Galena, one of the most beautiful towns in Illinois, is a small community of a little over 3,000 residents and popular with retirees and vacationers. It is located in northwestern Illinois near the Mississippi River and the Wisconsin and Iowa borders. The town is named for galena, an ore of lead, lead sulfide. Galena is in Jo Daviess County. Many beautiful homes and buildings in the French Colonial and Victorian styles of architecture were created during its early economic prominence due to steamboats and lead mining. Today it is a popular tourist destination, hosting over one million visitors each year. An amazing 85% of the structures in Galena are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a significant source of the city's charm and popularity. Main Street in downtown Galena has a large number of specialty shops, bed and breakfasts, galleries, and restaurants. Many weekenders from Chicago keep second homes in the area. Photos of Main Street and Dowling House courtesy of Wikipedia and Julien.scavini, Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0/
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Galena Ridge is one of the most prestigious neighborhoods. The Galena Territory is a private 6,800 acre development located several miles southeast of downtown Galena (see Active Communities link at left). It features low-density residential development and the Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, with 63 holes of championship golf. Those seeking a retirement community here have the opportunity to live in an active adult community or in the historic town. The average home value in early 2020, was about $191,771, according to Zillow. Prices will vary by neighborhood. Average property taxes are close to $3000.
What is Special about Galena
The Old Market House State Historic Site; Saint Michael's Church was founded by the pioneer priest Father Samuel Mazzuchelli Apple Festival; The Desoto House Hotel - oldest operating hotel in Illinois (1855); Resorts and golf courses - the Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa and the Chestnut Mountain Ski Resort; Home of Ulysses S. Grant; First Fridays showcasing local art (Galena Artists Guild)
What is Not Special about Galena
Cold in the winter; it is a small town often crowded by tourists
Who Will Like Retirement in Galena
Galena draws in retirees who are interested in living in a small and historic town; it is considered both a walkable and bikeable town; It also attracts many artists; The average age is 44.
Local Economy is Driven by
Tourism and high technology. The town is wi-fi enabled.
Climate and Physical Environment
Galena is located in the Driftless Zone: an area that was not covered by glaciers during the recent ice ages. This area in the far northwestern corner of Illinois is a rare part of the state that escaped glaciation. The area is noted for expanses of bare rock, as opposed to the deep soils in most of the rest of the state.
January's average temperature is just 19 degrees, July's average is 72 degrees. The annual snowfall average is about 34 inches.
Restaurants & Cultural Scene
Galena has more than a dozen museums and historic sites. Some of these include The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design, the Chicago Great Western Railway Depot Museum, and the Galena History Museum. There are art schools, sculpture parks, nightly entertainment and performing art groups, Galena's art galleries are an important source of local culture. Theatre groups include the Galena Trolley Depot Theatre, Main Street Players Theatre Co. The Diamond Jo Casino is in nearby Dubuque (IA). There are 25 restaurants to choose from.
The crime rate here is very low.
The Galena-Stauss Hospital & Healthcare Center (GSHHC) is a 25-bed critical access hospital with a 57-bed skilled nursing facility, a 24-apartment assisted living center, an adult day care center, and a physical therapy and fitness center. The Galena-Stauss Nursing Care Facility is a 57-bed, long-term skilled nursing home. There is an assisted- living facility with 12 apartments and adult daycare
There are two airports: the Dubuque Regional Airport services commercial airline traffic; Rockford's Northwest Chicagoland Regional Airport provides service to domestic locations. The nearest International airport, in Chicago, is about 150 miles away.
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