Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Galena Museums

The above picture is one I took at the Jo Daviess County Historical Society Museum in Galena, IL. This portrait is life-sized. Immense! You can learn more about this amazing painting depicting the surrender of Lee at Appomattox Court House as the end of the Civil War by clicking HERE.

Galena was the residence of Ulysses S. Grant at the time President Lincoln called for volunteers for the Union Army. The Grant Home Museum is located in Galena, and I got to tour the mansion, which is chock-full of the Grant family possessions, amazing oil paintings, and interesting sculptures.

This stature of Mrs. Grant, Julia Dent Grant, stands in the garden at the Grant home. She's positioned to look down the slope toward Grant Park, where a statue of her husband, US Grant, is looking up the hill in her direction.
One thing I learned that I didn't know, was that US Grant wasn't much of a cigar smoker until he went to war. Then he started smoking them because the smell of the cigar covered the smell of the sick and dying soldiers around him. Sadly, this had a devastating effect on his health, as he passed away from throat cancer after two terms as President, and only days after he finished his memoirs.

So, question for you, have you visited a presidential home? I've been to Eisenhower's and Grant's. My husband and son visited Benjamin Harrison's house last fall.


  1. I've never been to a presidential home, but I've driven past Henry Wilson's (18th vice president) cobbler shop in my hometown of Natick, MA. Coincidentally, Mr. Wilson was VP under U.S. Grant. You can read about Henry Wilson and see the little shop here

  2. No presidential homes but I love going through historical museums and time-period houses. What a way to jump back to a specific year!

  3. We've been to Andrew Jackson's place in TN, McKinley's place in Niles, Ohio (very near us) and his tomb/museum in Akron area. Our favorite presidential home was Garfield's in Mentor, OH. Beautiful home. Caitlin and I went the day after Christmas several years ago. We were the only two there at the time. With Caitlin's curiosity, we ended up having a 1 and 1/2 hour tour and the guide even took us into the vault and showed us all kinds of things no one else gets to see. I guess when a 9 year old can tell you all about gaslights and other such period things, the guide gets interested in you, too. :-)

    We have also been to President Wilson's home in Virginia. It was nice, but Lawnfield (Garfield) was better.