A total of 85 percent of Galena buildings are enlisted in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Imagine this set inside the scenic beauty of the surrounding hills and valleys which provide a perfect backdrop untouched by time. One of the most scenic areas in the Midwest, Galena is a popular well-known tourist destination remembered for its history, historical architecture, skiing and golf resorts. Originally inhabited by Sac and Fox Native Americans, the French came in here earlier than the American settlers who started arriving in the early 19th century. The Upper Mississippi Lead Mine District was established by the U.S. Congress in early 1800s paving way for an industrial boom still echoing within the City of Galena. After a sharp decline in demand for lead in the mid-19th century, the Galena lead mining industry eventually gave way to the California Gold Rush. Historical Galena has been home to nine American Civil War Generals, including Ulysses S. Grant who went on to become the 18th President of the United States of America.
Later, Galena remained a dormant small rural farming community until the 1980s when Mayor Frank Einsweiler strongly endorsed a tourist campaign which changed and rekindled development in this region. New local industries like Kraft Foods cheese plant, Lefco Foundry, John Westwick's Foundry and Microswitch, Inc., came up in the 1990s. The Country Fair in Grant Park, a craft show which attracts thousands of visitors to the area, enabled this sleepy town carve out a change as a new tourist destination in the United States. Rated as one of the top ten ‘Charming Small Towns' in 2011, the 32nd Annual Halloween Parade held in 2010 earlier drew in a fantastic crowd of 15,000 visitors. Situated along the Galena River, which is one of the several tributaries of the Mississippi River, Galena is located in the Driftless Zone, which is an area that was not covered by the Glaciers during the recent ice ages.