I LOVED Galena. I’ve been in IL for 36 years today and I had never been to Galena. I had barely even heard of it! But is definitely one of those hidden treasures of Illinois and I LOVED it. It is a really, really, really beautiful place. So beautiful in fact that I took almost 500 pictures! Over 450 on my Canon T1i camera, and several more on my cell phones. What is so amazing about that is that I was only there for a day and a half! Yes, there is that much to see.

I never liked history in school… AT.ALL. But now that I’m older, I can become absolutely enthralled in a good show on the History Channel. Well, Galena is the history channel in person as far as I’m concerned! What makes it so historic? Well, besides being just the cutest little town you have ever seen with a warm, friendly downtown shopping area, hills, and beautiful homes, Galena was also the home of former President Grant, even though it was brief.

They have really embraced that history and ran with it. This is apparent in not only the charm of the Grant’s former home which is now a historic site, but also in the Galena History Museum. I could have spent hours in that museum experiencing some things that I never thought that I would get to see in person. We saw replicas of items like dresses worn by Mrs. Grant, artifacts found in the town at the time, a lead mine that is actually UNDER the building, and many other awesome things.

Actually, we were told that homeowners in Galena have to sign a special waver because so many of the homes are actually built right over the mines. Wow! That is something really cool, but also scary.

The icing on the cake visiting the history museum was the fact that we got the once in a lifetime opportunity to visit the 3rd floor of the museum where several artifacts that have been found or donated to the museum are kept. We got the “white glove treatment”. We had to wear white gloves so that we wouldn’t get any oils or dirt from our hands on the artifacts. I was truly amazed by some of the things that I saw. The museum is actually at risk of closing. They need the funds to stay open and keep all the great stuff they are housing in Galena’s possession. Contact the Galena History Museum today to find out how you can help.

I cannot believe that I am already almost on 400 words in this post! There is just so much to talk about. And I am only a few hours into the first day!

I may split this into a few posts but for now you can view all of the photos that I took on my Flickr page. I really look forward to learning more about Galena and visiting again! I would love to bring my kids so that can check out the museums and the parks. It is just so pretty, and there is so much to do and see.

Disclosure: My trip was made possible by and paid for by the Galena/Jo Daviess County CVB. Thanks very much to our hosts Celestino and Dorian who represent just a small fraction of all the awesome people that we met in Galena.