? This awesome find is called Council Hill Station in Scales Mound. Cajun Jack’s Bar & Grill in Elizabeth is another unique venue for live music, outdoor seating and fun themed decor for those selfies!


Let’s do brunch
Galena Country’s dining scene is superb and bachelorettes looking for the ultimate brunch experience will find it here, mimosas and all. The Courtyard Restaurant, Goldmoor Inn, Fritz and Frites, Victory Cafe, Paradise Bar & Grill, and Otto’s Place all offer a delicious brunch menu. Don’t forget to order a glass of Rosé and toast the bride-to-be. If the group is coming off a late-night and brunch isn’t in the cards, there are plenty of dining options to explore for a late lunch or dinner.

So many shopportunities
Who doesn’t love a good boutique? Galena’s Main Street houses more than 125 independent businesses, making it a shopper’s paradise. Check out the scents and pleasures of Noty Kity. Savor the flavors of Galena with a taste through the Galena Canning Company, The Grateful Gourmet or Galena River Wine & Cheese. Design a custom necklace at Rustic River or create your own personalized wooden sign at Creative Expressions Galena. Take a short drive to Elizabeth’s Grand Antique Co. where more than 200 vendors offer antiques, vintage goods, home decor and more. While in Elizabeth, check out Jane Marie Boutique for a cute outfit, or Eshelman Pottery for a one-of-a-kind piece of functional pottery.

Get artsy
Be inspired by the beauty of Galena County and create some artwork of your own! Learn how to spin pottery at Artists’ Annex, paint beautiful landscapes with artist Sandra Principe or take a tour of the Pinder Pottery Studio. Follow the happening Galena Country events calendar to join creative workshops taught by talented local artists at Artists and Artisans in Elizabeth. Most art shops, studios, and galleries are open year-round, take a piece of Galena Country home with you!

Unique Galena Country
Explore the city of Galena’s rich history with a trolley tour through the historic district. Embrace Mother Nature with the breathtaking views on top of Horseshoe Mound. Walk the same halls that Ulysses S. Grant roamed with a tour through the Grant Home. Be fearless on a zip line journey through the scenic Tapley Woods with Long Hollow Canopy Tours. Take your party to new heights and float above the rolling landscapes of Galena Country in a hot air with Galena on the Fly! What about a magic show? Visit the P.T Murphy Magic Theatre to witness P.T.’s s personable style, mischievous sense of humor, and sophisticated sleight of hand.

Explore Wine, Beer, and Spirits
Fall in love at first sip at one of four wineries, namely Galena Cellars Winery, Massbach Ridge Winery, Fergedaboudit Vineyard & Winery, and Rocky Waters Vineyard. Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the brewing process at the Galena Brewing Co. with a beer in hand or learn all about the distilling process at Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. ending off with a tasting. You could also hop on a Wine Tasting or Hop tour with Countryside Tours let them do the driving for you! The possibilities are endless and with so much to see and do, bachelorette partygoers never run out of options.

This is not goodbye…
Once the party ends, start a new tradition by planning your return girl’s trip to Galena Country! Browse the digital travel guide for more ideas on what to see and do and don’t forget to book your accommodation early!

Easter Brunch In Galena Country

Put all your eggs in one basket on Easter Sunday and hop on over to Galena Country! We’ve got your Easter Brunch celebration covered at these delightful brunch spots. Book now, reservations fill up quickly!

Woodlands Restaurant at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Tucked among the Galena Territory’s 6,800 rolling acres of pristine woodlands and open countryside. This extraordinary holiday buffet includes culinary creations and family favorites alike.
Adults $35, children (4-12 years of age) $18 and children under 4 are free.

Chestnut Mountain Resort 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Nestled neatly among the hills overlooking the majestic Mississippi River. Enjoy a traditional Easter Buffet including carved ham, an omelet station, assorted pastries and so much more.
Adults $19.95, children (6-12 years of age) $10.95 and children under 6 are free.

Paradise Cafe & Grill 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
A local’s favorite for more than thirty-four years, offering a laid back atmosphere and a focus on fun. Located on Main Street in Galena. Tuck into a scrumptious Easter Breakfast Buffet.
Adults $10.45, children (10 years of age and younger) $6.

Desoto House Hotel Seatings from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Steeped in history and located in the heart of Galena, this hotel is the oldest operating hotel in Illinois. Enjoy a traditional Easter Buffet featuring a champagne fountain, elegantly carved ice sculptures and the piano playing of Aaron Alexander. The kids can also enjoy a visit with the Easter Bunny!

Adults $29.95, children (10 years old and younger) $14.95.

Timmerman’s Supper Club 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
A charming relaxed supper club atmosphere that overlooks the majestic Mississippi River in East Dubuque. Sit back and enjoy the incredible view and indulge in a Sunday Brunch offering a variety of brunch specialties including an omelet bar.
Adults $21, children (3-10 years of age) $9 and children under 2 are free.

Woodbine Bend Golf Course and Restaurant 10 a.m.-2 p.m
Located in a peaceful country setting between the towns of Elizabeth and Stockton. Celebrate Easter with a hearty Brunch Buffet including ham, salmon, quiche, crepes, and fresh fruit.
Cost TBD

Wait there’s more… 

After brunch, take time to explore Galena Country! Tour the home of Ulysses S. Grant in Galena or visit the Apple River Fort State Historic Site in Elizabeth. Stroll down Galena’s Historic Main Street, featuring more than 125 independently owned unique shopping experiences. For more attractions and things to do, click here or browse the official visitors guide for ideas. Before heading back to your lodging for the night, enjoy a delicious meal at one of the many dining options available.

Luxurious ways to enjoy Galena Country

Luxury Stays

Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa: set on 6,800 acres of pristine woodlands and gorgeous open countryside.
Elle & Becks: 2,500+ sq. ft, four-bedroom loft suite overlooking beautiful downtown Galena.
Goldmoor Inn & Dining: set high above the banks of the Mississippi River, offering stunning views and gourmet dining experiences.
Inn at Irish Hollow: elegant amenities and spectacular meals on a 500-acre working farm.
Jail Hill Inn: offering the ultimate in relaxation, luxury accommodations, and location and voted #1 B&B/Inn in the USA and #2 in the World by TripAdvisor in 2019.

Suite Victory #1: beautifully renovated apartment in downtown Galena with private parking and includes breakfast at Victory Café. 
The Owl House: featuring luxury high-end furniture and renovated with a meticulous approach to detail.
Vignettes Modern Luxury: overlooking Galena’s Main St., this apartment is professionally decorated by Vignettes of Galena.

Tip: Few things say luxury like a relaxing spa treatment. Book a rejuvenating in-room massage during your stay.

Superb Drinks and Dining

Fried Green Tomatoes: delicious USDA Choice steaks, fresh seafood, and award-winning wine list.
Fritz & Frites Bistro: a charming bistro offering mouthwatering German and French cuisine.
Generals’ Restaurant: unique fine dining experience at the historic DeSoto House Hotel.
Jamie’s Wine Studio of Galena: intimate wine, martini bar, and fine wine shop.
Little Tokyo: home to the freshest Japanese style steak, sushi, and tempura.

Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape: delicious specialty drinks, cocktails, and a Bloody Mary buffet.
Log Cabin Steakhouse: Galena’s oldest and longest-running restaurant since 1935, featuring tasty Greek specialty items.
Timmerman’s Supper Club: fine dining with a breathtaking panoramic view of the Mighty Mississippi River.
Woodlands Restaurant & Lounge: award-winning intimate dining overlooking the stunning Lake Galena.

Unique Experiences

Galena on the Fly: take in the beauty of Galena Country from above on a Hot Air Balloon ride. End off with a champagne toast and chocolates!
Long Hollow Canopy Tours: reach speeds of up to 40 mph and heights of 75 feet! Rappel off of a platform and venture across our 140-foot sky bridge to reach our final 1,250-foot zip line.
Blaum Bros. Distilling Co.: take a tour of the distilling process, raise a glass and you may be lucky enough to catch a Galena Reserve release… an extremely limited and one-off expression!

Indulgent Shopping

Chocolat’ 229: an exceptional collection of European chocolates.
Cotton Club: fashion boutique complete with clothing, jewelry, shoes, and designer purses.
Elle & Becks: latest in fashion and accessories as well as numerous charming homewares.
Galena River Wine & Cheese: gourmet wines, beers, cheeses, sausages, and specialty foods.
Gustafson & Grey, Ltd: fine jewelry, antiques, and consignments.
Nine Generals Cigar Company: cigars, men’s grooming accouterments, and barware.

Simply Elegant Boutique: distinctive women’s clothing, handbags, jewelry, and footwear.
Skidmore Art Gallery: original artwork by professional artist Mark Skidmore.
Union Leather: a fully dedicated leather store carrying a full line of leather products.
Vignettes of Galena: full-service interior design; offering drapery, blinds, home furnishings, carpeting, lighting and more.

Enjoyable Entertainment

Amelia’s Under the Lamplight Dinner Theatre: enjoy fine dining and exceptional entertainment in this unique Supper Club atmosphere.
Haunted Galena Tour Co.: be led through the streets of historic Galena by candlelight and enjoy haunted tales of Galena.
P.T. Murphy Magic Theatre: a fun night of magic entertainment in a private 24-seat theater located in the heart of historic downtown Galena.

Be sure to book accommodation early and browse the official visitors guide for ideas on other ‘must-do’ experiences.

Desserts to savor in Galena Country

From gourmet icebox cake to homemade vanilla bean creme brûlée, be sure to save room for these mouthwatering desserts while tasting your way through Galena Country. 

Durty Gurt’s – Milkshakes and Malts

Unique flavors, fun names, and premium quality ingredients make handmade milkshakes and malts from Durty Gurt’s an excellent choice for a cool treat. Indulge in an “Elvis” peanut butter and banana shake or the “Chandler Bing” featuring chocolate, cherry, and vanilla. You can also choose from 13 specialty boozy shakes, or create your very own flavor combination to tantalize your taste buds. 

Foodie Tip: Pair a milkshake or malt with a “Shut the Front Door” burger for the ultimate in American comfort food experience. Served on a glazed donut and topped with bacon and melted cheese, this burger is the perfect compliment to a frosty treat. 

Embe Eatery & Lounge – Bread Pudding

Sweet, rich, warm, and topped with a fluffy cloud of whipped cream, bread pudding from Embe Eatery & Lounge is like heaven in your mouth. House-made rum sauce and soft pillows of french bread melt in your mouth while almonds and raisins add texture and extra sweetness. This decadent dessert is the perfect finale for an incredible meal. Try the gluten-free and made-from-scratch cream of mushroom soup with the pulled pork sandwich, and stay for a drink and live music! 


Fried Green Tomatoes – Vanilla Bean Creme Brûlée

Savor each bite of dinner at Fried Green Tomatoes, but save room for the divine flavor explosion some call creme brûlée. The signature robust vanilla flavor of the custard derives from premium Madagascar vanilla beans. After the custard is carefully made from scratch, it receives a caramelized sugar shell that melts in your mouth and provides a satisfying break as your spoon dives into the creamy deliciousness. Velvety, decadent, and rich, this dessert is best enjoyed after a gourmet meal and a glass of wine. Bon appétit!

Log Cabin Steakhouse – Grasshopper

Who doesn’t love an ice cream dessert topped with fire? That’s right – fire. Not to be confused with the signature Greek starter, Flaming Saganaki (OPAAAA!), the minty hand-blended ice cream after dinner ‘drink’ is the perfect finish to a satisfying Log Cabin Steakhouse meal. Be sure to have your camera ready to capture the moment, then dig in!

Foodie Tip: Have your meal prepared Greek-style, and don’t forget to take home a bottle of Rigopoulos Grove Olive Oil!


Otto’s Place – Icebox Cake

Sweet, light, and wonderfully balanced icebox cake makes for a mouthwatering dessert from Otto’s Place. Be sure to ask about the daily flavor options–all are delicious and made from scratch! Layers upon layers of moist chocolate cake with fluffy chocolate frosting is a perfect choice for any cocoa lover. The carrot and lemon cakes are also show-stoppers when it comes to curing a sweet-tooth. Be on the look-out for special pop-up-dinner events and take advantage of the hearty, yet unique breakfast options! 

Whether here for the day or an extended weekend, go ahead and treat yo’self while you taste and tour your way through Galena Country! You never know what favorite memories await! Let the foodie adventure begin with a browse through the visitors guide, we look forward to seeing you soon!