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Saturday 12/15

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History of Galena, Illinois and the Helluva Half Mile

Found in the Northwestern corner of Illinois, the city of Galena is known for both its beautiful and historic roots. Established in 1826, the city of Galena was named after a rare mineral formed from lead sulfide. Because of its location along the Mississippi River, Galena became an important port stop between St. Paul and St. Louis, allowing the city to blossom. Being one of the most intact historic towns on the map today, Galena is home to the DeSoto home (where both Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas spoke on their political campaigns), Ulysses S. Grant’s home, the Belvidere Mansion, and the famous Helluva Half Mile. In fact, about 85% of the buildings in Galena are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Helluva Half Mile

Wait, Helluva Half Mile? One of the first things you’ll notice about Galena is the beautiful red-brick buildings that line Main Street. Once known as the center of a booming mining town, the historic buildings are now filled with more than 125 boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, and bars. The street features the same narrow road and sidewalks that were built in the mid-1800s. Whether you’re shopping for a new Galena t-shirt or elegant new décor, the Helluva Half Mile has something for everyone. Not sure where to start shopping? Check out this guide and get shopping!

Shopping not your thing? Don’t worry, the Helluva Half Mile is home to a whole lot more than just shops. You can get the perfect taste of Galena from one of the local Main street restaurants. Choose from Fried Green Tomatoes, Fritz and Frites, Log Cabin Steakhouse, Galena Brewing Company, One Eleven Main, or Little Tokyo. We promise you can go wrong.

Want more history?

The glaciers that flattened and shaped most of North America missed the northwestern corner, causing the hills, valleys, and bluffs in this Mississippi River Valley area to remain intact, making it one of the most scenic areas in the Midwest – including the views you can enjoy from right here at Chestnut Mountain Resort.

Aside from gorgeous views, the city of Galena offers tons of ways for visitors to explore the history of Galena. The Galena Trolley Tours will take you to explore the Dowling house, Ulysses home, and the Belvedere Mansion, giving you the perfect opportunity to travel the hills and valleys of a beautiful and historic mining community and major river port.

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