Galena, Illinois

One of the 100

Great Towns of America


Discover Galena, Illinois

Galena, Illinois

Galena is a timeless treasury of Midwestern heritage and scenery. Rugged forested hills and bucolic landscapes surround the village on slopes above a gentle stream near its junction with the Mississippi River. Settlement began with America’s first large mineral rush as fortune-seekers flocked to the area’s rich deposits of lead ore. By the 1850s, Galena was the busiest steamboating port between St. Louis and St. Paul. But, as trains replaced steamboats and the river silted in, the town dwindled to a quiet backwater by the turn of the century. Thanks to decades of economic stagnation that followed, nearly 1,000 grand old structures were not razed or modernized.

Today, that legacy is preserved on the National Historic Register. Curving streets are lined with unbroken rows of solid brick buildings housing a bonanza of museums and shops brimming with regional antiques, arts, crafts, and culinary treats. Many romantic hotels and inns also affirm Galena’s splendid past.

For more information, check with the local Chamber of Commerce.


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