The story of Galena-area citizens during the Civil War is deep and rich. And the historical society is honored to present that story. Galena’s 150th anniversary commemoration kicked off in 2011 with a program in Grant Park. The Blakely Rifle was highlighted as instrumental in the first volley fired on Fort Sumter to begin the war on April 12, 1861. Multiple living history stations informed local middle school students about military and home front life.
April 2015 will bring a crescendo of activities. Events will kick off on April 9, the date of Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox, with a dinner theatre performance of Remembering Old Galena at the DeSoto House Hotel, plus Civil War-era songs by Galena’s Bell Choir and the celebratory tolling of church bells throughout the city at sunset.
An original theatrical production entitled Peace in Union will be performed multiple times at Turner Hall. Written and directed by Ronn Toebaas, the play will showcase how Thomas Nast’s painting of the same name came to be, ending with a tableau of the painting on the same stage that it was presented as a gift to the citizens of Galena in 1895. Dubuque’s Cadenza Choir will perform a prelude of Civil War songs at one of the performances. President Obama has been asked to share his thoughts – in person or on video tape – on the end of the conflict from the perspective of the nation’s first black President.
The public is encouraged to attend a special screening of the 2014 Emmy-winning film, “Mysteries of the Driftless,” on Saturday, February 21st, at 6:30 p.m. at the Galena Territory Owners’ Club, 2000 Territory Drive, Galena. Parking is ample, and the event is free.
The film will be presented by Executive Producer Tim Jacobson. In this 27-minute science adventure, a team of movie-making scientists kayak, rock climb, go caving, hike and hop a prop plane in order to experience the natural wonders of the unique geology of the driftless region and the habitats for plants and wild life it provides. Jo Daviess County is at the southern end of the driftless, or unglaciated region.
After the showing, Jacobson will be joined by University of Dubuque geologist Dale Easley and Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation (JDCF) Executive Director Steve Barg for a Q&A and to identify locations close to Dubuque and Galena where some of the “mysteries” can be experienced. Popcorn, cookies and coffee will be served and wine, beer and soda will be available for purchase. The evening is co-sponsored by JDCF and the Galena-Jo Daviess County Historical Society. To help defray the cost of this free event, two Mississippi River Cruises, donated by the owners of the Twilight Riverboat, will be auctioned.