(Galena, IL) Hi 74 Low 55 - Heat wave... what heat wave? It was cool enough to get out our blanket last night, and today was beautiful; perfect for taking a walking tour of downtown Galena. We heard from so many of our friends and family about how beautiful Galena is, we were really looking forward to seeing it. We made our way to the downtown area. The traffic was very light, and there weren't any crowds to speak of, this being a weekday.
Here are some scenes of Main Street, where most of the quaint shops and eateries are.
It's very beautiful, with the bluffs on one side and the Galena River on the other. We strolled down Main Street, checking out some of the shops. One that we thought was interesting was the Galena Canning Company, which specialized in hot sauces.
We're talking a LOT of hot sauces!
They had dozens of sauces out for sampling, but you really had to be careful... there was cold milk on hand in case you picked the wrong one. :)
This stairway went up a steep incline for at least two blocks. We were tempted to climb it, but I don't think my knees would take it.
After walking Main Street for a while, we went to the riverfront and walked over the pedestrian bridge across the Galena River to Grant Park.
We had a nice view of downtown from on top of the levee.
The Galena River flows into the Mississippi River, 3 1/2 miles from Galena.
Just across the river from downtown Galena is Grant Park, which honors Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War general and 18th U.S. President.
Gazebo in the park.
This cannon caught our interest. It's an English-made 3.67 inch Blakely rifled cannon. Previous cannons shot a round ball, but this was the first one to have rifling in the barrel and shot a cylindrical shell. This particular cannon saw action in the opening battle of the Civil War at Fort Sumter, SC. And it's the first rifled cannon to be fired in North America. It caught our attention because we visited Fort Sumter earlier this year.
We then made our way to Grant's Home. After resigning from the Army in Ulysses Grant moved from St. Louis to Galena 1860 to work in his father's store. He rented a house at the time. When the Civil War started he re-joined the Army and went off to serve in the war. This house was built in 1860 for a former City Clerk, and in 1865 it was purchased by Thomas B. Hughlett on behalf of a group of local Republicans, and given to Grant, who had just returned from the war and welcomed as a hero.
Ninety percent of the furnishings in the house are original. This is the sitting room, which was Grant's favorite room. It must have been his "man cave." :)
The parlor, left side.
Parlor, right side.
Gen. and Mrs. Grant's bedroom.
The dressing room.
And finally, the library.
There were three more bedrooms upstairs where the children lived. Grant and his family lived in this home until he was elected President in 1868. He returned to the home off and on after that until 1880 when he moved to New York. The home was given to the city of Galena by Grant's children in 1904. It proved too costly to keep up so it was given to the state of Illinois in 1931.
To tell you the truth, we weren't aware that Grant lived in Galena. It was a nice surprise, and a real thrill to tour the home and see the exact furniture that he sat and slept on. On the way back to the campground we drove around some other parts of Galena. There are some beautiful homes around town.
We got back to our home and rested our tired feet for a while before dinner. It was a full and eventful day. Tomorrow will be a "get ready to travel" day as we prepare to move east to Joliet, Illinois on Friday. I'll post a few more pictures of the park in tomorrow's blog.