Tuesday, August 11, 2009


In Galena, Illinois, is a house that Grant hardly ever lived in. But the town gave it to him as a gift at the end of the Civil War. He was there briefly before becoming President and would occasionally return. The house is now open to the public and is decorated as if Grant lived there which is kinda funny because he was hardly ever there. In any respect its a neat house to tour and the town of Galena is also quite a nice place to visit. I'd gladly return.

Here is the house. Unfortunately my pictures from inside didn't turn out well so I have none to share.

Out front is a monument to Grant's wife, Julia Dent Grant.

Nearby is a park, Grant Park, with a statue of Grant.

The park also has the Jo Davies County Civil War monument.
The photo is a little dark but you can see an indentation on the breech where an enemy artillery round struck the cannon.
The names of all Jo Davies County's soldiers is inscribed on the monument.

There are also other cannons around the park. Having Grant as a citizen of your town insured you'd get the best souvenirs. This cannon fired the first rifled cannon fired in combat on the American continent. It was among the guns that fired on Fort Sumter to start the war.

I included the picture of the plaque so you could read for yourself this astonishing fact.

This cannon was on the Spanish steamer Vizcaya during the Battle of Santiago Bay, 3 July 1898. The Spanish fleet was destroyed at the battle, the Vizcaya was blown up and this cannon was later sent to Galena as its prize.

For its World War 1 prize the citizens of Galena asked for an airship or submarine. Apparently being Grant's old town had lost some pull as they received this 1913 Krupp Howitzer. Still a fine piece but not quite the same as a submarine.
This is the main street of Galena. Now its mostly a shopping area. There was a pretty neat old book store but the prices were out of my range.

The teddy bear shop behind the red van was the location of the leather goods store that Grant worked in on the eve of the Civil War. He had failed at everything else he had tried and had come home to work in the family tannery, a job he hated. You can see the plaque for this historic spot on the wall just to the left of the street lamp.

There are many such plaques along this main street. Quite a few have to do with Grant or other Civil War era personalities.
I also went through the county museum which sits on the steep hill above the main street. It was neat, but once again no pictures turned out well enough to share here. The Civil War section is pretty extensive due to the Grant connection.
Grant's political sponsor, Elihu B. Washburne's house is also preserved. I believe the brochure said there were only tours during the summer months.


Chris Evans said...

Nice post. Galena was featured in 'Field of Dreams' where Kevin Costner first meets Burt Lancaster's 'Moonlight Graham' character. I think in one of the scenes you can see Grant's statue in the background.

Anonymous said...

Some nice snapshots of your trip to Galena. For those that have never been here, Galena and Jo Daviess County is a fascinating place to visit not only because of our immense historical connection to President Grant and many Civil War generals, but also because our topography is unlike anything found throughout Illinois. We hope you can come back and visit us again! From your friendly hosts for visitor information, the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau