DeSoto House Hotel — Galena, Illinois

The DeSoto House Hotel is the oldest operating hotel in Illinois. We stopped in during the afternoon when we were wandering about town and wandered a bit. In the evening, we were looking for somewhere to eat supper. My wife noticed that it said “sandwiches” on the sign for the Green Street Tavern inside the hotel. We went back in and were glad we did. The room we were in was elegant, and the food was very good. We shared a bowl of blue cheese soup and an order of stuffed mushrooms in addition to my cheeseburger and my wife’s chicken wrap. The prices weren’t bad either.

After we ate, we walked around the hotel and looked at displays on its history. Famous people who have visited include Charles Sumner, Dorthea Dix, Tom Thumb, Robert G. Ingersoll, Stephen Douglas, William Jennings Bryan, Franz Sigel, George B. McClellan, John A. Logan, John Otherday, Thomas Francis Meager, Benjamin Prentiss and Jenny Lind — and us. In 1856, Abraham Lincoln gave a speech for Fremont from the front balcony, and Grant used it as his campaign headquarters.

I saw a small room with a video and asked the guy at the desk if we could watch it. He unlocked the door and started the video for us. We sat alone on the fancy couch and watched the history of the hotel. The evening may have been the highlight of our three days in Galena.

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