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Dowling House, Galena

#2 of 6 in Historic Sites in Galena
Historic Site · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
The Dowling House is the oldest building in Galena, Illinois, United States, now a historic house museum.
John Dowling arrived in Galena with his son Nicholas in 1826. The limestone house was built in 1826-27 in the single-pen style. The first floor was used as a trading post while the Dowlings lived upstairs. Dowling was an important early resident of Galena. He served on the 1834 fire committee and was elected to the 1838 town board of trustees. He also sold the county a plot of land for its first court house. Nicholas was elected alderman in 1841, serving until his election as mayor in 1843. Though he resigned after only a few months, he was again elected to the office in 1851, serving for two years.
The building sat abandoned for several decades, It was rehabilitated by William McCauley in the 1960s. In the 1970s, the building was opened to the public. Thirty minute tours of the building, furnished with period supplies and furnishings, are now offered from May to November. It was recognized as a contributing property to the Galena Historic District on October 18, 1969.
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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
201 reviews
  • great stories and a fun tour! Learned so much about the town and the house as well as the Dowling family  more »
  • Lots of history here and the building is historical. The guide we had was very knowledgeable about everything in the house and pointed things out quite often with lots to say about it. A great place.....  more »
  • Great, informative guide/host. Interesting site/area history. Truly marketing genius to package an old lead-mining/smelting backwater town into a pleasant tourist destination.
  • It's the oldest home in Galena and it's so well restored and preserved. I found the tour guide enjoyable

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