Following the Footsteps of General Ulysses Grant - Galena, Illinois
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
N 42° 24.677 W 090° 25.467
15T E 711928 N 4698655
Quick Description: This Waytour highlights important places in Galena, Illinois, that Ulysses S. Grant had been involved. These places were important before and after the Civil War, and also just prior to Grant becoming President.
Location: Illinois, United States
Date Posted: 5/1/2020 5:49:22 PM
Waymark Code: WM12D04
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
Views: 28

Long Description:

Ulysses S. Grant

Background and History for Waytour
After leaving the Army in 1855, Ulysses Simpson Grant failed at many jobs - farmer; bill collector; firewood seller. In April, 1860, Grant accepted an offer to work in the family leather business in Galena, Illinois, to pay off his significant debts. He did so in four months. He joined the local Methodist Episcopal Church, which he would remain a member as long as he stayed in Galena. Grant would have to get supplies, like other businessmen, from the Old Market House where Steamboats would drop their wares to be bought by businessmen to be resold to the residents of Galena. Grant would leave town a nobody before the Civil War and return a hero after the war at the Illinois Central Depot. The residents of Galena gave the Grants a house to live in after the War, which they did from 1865 until Grant became President in 1869. Lastly, the famous and finest DeSoto House Hotel hosted a gala upon Grant's return from the War and was the location of Grant's Presidential Headquarters in 1868.

Footsteps of Ulysses S. Grant Waytour
This waytour could be done on foot, however, you will be traveling on both sides of the river. The directions given will be by car. Please be vigilant driving on Highway 20, cars are coming downhill when you are turning right from Park Avenue. Also, Main Street is a shopping haven - pedestrians do not always crossthe street where they are supposed. Be careful driving on Main. Parking will be at a premium on weekends in downtown Galena.

Ulysses S. Grant Home

Stop One: Ulysses S. Grant Home
The Ulysses S. Grant Home waymark - WM10J0Z
Coordinates - N 42° 24.677 W 090° 25.467
Address - 500 Bouthillier Street.
Directions - Driving west on HWY 20, Bouthiller is to the right as you pass St Michael Parish Cemetery. The exit isn't well marked so keep an eye out for the cemetery. The house is a quarter mile from the highway.

The house was presented to the Grant's as a gift from the city as a token of appreciation of the fame that Ulysses had brought to the city with his exploits in the war. The Grant's lived in the house from 1865-1868, when Ulysses was elected president. He made his last visit in 1880. The house was turned back over to the city by the Grant children to be made into a museum, which can be visited today.

This house has a total of six waymarks - the posted WM10J0Z, WM1X37, WM2083, WM1X2Q, WM10V0, WM10J1G.

Illinois Central Depot

Stop Two: Illinois Central Depot
The Illinois Central Depot waymark - WM10J15
Coordinates - N 42° 24.724 W 090° 25.732
Address - 101 Bouthillier Street.
Directions - Drive west on Bouthillier Street 1/4 mile. Cross Park Avenue, but do not cross the Train tracks. Train Depot is on the left.

Built in 1857, this Italianate station would have taken Grant out of the city to Chicago and to the rest of the country. It was here that the victory celebration started on August 18th, 1865, and it was here he would have left for the White House. Today, the Depot houses the Chamber of Commerce.

This depot has a total of three waymarks - the posted WM10J0Z, WMP318, and WM10J16.

Old Market House

Stop Three: Old Market House
The Old Market House waymark - WM10M6Q
Coordinates - N 42° 24.950 W 090° 25.646
Address - 120-122 South Main Street
Directions - Drive east to Park Avenue. Turn Right. Drive two blocks back to Highway 20 (Decatur Street). Turn Right. Cross over the bridge and turn right at the light. After about a tenth of a mile, the road forks - bear right onto Water Street. Turn Left at Warren, the next street and almost immediately you will make a right onto Commerce. Take Commerce three blocks to the Old Market House.

The river you crossed, the Galena River, was once deep enough to support riverboat traffic from the Mississippi River. The Old Market House is where those boats would deliver those wares for merchants to buy and then resell to clients in Galena and the region. Men like U.S. Grant would come here also for news, social reasons, and business. This was a center for the City in its early days. Once the railroads came, the building lost its significance. It became a City Hall, a Jail, a fire Department Center, and it now houses the Galena Visitor Center.

This house has a total of eight waymarks - the posted WM10M6Q, WM10M6T, WM10M70, WM10M74, WM10M6X, WM10XVP, WM10M6Z, WM10M6V.

Grant Leather Store

Stop Four: Grant Leather Store
Grant Leather Store waymark - WM10N1Y
Coordinates - N 42° 24.941 W 090° 25.751
Address - 124-126 South Main Street
Directions - Drive east to Commerce until the next block which is Perry Street. Turn Left. Drive to the next block - Main Street - and Turn Left. Drive past the next block (Hill Street) and just as your are going to get to Washington, the Store is a grey stone four-story building, second building from the end of the block. Parking downtown Galena, especially on weekends can be dicey - plan accordingly.

After failing in several jobs after quitting the Army, Grant comes to work in the family leather business. It's a nasty, smelly job - and Grant, surprisingly for a soldier who has seen combat, is very squeamish at the sight of blood and gore. He manages to get himself out of debt and into the good graces of society with his position at the company.

This building has a total of three waymarks - the posted WM10N1Y, WM10N1Z, WM10N20.

DeSoto House Hotel

Stop Five: DeSoto House Hotel
DeSoto House Hotel waymark - WM10MW2
Coordinates - N 42° 24.882 W 090° 25.796
Address - 226-232 South Main Street
Directions - Continue West on Main Street through Washington to the corner of the next block (Green Street). On your left, the large building is the DeSoto House.

Grant may have heard Lincoln speak on behalf of Fremont in 1856 from the balcony of the DeSoto, on the other hand, at this time, he was a Democrat and not able to vote as he had not been a resident in Illinois long enough to register. Nine short years later, though, the hotel was the site of a great party thrown on behalf of the General who defeated Robert E Lee. This hotel would also be Grant's Headquarters for the 1868 Presidential Campaign. With the mining gone, the hotel lost its prominence until the 1970's when small shops began to come back to Galena. Now, the DeSoto is again a grand Hotel serving people visiting this great little town.

This building has a total of eight waymarks - the posted WM10MW2, WM10XQP, WM10MW7, WM10MW3, WM10HFH, WM10HGC, WMHJT9, WMHAZK

First Methodist Episcopal Church

Stop Six: First Methodist Episcopal Church
First Methodist Episcopal Church waymark - WM10JRG
Coordinates - N 42° 24.968 W 090° 25.798
Address - 125 South Bench Street
Directions - Turn Left on Green Street. Go one Block to Commerce and Turn Left. Go Straight two blocks to Hill Street, Turn Left. Go Two blocks (go through Main and up the Hill) to Bench. Turn Left. The church is the second building on the right - you are on a one-way street.

This is the home church of Julia and Ulysses Grant during their stay in Galena. Built in 1856, this is a fine example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture. According to the National Register, the doors and windows are original to 1856, and the 1200 pound bell was installed in 1868. The church maintains the pew that Grants sat in and encourages visitors to come sit in history.

This building has a total of seven waymarks - the posted WM10JRG, WMHAYT, WM3N5D, WM10JRM, WM10JRH, WM10JRP, WM10JT9

Following the Footsteps of General Ulysses S. Grant Map
Map Generated using Google Maps

I would like to thank T0SHEA, vulture1957, and ScroogieII for the assistance on this waymark as far as the HTML coding.
Recommended Time for this WayTour: From: 9:00 AM To: 5:00 PM

Stop Coordinates:
2.) Illinois Central Depot - N 42° 24.724 W 090° 25.732
3.) Old Market House - N 42° 24.950 W 090° 25.646
4.) Grant Leather Store - N 42° 24.941 W 090° 25.751
5.) DeSoto House Hotel - N 42° 24.882 W 090° 25.796
6.) First Methodist Episcopal Church - N 42° 24.968 W 090° 25.798

Starting Address for this WayTour:
500 Bouthillier Street
Galena, IL USA

Number of Stops: 6

Website of stops: [Web Link]

Stop Website: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:
You must include an original photo showing one of the stops along the tour route.
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