Galena is a historic town located in the northwest corner of Illinois known for its quaintness and 19th century Victorian architecture. In the 1850s, it was the busiest port between St. Louis and St. Paul and boasted rows of elegant homes.
Those interested in this town’s rich history can learn about its past by taking a tour that follows in the footsteps of former resident Ulysses S. Grant when he returned to civilian life as a tour guide, or the more adventurous may want to consider one of Galena’s more spirited ghost tours to delve into Galena’s ghostly past and present.
All About a Ghost Tour
Historian Steven Repp leads the All About a Ghost walking tours from the the DeSoto House Hotel in Galena which was built in 1855. You’ll see the balcony from which Abraham Lincoln Spoke in 1856, still draped in red, white, and blue.
The first published account of a ghost sighting for the hotel was in 1845 when two residents witnessed a very tall ghostly figure they say was a veteran of the War of 1812. This tour also includes other sightings in the mines, on a bridge, and in boarding houses.
The tour also takes you to the 1875 Turner Hall, which was used as a theater. Here set builders reported seeing a ghostly older man with a goatee, rolled-up sleeves, and laser-like eyes. This ghost is thought to be Charles Scheerer, the hall’s longtime business manager who died in the hall in 1910.
Repp also brings the tour to the 1867 Farmers’ Guest House and Vinny Vanucchi’s restaurant, and a newer restaurant One Eleven Main which was once a mortuary. Tours are offered Friday through Saturday at 8:00 p.m.
Amelia’s Galena Ghost Tours
Amelia and her husband Andy spent years ghost hunting in historical cities thought to be haunted including: Savannah, GA, New Orleans, LA, Saint Augustine, FL, and others. Now they have brought their expertise to Galena where they have delved into the town’s legends, ghost stories, and paranormal activity.
Together, they offer a Shuttle Bus Ghost Tour that departs each day at 6:00 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 9:00 p.m. Passengers are introduced to the paranormal hot spots as they learn local lore and legends. And from the comfort of an air conditioned shuttle, guests have a chance to see several haunted locations including the oldest cemetery.
Those on the tour exit the bus on two different occasions but exiting the shuttle is not required. These tours are recommended for children 10 or older.
Today, Galena is a favorite vacation destination for shopping, and for those not into the ghostly side of Galena, a trolley tour, vineyard tour, scooter tours, and more are available to make your stay unforgetable.
Photo credits: Bluzgrl1