Learn about some (very) long-time residents you may meet
One of the best things about visiting an old town is that it’s probably chock full of history. And while you might be able to see artifacts in a museum, history really comes alive when you can immerse yourself in it. In Galena, visitors have the chance to explore numerous buildings that are hundreds of years old, and even walk where luminaries did, including Ulysses S. Grant and even Abraham Lincoln.
Another exciting aspect of a historical town is the stuff you probably won’t read on placards or find in pamphlets; the darker, supernatural elements under the surface. Now, not everybody believes in ghosts and spirits, but what we all can agree on is that there is a lot that goes on this world that can be pretty hard to explain.
Galena is certainly no stranger to the paranormal. After all, why would a town of only about 3,000 residents have four – yes, four – different ghost tours? Whether you want a guide or just to explore yourself, here’s what you may find lurking in the shadows of Galena:
The Lady in Black
The story of the Lady in Black dates back over a century. It is said that she haunts the third floor of the DeSoto House Hotel. Many guests – all staying in the same room – have said they felt somebody sitting on the edge of their bed, though no one was there. Employees say they’ve seen her walk down the stairs and disappear into a wall. This story gets even creepier when you learn what happened in 2011.
After flooding caused some damage in the lower level of the hotel, drywall was removed. Underneath, a brick wall with a doorway was discovered. It was the exact spot where the Lady in Black was seen disappearing into the wall.
Another spot that attracts ghost hunters and curious tourists is One Eleven Main. Not only is it one of the best restaurants in Galena, it could be one of the most haunted spots in town. For years, weird things have gone on there, and there have been a variety of supposed apparition sightings. Perhaps it comes as no surprise that the building once contained Illinois’ first mortuary.
Vinny Vanucchi’s is another stellar restaurant that may also be home to a ghost or two. There, employees have said they heard whispered names and felt someone tap their shoulder, though no one was nearby. People have also allegedly caught glimpses of a mist-like figure.
The Phantom of the theater
Dating back to 1875, Turner Hall was erected as a public building for the citizens of Galena. Rebuilt in the 1920s after a fire, it was transformed into a theater. Since then, there have been reports of set builders seeing the figure of an older man, and voices emanating from the balcony. Many think the ghost is Charles Scheerer, the business manager of Turner Hall and Galena’s mayor in 1910 when he died of a heart attack in the hall.
Ready to do your own ghost hunting?
If you’re looking to do something a little out of the ordinary on your next vacation, Galena’s ghost tours give you a great opportunity. Plus, if you bring a lot of people and some in your party would much rather drink a spirit than meet one, there are tons of other things to see and do (including several distilleries and breweries).
And when you let us put you up in one of our luxury cabins, we will have no problem accommodating your large group. If you know when you want to come to town, you can make your reservation now.