45th Annual Tour of Homes showcases historic Galena PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Galena/Jo Daviess County CVB   
Monday, 06 August 2012 08:58

September 29 & 30 event to feature 19th century architecture

GALENA, Ill. – From cozy miners’ cottages to grand Queen Annes, Galena’s incredible architecture will take center stage during the 45th Annual Tour of Historic Galena Homes.  Autumn is always a popular time to visit scenic Galena, but add the chance to tour inside five private historic buildings and the lure becomes irresistible. Preservation, interior decorating, antiques and history are featured elements of the popular event hosted by the Galena - Jo Daviess County Historical Society. The guided tour runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine, both Saturday and Sunday, September 29 & 30, 2012.

Two heritage hibiscuses, thought to be as old as the home, greet you near at the back entrance of the Friesenecker House at 507 Spring Street. Built in 1891 for Philip and Margaret Friesenecker, the home remained in the family for 114 years. This was the first residence in Galena wired for electricity. A parlor gasolier (half gas, half electric) is original to the home, as is the woodwork, a stained and beveled glass window, pocket doors and hardware. Two staircases, often a sign that a maid or servant lived in the home, provide access to the three bedrooms on the second floor. The current owners purchased the property in 2010. Their large collection of clocks adds an air of whimsy to the gracious and spacious Queen Anne home.

The hilltop property at 304 Elk Street was once owned by C.R. Perkins, a leather merchant who partnered with the Grants in the Grant & Perkins Leather Store (Ulysses was at war during that time). The Perkins home burned in 1880. The lot was sold to William R. Holder, who built this fine Queen Anne home on the site in 1881. Holder was a merchant, operating a grocery store in downtown Galena. Purchased in 1994 by the present owners, the home retains many of its original features. A grand staircase welcomes you in the front hall. Sliding pocket doors separate the spacious double parlors, and a baby grand piano graces the living area. A stacked bay window and two porches provide ample vantage points overlooking historic downtown and the Galena River valley. A recent kitchen remodel provides modern convenience to the stately Holder House. A back staircase leads to second floor bedrooms plus a home office on the third.

The enchanting Coates Cottage at 512 Dewey Avenue is a miner’s cottage built of stone in the 1830s. It consisted of just one room (now the kitchen) with a bedroom on the second floor. The living and dining rooms, enclosed porch, and galley bathroom upstairs were added later. Two generations of the Coates family lived here including Ralph “Dude” Coates, who worked for the Uehren & Furlong Furniture and Undertaking business, and his daughter Helen (Mrs. Jerry Bingham). Three French doors bring light and nature into the cozy space from a side terrace. Wide pine floorings are the perfect backdrop for the owner’s collection of Craftsman furnishings. The cottage was purchased by the current owner in 1996. An architect by trade, his original photography graces the walls, along with several 1830s maps of America which include a prominent Galena, already being recognized as a national center of trade and commerce.

Thick native limestone walls of the original 1830s miner’s cottage were preserved to form the kitchen of the charming House of Seven Gables at 732 Dewey Avenue. Two major additions were constructed, including a late 1890s wood-frame addition with an odd bay that brought the number of interwoven gables to seven. Legend and a stone ledge hint it may have been a stagecoach stop. The home changed hands many times in the 19th and 20th centuries; the current owners purchased the home in 1997. They have done a great deal of structural maintenance, from roof to sagging stone walls. This year the first floor room, which retains its original wainscoting, got a new ceiling and was transformed into a stagecoach and western memorabilia sanctuary. A kitchen wall has acquired a large bas-relief ceramic mural of three generations of Native American women, sculpted by one of the owners. The house is full of family heirlooms, antiques and primitives, plus art work from the owners’ Mineral Point gallery. Lovely terraced gardens create a natural oasis which surrounds the home.

Steamboat captain David Bates built a 13-room Federal mansion at 1203 Third Street in 1830. Just behind the main home is an 1835 Greek Revival-style brick cottage which was likely built as an in-law home as it has 10.5-foot ceilings, a feature that would have not be found in servant’s quarters. However, it is known that Bates held slaves. Unlike Missouri, Illinois was a free state but Black Laws allowed for slaves under the term of an indentured servant. Bates brought a keel boat from St. Louis to Galena in 1819. He later ran steamboats between St. Louis, Galena, and St. Paul. In 1829 Bates built The Galena steamboat in Cincinnati, OH; it burned and sank in the Galena River in 1837.  Bates sold his property to John P. DeZoya and left town. The site became a bed and breakfast in the 1990s. The owners chose to name the lodging after DeZoya, not Bates. The current owners purchased the property in 2009 and did extensive renovations on the cottage. Antiques fill the charming and functional space, making it a welcoming and favorite spot for guests.

A free shuttle service will operate between all tour homes and ticket locations on Saturday; attendees will need to provide their own transportation on Sunday. Tour guides, many in period attire, will provide historic narrative at each home. Free admission to the Galena & U.S. Grant Museum is included with the home tour ticket and will include the new Ghosts of the Grants hologram presentation. During the home tour, the museum will be featuring a new temporary exhibit entitled “Ulysses S. Grant: Friends, Family & Foes,” showcasing personal relationships of Galena’s favorite son.

New in 2012 will be a Cocktail Reception at the grand Captain David G. Bates home at 1203 Third Street. On Saturday evening, September 29, from 5 to 8 pm, hosts Phil Eichler and Tim Newman will serve cocktails & hors d’oeuvres. The exclusive, limited ticket will cost $50 and includes the reception, plus one Home Tour ticket.

The 45th Annual Tour of Historic Galena Homes is sponsored by the Galena - Jo Daviess County Historical Society. Tickets are $17, $16 in advance (before September 15); children under 10 are free with an adult. Tickets and maps are available during the tour weekend at the Old Train Depot Visitor Information Center at 101 Bouthillier St., the DeSoto House Hotel at 230 S. Main St., the Galena & U.S. Grant Museum at 211 S. Bench St., the Gateway to History at 403 S. Main St., and at any home on the tour. Advance tickets (non-refundable) are available at the Museum, or phone 815.777.9129 to purchase by credit card.


For further event information, contact the Historical Society at 815.777.9129 or visit www.galenahistorymuseum.org. Additional area offerings and visitor information may be found at the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau at www.galena.org or by calling 877.464.2536. While in town, visit the CVB’s Old Train Depot Visitor Information Center at 101 Bouthillier St. (corner of Park Avenue) for on-site assistance and countywide information.


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