On August 18, 1865, Galena celebrated the return of its Civil War hero General Ulysses S. Grant. Following a jubilant procession with much flag waving and speeches, a group of Galena citizens presented the General with a handsome furnished house on Bouthillier Street. The house is managed by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency as the U.S. Grant Home State Historic Site.
The Grant Home
The brick house, which was designed by William Dennison, had been constructed in 1860 for former City Clerk Alexander J. Jackson. Thomas B. Hughlett, on behalf of only a small group of local Republicans, purchased the house for $2,500 in June 1865 and presented it to Grant two months later. The house is typical of the Italianate style, which is characterized by well defined rectilinear shapes, projecting eaves supported by brackets, low pitched roof, and balustraded balconies over covered porches.
Following his election as president in 1868 he visited only occasionally. In 1873 Grant commented that "although it is probable I will never live much time among you, but in the future be only a visitor as I am at present, . . . I hope to retain my residence here . . . I expect to cast my vote here always." The house was maintained by caretakers in anticipation of the President's visits, the local newspaper reporting that it was "in excellent order and ready for occupation at any time," adding that "visitors are always admitted."
Grant made his final visits to his Galena home in 1880. At that time he found that several changes had been made - "a new sidewalk laid in front of the premises, the outbuildings repaired, the trees handsomely trimmed, a new and commodious wash house built and other improvements made."