50th Annual Tour of Historic Homes

50th Annual Tour of Historic Galena Homes

 September 23 and 24, 2017

It’s a labor of love, really… this business of asking owners of Galena’s rich cache of historic buildings to open their homes to the public for an entire weekend. We’re asking a lot, we know. Yet every year, roughly a half dozen properties are, indeed, offered up for touring, giving lovers of history, quality American workmanship and even quirky ingenuity the opportunity to see why Galena’s 19th Century architecture and interiors are second to none.

Captain Bates House, 1203 Third Street

Information will be coming soon.




Aldrich House, 900 Third Street

This elegant brick home was constructed in 1846 by stage line agent and Illinois legislator Cyrus Aldrich. Like many houses in Galena, more additions came later. J. Russell Jones (Minister to Belgium during the Grant administration) added one in 1853, and Robert H. McClellan (State Senator and banker) added another in 1858. Oral tradition holds that U. S. Grant trained Civil War volunteers on the lawn in 1861. Today the home serves as a guest home. This home truly is a taste of old Galena.
Woodward House, 810 Park Avenue

George Woodward was a prominent Unitarian minister and businessman. He was also City Clerk and a trustee of the new and elegant DeSoto House Hotel. Woodward’s imposing brick mansion was completed in 1851, commanding a prominent position overlooking the river and commercial district. Today, after more than 150 years, the home still has its original charm. Large six-over-six window panes give a light and airy feel to each room. Contemporary owners have tried to remain true to the house in their ongoing restoration efforts, using a variety of pieces to create a harmonious blend of old and new.

Old Banking House, 403 S. Bench Street

Constructed originally as a log cabin with a loft above, this house was built circa 1826. An 1830s tenant, William Bostwick, Esq., was cashier of the Galena branch of the Illinois State Bank, also located on Bench Street. When that institution burned down, Boswick moved the banking operations to his home, and here the bank operated until it closed during the depression of the late 1830s. By the mid-1800s, the house was known as the Mansion House Hotel, and the bell now at the front of the house was the dinner bell for the hotel. It rang at 12:15pm daily and people from all over the city came here to eat. By 1854 it was the home of Jacob Eberhart, who helped make uniforms for Galena soldiers during the Civil War. Today the exposed log walls and beamed ceilings of the interior of this seven-room frame home, the hand stenciled floor, and the staircase attest to the loving restoration accomplished over many years.

Charles Merrick House, 905 Third Street

Information will be coming soon.