It seems like the weekend pattern at the house lately was to sit around and do nothing on the weekends. Perhaps it was the grind of the week before, the weather, or just pure laziness. We decided that enough was enough and got out over the weekend to do something, anything. So, we got out of the house for a bit both days!
Saturday wasn’t too exciting. We drove over to Janesville and wandered around the mall for a bit before getting some dinner. Still, it was nice to be out of the house and it gave us time to keep listening to The Girl on the Train. We had started listening to that on the way back from East Lansing last month, and anytime we’ve been in the car together for any length of time, we’ve put it back on.
Sunday started with breakfast in town and a spur of the moment decision to take a little road trip. It was a warm day, and it would have been a waste to spend it sitting around at home. Plus, it gave us more book on tape time.
I have been doing some reading on Wisconsin history, and the southwest portion of the state was settled in many cases by people coming west to mine for the lead that was discovered there. Through the 1820s and 1830s, the area boomed as miners came into towns to make their fortune. One locality that tried to capitalize on that was nearby Galena, Illinois. Galena served as a jumping off point for the mined lead to be shipped off to St. Louis and points beyond.
So, Galena was the destination! It was an easy drive with some beautiful scenery, especially as we came into the “driftless” region. The driftless region is an area where the glaciers failed to reach during the last Ice Age, and as a result, the land is very hilly. It made for a very scenic drive.
Galena is a town of about 3000 people built into bluffs overlooking the Galena River. The river empties into the Mississippi River about 3 miles away. As time progressed and technology improved, the river boats that hauled the lead away disappeared as did the lead. As a result, Galena quickly became a railroad stop rather than a bustling commerical center.
Today, it retains much of its 19th Century charm with a Main Street of buildings dating back to that time period. The picture above is a shot of Main Street. Galena is also known for being home to U.S. Grant prior to his rise to fame as a Union General and later President of the United States. There is a great museum highlighting Grant as well as other local history just a block off of Main Street.
So, it was a beautiful day to be out, and we were able to explore somewhere that we hadn’t been before. I’d say that was the makings of a great day. Today, it’s back to the grind, but who knows where we’ll go next.
Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll catch you next time.