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|Annual Tour of Homes showcases historic Galena|
|News Releases - Local Events|
|Written by Galena/Jo Daviess County CVB|
|Thursday, 04 August 2011 08:19|
September 24 & 25 event to feature 19th century architectureGALENA , Ill. – From a cozy miners’ cottage to a grand Second Empire jailhouse, Galena ’s incredible architecture will take center stage during the 44th 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 24 & 25, 2011.
Originally built as a combination bakery, market, and boarding house, farmers who came to Galena from a distance to sell their wares could stay upstairs in the Italianate-style Farmers’ Home Hotel. Built in 1867 for Casper and Balzar Vogel, descendants of the bakers’ family occupied the site until 1978, just more than 111 years. The building evolved as an antique shop, and then a restaurant, as a series of owners remodeled the interior spaces. The current owners purchased the Spring Street property in 2001 and opened an inn with nine guest rooms and spacious common areas. Historic architecture, vintage décor, lush gardens and patios, and its close proximity to downtown make this guest house a perennial favorite.
Frank and Betsy Jane Smith built a charming two-story house on Wight Street in 1856. Frank was co-owner of the Fuller and Smith Company, wholesale grocers and agents for the Anchor Steamship Line. The two-over-two windows, small second story horizontal windows, and narrow sidelights with multi-paned lights above the centered front door are typical of the late 1850s. The next owner, in 1877, was prominent local dentist, Dr. Franklin Stryker. A native of Prince Edward County, Ontario, he was one of eleven children. After teaching, then training as a dentist, Stryker moved to Galena in 1865. He worked the first year for Dr. J. Brown, taking over his dental practice in 1866 and marrying Dr. Brown’s daughter, Jennie, soon after. The couple raised four children in the home. After changing hands a number of times, the home was purchased by the current owners in 2009. Saffron-colored built-in cabinets surround the great room fireplace; original honey-hued pine flooring and open spaces make this a cozy home, with a wonderful garden area in the rear.
Built in 1878 at a cost of $16,000, the Old County Jailhouse is Second Empire architecture three stories high with a Mansard roof. The top floor had six “airy apartments provided for evil-doers” according to the August 25, 1879 Galena Daily Gazette. The first and second floors were a residence for the Sheriff and his family. As a security feature, the flooring and ceiling of the prisoner area were built of iron beams and brick arches, then covered with two-inch plank, then a heavy iron plate riveted solid. Now exposed as the second floor ceiling, the soaring brick arches provide a delightful industrial feel to the master suite and bedroom areas. Sold by the County in the 1970s, the Old Jail sat empty and deteriorating until 2000 when new owners stabilized the structure and completely rebuilt its distinctive roof, showcased during the 2003 Tour. In 2006 the current owner moved his eclectic collection in and eventually plans to create two condos on the upper floors.
An enchanting miner’s cottage nestled into the private hillside behind the Old Jailhouse was built in 1846 by Frederick Schwatka, a Galena Market Master. Originally a two story brick dwelling 30’ x 16’, the cottage was listed for sale in the January 11, 1853 Weekly Northwestern Gazette: “5 rooms and a kitchen - a first rate Cistern, holding between 70 and 80 barrels of water - a Cow Stable, Shed, and other conveniences. The whole is enclosed with a good substantial fence.” Apparently the fence was not substantial enough, as just 10 months later Schwatka advertised a $5 reward for the return of his stray three-year-old red heifer. Purchased in 2008 by the current owners and enjoying its Home Tour debut, the secluded cottage with exposed stone walls is decorated in an artistic, whimsical style.
James Crowley arrived in Galena in 1850, wed Mary Allwell and built a house in the mid-1850s at 403 Jackson St .. Mr. Crowley, a Civil War veteran of the 45th Illinois , served as East Galena Township Assessor for 30+ years. The property originally faced Fourth Street , no longer used, which ran directly in front of the U.S. Grant Home, just above Crowley House. The Crowleys raised eight children in the original 1,000 sq. ft. 1850s structure that features first floor 24-inch thick stone walls, a warm fireplace and wide plank floors. A kitchen and bedroom were added in 1896. Crowley descendants owned the home for 90 years until 1946. The house was last on Tour in 1978, after a renovation which added an office, side porch and garage. The current owners, who purchased it in 1989, made a final addition including a dining room, windowed garden room and exercise room in 2006. The property is eclectic in style, combining the original Federal structure with several additions that blend nicely into a pleasing whole.
A free shuttle service will operate between all tour homes and ticket locations. Tour guides, many in period attire, will provide historic narrative at each home. Free admission to the Galena History 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 nationally-acclaimed temporary exhibit entitled “Ulysses S. Grant: Soldier,” showcasing the military years of Galena ’s favorite son.
The 44th Annual Tour of Historic Galena Homes is sponsored by the Galena - Jo Daviess County Historical Society. Tickets are $15, $13 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 history 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 Galena History 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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