Desoto House - Galena IL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member kJfishman
N 42° 24.883 W 090° 25.793
15T E 711469 N 4699022
Quick Description: Historic Desoto House opened in 1855 and is back in operation today.
Location: Illinois, United States
Date Posted: 5/10/2019 7:55:23 AM
Waymark Code: WM10HFH
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Alfouine
Views: 3

Long Description:
Historic Desoto House opened in 1855 and is back in operation today. Presidents Lincoln and Grant and other dignitaries have stayed here. The building was condemned in 1986 but it has been saved and restored.
The complete history can be found at (visit link)

"Once the principal river port of the Upper Mississippi Valley, Galena reached its economic peak during the 1850’s. With the coming of the Illinois Central Railroad, a group of local investors formed the “Galena Hotel Company” and built a grand hotel to reflect the growing prosperity of this “Metropolis of the Northwest”. Named for the discoverer of the Mississippi River, the DeSoto House opened on April 9, 1855 and was billed as the “Largest Hotel in the West.”

At the time of its conception, the DeSoto House was built to service the many people arriving in Galena which was flourishing as a major mining and trade center. The original hotel building consisted of five stories and a lower level. The DeSoto boasted 225 guest rooms, a gentleman’s reading room, ladies’ parlors, a 300 seat dining hall, a kitchen with equipments for feeding hundreds, and it own gas works for lighting halls, dining rooms, and public areas. In addition, retail stores, offices, a saloon, and a bowling alley also found their home in the DeSoto House.

The first proprietor of the DeSoto House, John C. Parks, furnished the hotel at a cost of $15,000 in exchange for a two year rent-free contract. Furnishings included velvet carpets, rosewood furniture, marble -topped tables, satin damask curtains, and a “double round seven octave carved rosewood Piano Forte”. A reporter from the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser wrote of the DeSoto House that it was “the perfection of neatness, convenience, and accommodations”.

Thus the DeSoto House began its years as the center of Galena’s social and political activities. Perhaps its most notable visitor was President Abraham Lincoln, who spoke from its Main Street balcony on July 23, 1856, in support of John Fremont’s bid for presidency. Just two years later, on July 25, 1858 Senator Stephen A. Douglas spoke from the same balcony. On September 13, 1860, a crowd of over 15,000 rallied in front of the DeSoto in response to a “Grand Republican Mass Meeting” in support of Lincoln’s presidential bid.

Ulysses S. Grant’s return to his hometown of Galena following the Civil War, brought 25,000 citizens to the streets to welcome him home. Bands, parades, and cannon salutes preceded a reception ball for 2,000 persons which was held at the DeSoto House. Grant later used rooms 209 and 211 of the hotel as his presidential campaign headquarters...." excerpt from: (visit link)
Name of the Hotel: Desoto House

230 S. Main Street Galena, IL 61036

Number of Rooms: 55

Height in floors: 3

Hotel Rating: 2 diamonds AAA

Hotel since: 4/9/1855

Date Building was built: 4/9/1855

First use of building:
Always been a hotel

Historic Hotel (Historic Building, National Monument or similar): yes

Urban Hotel (located in a village or town): yes

Mountains Nearby (less than 25 Kms / 15 Mil): no

Beachs Nearby (less than 25 Kms / 15 Mil): no

Major Pilgrimage Place Nearby (less than 25 Kms / 15 Mil. Consider any religion).: no

Hotel website (if available): [Web Link]

Historic Place nearby (Unesco or National monument/site less than 25 Kms / 15 Mil): Not Listed

Visit Instructions:
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