The Galena Trail and Coach Road crosses Peoria, Marshall, Bureau, Lee, Stephenson, Carroll, and Jo Daviess counties in Illinois. Before the 1832 Black Hawk War, the Trail also served the lead mine communities of southwestern Wisconsin, including Shullsburg, Mineral Point, and Hazel Green. The following selected links are an introductory guide to communities and attractions along the 1825 Galena Trail and the 1833 Galena Coach Road corridor.
Apple River Fort, Elizabeth, Jo Daviess County
Apple River Fort has been reconstructed on the site of a spirited battle between mining families and Black Hawk’s warriors during the 1832 Black Hawk War. The fort is an Illinois Historic Site maintained by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and features an interpretive center and regularly scheduled events with costumed interpreters and entertainment of the period.
County Fairs are held along the Trail nearly every week from late June through August. Agricultural fairs were first organized here in the early 1840’s to test and promote techniques and equipment that allowed farmers to break the tough Illinois prairie and grow cash crops. “Trails of Plows,” stock shows, and crop exhibits soon became an important part of Illinois agriculture. County fairs still play a role in Illinois agricultural life, and now include carnivals that add razzle-dazzle and entertainment that appeal to fair goers everywhere.
John Deere Historic Site and Grand DeTour, Ogle County.
Visit the 1837 home and blacksmith shop of John Deere, the man who invented the popular steel plow that broke the prairies. Deere lived and worked in Grand DeTour from 1837 to 1848, and this is the site of his first success. Buildings and homes familiar to Deere or dating from the pre-Civil War period are seen throughout the village.
Galena Trail Society
Representative David Leitch and Senator Dale Risinger display a Galena Trail sign on the steps of the Illinois State Capitol, July, 2007.
Galena, Illinois and Jo Daviess County
In 1830, Galena was a booming mining town and the commercial center of the Lead Mine Region. It was also the largest town in all of northern Illinois. Today Galena remains a prosperous and scenic town set amidst the beautiful hills of Jo Daviess County. It retains much of its historic charm and many of its historic buildings, while at the same time catering to the modern traveler.
Galena and Jo Daviess County tourism: www.galena.org
www.granthome.com: Grant Home Historic Site is the Galena home of President Ulysses S. Grant, presented to Grant by the citizens of Galena in 1865. It is a distinctive and luxurious Italianate style home constructed in 1860 and furnished with Grant family antiques.
Also the following historic sites listed at www.granthome.com
Home of U.S. Congressman Elihu and Adele Gratiot Washburn. Elihu Washburn was a political advisor to both Presidents Lincoln and Grant. Adele was the daughter of mining pioneer Henry Gratiot. Their beautiful Greek Revival home was built in 1843 and is a prominent landmark overlooking the Fever River and the town of Galena.
Old Market House. Constructed in 1845-46, the Greek Revival style Market House was the commercial heart of Galena during its lead mining heyday. The building serves as an interpretive center, with changing exhibits and special events interpreting the history and development of Galena and the Lead Mine Region.
In 1825 and 1833, the Galena Trail and Coach Roads crossed vast prairies that were untouched by the plow. Extensive prairies in Lee County’s Green River State Wildlife Area and Nachusa Grasslands have been restored to their former glory, offering the traveler a rare glimpse of early northern Illinois.www.leecountytourism.com: Lee County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau site.
nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/illinois/preserves/art1116.html Nachusa Grasslands conservation area, preserving an outstanding Illinois prairie.
Owen Lovejoy Homestead, Princeton, Bureau County
wwww.lovejoyhomestead.com: Lovejoy Homestead
www.bctourism.mchi.com: Bureau County Tourism
Mineral Point, Iowa County, Wisconsin.
Cornish Cottage in Mineral Point
www.wisconsinhistory.org/pendarvis/: Pendarvis Historic Site
Polo and Ogle County, Illinois
www.poloil.net/HistoricalSociety/: Polo Historical Society sites and Link Up With Lincoln Tour information. Hours and availability subject to change.
www.bwcvb.com/content/view/20/43/: Blackhawk Waterways Convention & Visitors Bureau
dnr.state.il.us/lands/Landmgt/PARKS/R1/WHITEPNS.HTM: White Pines Forest and State Park, Civilian Conservation Corps. Lodge-restaurant and cabins.
www.rootsweb.com /~ilogle/: Ogle County History
Peoria and Peoria County
The trailhead of the Galena Trail and Coach Road is on the Peoria Riverfront, at the Peoria Visitor’s Center next to the Spirit of Peoria dock at the foot of Main Street. Beginning in the fall of 2008, road signs will direct travelers from this riverfront to Galena. Before leaving town, take the time to visit Peoria and enjoy the riverfront and downtown attractions, and the nearby state parks & historic sites.
www.peoria.org: Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau website.
www.peoriacountyillinois.info: Illinois Ancestors presents Peoria County.
www.chillicothehistorical.org: Chillicothe Historical Society, museums and events near the Trail in Chillicothe
www.spiritofpeoria.com: Riverboat cruises on the Spirit of Peoria
www.fermatainc.com/il/site_34.html: Forest Park Nature Ceter
www.wildlifeprairiestatepark.org: Wildlife Prairie State Park, bringing the early Illinois Prairie to life. Interpretive center, outdoor exhibits, programs and events.
Jubilee College State Historic Site, Peoria County
Jubilee College Historic
dnr.state.il.us/lands/Landmgt/parks/r1/jubilee.htm: Jubilee State Conservation Area
Shullsburg and the Badger Hill Mine, Lafayette County, Wisconsin
Miners in the 1920's
Local legend has it that sometime around 1820, Shullsburg’s namesake, a fur trader named Jesse Shull, sat down along the trail for a bite to eat and spotted badgers tossing bits of mineral from their holes. Jesse saw riches in these nuggets and was soon mining lead here, there, and wherever the Indians would let him dig. Other seekers joined him, and many, including Shull, became wealthy miners and smelters. Shull’s cabin and diggings are long gone, but tourists can explore the old Badger Hill Mine in Shullsburg’s Badger Park. The Badger Mine and Shullsburg are located on the Old Galena Wagon Road opened by Oliver Kellogg in 1825, now known as Lafayette County Route W, due north of Scales Mound, Illinois.
www.waterstreetplace.com/shullsburg-wi-history.html: Shullsburg, Wisconsin tourist information.
www.explorewisconsin.com/countypages/Lafayette.html: List and description of attractions, locations and contact information.
www.shullsburgwisconsin.org/shullsburgbadgerminemuseum.htm: Badger Hill Mine and Museum, Badger Park, Shullsburg
www.eureka4you.com/magnetichillworldwide/Shullsburg-WI.htm: Gravity Hill, a natural curiosity that will leave you guessing if the laws of gravity really apply to Shullsburg.
Stephenson County, Black Hawk Monument
The Galena Trail at the Black Hawk Monument, Stephenson Co.
www.stephenson-county-il.org: Stephenson County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau
www.stephcohs.org: Stephenson County Historical Society, attractions and events.