With the arrival of the first steamboat in 1823, Galena became the major port and commercial center of the Federal Lead Mine District. In 1836, the town was surveyed and lots were sold, creating a construction boom.
During the next 14 years, construction continued with most buildings made of wood and local materials. However, several destructive fires occurred, destroying homes in the city.
In 1850, the Galena City Council passed an ordinance requiring all new buildings in the business district to be constructed of brick. This created the unifying “wall” effect of Galena’s Main Street. It is this concentration of architectural diversity that makes Galena so unique and noteworthy as an architectural gem. Over 85 percent of the community is on the National Register of Historic Places, including all of Main Street and Bench Street.
Follow this walking tour of Galena’s downtown area for diverse architecture.
Green and Commerce St., U. S. Customs House/Post Office, 1857, Renaissance Revival. Architect: Ammi B. Young. Government Supt: Ely S. Parker, a Seneca Indian who later served on U. S. Grant’s military staff. Initiated by Galena Congressman, Elihu B. Washburne.
230S. MainSt.,DeSoto House Hotel, 1853 Italianate. Architect/Contractor: W. B. Willis. Built by a company of Galena merchants in anticipation of the Illinois Central Railroad’s arrival in Galena in 1854.
233S. MainSt.,George Ferguson Store, 1848, Greek Revival.
213-215 S. Main St., J. G. Schmohl, 1892, Italianate. Steel front by Meeker & Bros. of St. Louis, Mo.
202-204 S. Main St., Steward Crawford/ Gen. W. R. Rowley Stores, 1874, Italianate. Rowley served on U. S. Grant’s military staff.
120-126 S. Main St., Joseph Coatsworth/ Daniel A. Barrows Stores, 1856, Italianate. Located at 123 N. Commerce St., the Old Market House State Historic Site was built in 1845 and is Greek Revival in style.
Site of leather store where U. S. 216.N. MainSt.,Nicholas Dowling, Sligo Grant worked in 1860-61. Iron Store, 1849, Greek Revival.
114S. MainSt.,Lucius S. Felt Store, 220DiagonalSt.,John Dowling House, 1844, Greek Revival. Has fire walls which 1826, Vernacular.
stopped two major fires in the 1850s. 330N. BenchSt.,Jo Daviess County Court 101-103 S. Main St., Dr. Horatio Newhall House, 1839, Greek Revival building is
Drug Store, 1843, Greek Revival. Note in the middle; the 1890 front addition is attic windows in frieze (A frieze is a Second Empire.
horizontal band that runs above doorways 228N. BenchSt.,St. Rose Academy, and windows or below the cornice. The 1859, Italianate. Architect: Father Samuel frieze may be decorated with designs or Mazzuchelli, prominent Dominican missionary carvings). and educator.
102N. MainSt.,Charles H. Hempstead 212N. BenchSt.,Union Baptist Church, Store, 1846, Greek Revival. 1854, Romanesque Revival doorway.
120N. MainSt.,Capt. Ruben W. Brush Italianate brackets under the eaves. Porch Store, 1837, Federal. First store constructed not original.
of Galena brick. Had doublechimneyed 200-202 N. Bench St., Mrs. Wilcox gables. House, 1885, Italianate. Architect/Builder:
122-124 N. Main St., Richard Barret Store, Edward Copps. 1861, Italianate. 201.N. BenchSt.,William Ryan House,
125N. MainSt.,Benjamin and Robert 1855, Greek Revival. Note late construction Burton Stone Warehouse, 1837, Greek date for this Greek Revival with Revival, See original store front on Commerce portico (temple front). Corinthian columns St. are cast iron.
123N. CommerceSt., Old Market House 208PerrySt.,The Old Stockade, French State Historic Site, 1845, Greek Revival. vertical log or post on sill construction. Designed by Thomas Blish; built by Henry During the Black Hawk War of 1832 it J. Stouffer. became part of the Stockade.
200-202 N. Main St., Henry Clymo 120N. BenchSt.,James Strode House, Store, 1855, Italianate. 1838, Greek Revival. Note Greek Columns 208-210 N. Main St., J. A. Meusel Cigar and portico.
Factory, 1888, Italianate. 110N. BenchSt.,George Mitchell House, 224N. MainSt.,Otis S. Horton Block, 1854, Greek Revival. Federal doublechimneyed 1877, Italianate.