• The town is named for galena, an ore of lead, lead sulfide. The Native Americans in the United StatesNative Americans mined the ore here, at least for use as body paint. The French peopleFrench mined lead here as early as 1690. Americans were working the mines prior to 1818. Because of the lead deposits, Galena was settled early on by Americans, even though its location, in the far northwest corner of the state, was remote from the early settlers, who generally came from the southeast. But in the 1840s, at the height of Galena's prosperity, the town's population was larger than Chicago's. As the use of lead declined, so did Galena's fortunes. But the beautiful architecture of the city remained, and much has been preserved for today's generations to enjoy. In 1937, the Galena River (Illinois)Galena River flooded, innundating Main Street with up to five feet of water. In 1951, the city was finally protected by a dike (construction)dike and floodgates. Source:

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