Galena’s Belvedere Mansion is considered the finest, historic home in a city that is often described as “the town that time forgot.”
Part of the attraction to Galena, Il is that so much of it still appears as it did prior to the Civil War. Galena was once the lead mining capital of the world, a major commercial port on the upper Mississippi, and the wealthiest city in the State of Illinois. The stately and sturdy brick and limestone buildings you still see in the downtown area reflect this.
None are more handsome than Belvedere Mansion, however.
J. Russell Jones built this lavish Italianate villa in 1857. A steamship merchant, Jones rose of his own power up through business and on into politics. Elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1860, he was friends with General Ulysses S. Grant, another famed Galena resident. President Lincoln appointed him as U.S. Marshall for the Northern District of Illinois. Jones was also one of Lincoln’s Chicago funeral train pallbearers.
Belvedere Mansion and Gardens continue to reflect the Victorian splendor of Galena’s early days. Touring this “most often visited” attraction in Galena truly is like stepping back in time. You’ll be transported back to both antebellum and Civil War America when you visit – and don’t forget the gardens!
The gardens of Belvedere Mansion recreate the quiet and intimate spaces of the same time period. You’ll find bronze statuary, hibiscus urns, and flowing fountains as you follow the garden’s the casual walkways. The gardens add a further beauty and European eloquence to the mansion’s magnificent grounds.
Belvedere Mansion offers guided tours from around the middle May to the middle of November. Each tour lasts around 15 minutes and no reservation is necessary – just ring the bell during business hours.
Steeped in mid 19th century history, the Mansion and gardens offer a glimpse into a bygone age.
The Belvedere Mansion and Gardens
1008 Park Avenue, Galena, Illinois
Sunday thru Friday – 11am to 4pm
Saturdays – 11am to 5pm
For more information, be sure to visit Belvedere Mansion online at: www.galenabelvederemansion.com
Belvedere Mansion Lodging
If you like Belvedere Mansion you’ll love Cloran Mansion Bed & Breakfast! Our opulent Galena B&B features Italianate design and European-style accommodations, along with impeccable service and meticulously groomed outdoor gardens. You may even feel as if you’re living in the very world you visit at Belvedere Mansion! Come relax in splendor at Cloran Mansion Bed & Breakfast.
Ulysses S. Grant had a home in Galena from the spring of 1860 until his last visit in 1880, though history buffs will look at those dates and understand that he spent few of those years actually living in the residence. Between 1861 and 1865 he was busy winning the war for the Union and, from 1868 to 1871, he was busy being president.
Despite this, Galenans loved their hometown hero and kept him as their own. Grant certainly seemed to feel the same and continually returned to Galena when he could. Celebrating the general’s victorious return to Galena with a 3-day re-enactment of life in those times – both military and civilian – almost 150 years later is a fitting gesture.
General Grant’s Home Front Civil War Encampment
April 25 – 27, 2014
in Galena, Illinois
Adults $5, Registered Re-enactors, uniformed Scouts and children under 12 enter for free
Divided into 3 days, Civil War re-enactors will hold demonstrations on topics such as period artillery, infantry, medical care, and music and dance. Below are a few highlights of the scheduled activities.
Friday, April 25th
5 to 7pm – Candlelight Tours of the Washburn and Grant homes
Saturday, April 26th
10am – Camp opens to public
10am to 3pm – Living History stations in camp: infantry/artillery/medical/civilian/music & dance
9:45am to 10:45am – Battalion Drill on main field
10:45am to Noon – Boy Scout Drill
Noon to 3pm – Sanitary Fair – period dancing and a Bazaar of donated, period items for sale
3:15pm – A re-enactment of the Vicksburg Campaign
5pm – US/Battalion Flag ceremony
5:15pm – Camp closes for the night
Sunday, April 27th
10am – Camp opens, Period church service in camp
10am to Noon – Living History re-enactments in camp
Noon – Picnic Social where you may bid on baskets for lunch with Donor/Living Historian
2pm – Re-enactment of the Battle of Fever River
3pm – Camp closes
Lodging for the General Grant Homecoming Re-enactment
Whether you’re in Galena for Civil War re-enactments, romance, business, or pleasure, Cloran Mansion bed and breakfast is here for you. Give us a try and discover the meaning of comfort and hospitality.