123 North Commerce Street
Galena, IL 61036
Year-round, Mo-Su 9-5 p.m.
The Old Market House, erected by the city of Galena in 1845-1846, served for sixty-five years as the city market during the decades of Galena’s greatest prosperity as a river port, lead-mining center, and commercial hub. Many towns erected market buildings in the pre-Civil War era, but few remain today. The Old Market House also served as the seat of Galena government and for years had two jail cells. The building was almost completely reconstructed in 1954-1955 and in 1973 was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The Old Market House is a handsome Greek Revival building composed of a two-story brick central section topped with a frame cupola. One-story frame wings, projecting from the north and south, include covered porticoes. The central section’s first floor consists of an entry hall with staircases to the basement and second floor, and a large room providing exhibit and meeting space. The wings hold temporary local history exhibits and provide meeting space for community groups. The second floor contains the former city council chamber and city surveyor’s office.
Located south of the Old Market is an information center staffed by the Galena-Jo Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The large lobby contains a visitor services information desk and exhibits provided by the Galena-Jo Daviess County Historical Society. The building also contains accessible to persons with disabilities public restrooms.
Visitors can view exhibits on the first floor of the Old Market House. Site interpreters describe aspects of the building’s history and architecture. The first floor is accessible to persons with disabilities; the second floor and basement are not. The grounds are used frequently for community events.
The Old Market House hosts or co-hosts numerous special events, including the Boy Scouts of America “U. S. Grant Pilgrimage” in April, “Farmers Market” weekends May-August), and “Old Market Days” in June.