Galena Facts

Galena Facts

• Galena” is Latin for lead sulfide.
• In the peak year of 1845, the mining district, with Galena as its hub, produced almost 85% of the nation’s lead.
• The “Lead Rush” preceded the California “Gold Rush” by 20 years.
• Galena claimed 9 residents who reached the rank of General for service rendered during the Civil War.
• Ulysses S. Grant, Galena’s most famous citizen, moved to town in 1860, one year before the outbreak of the Civil War.
• So much of Galena’s original architecture remains that over 85% of the community is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Hughlett's furnace smelting lead in the 1870's

Hughlett’s furnace smelting lead in the 1870’s

The same scene today.

The same scene today.

How Many Galenas are there?

Galena, Illinois is probably the most famous, but there are any others, most named after the mineral. Long-time historical society member Ed Ganshirt has been collecting Galenas. Here’s a sampling of what he has found.

Alaska
The town is on the north bank of the Yukon River, 270 miles west of Fairbanks. The population is 550 and the town is accessible by air year round and by river between May and September. The Air Force has recently reduced the size of the air base, but some new housing developments are being built.

Arizona
It was a village in the mining area that is now the city of Bisbee and was probably named after a railroad siding that served some of the mines in the area. Bisbee is in the southeast part of the state and is made up of several villages that were copper mining areas. What was Galena is bounded by Highway 82, School Terrace Road, and Bisbee Road.

Arkansas
Only the cemetery exists at this time. The peak population of 75 was reached circa 1900. It is in Howard County in the southwest part of the state

Colorado
There are at least three Galena areas in Colorado. Galena or Camp Galena is in Fremont County a few miles south of Canon City. All that remains is an old log cabin. Galena City, nine miles west of Lake City, was established in 1877. The founder had ambitions to be governor and renamed the town Capitol City. There are two old log cabins in the area and some new homes have been built nearby. Another Galena is mentioned in “Guide to Colorado Ghost Towns and Mining Camps.” It is in Schofield County near Gunnison. Galena Mountain is near Silverton.

Idaho
It is now a ghost town 229 miles northwest of Ketchum. It was a mining settlement and had nearly disappeared by 1890. In the area is Galena Peak, Galena Summit, and Galena Gulch. Sun Valley ski area is on Galena Summit.   more…