The Galena Post Office was initiated by Congressman Washburne and appropriated for by Congress on August 18, 1856, after Galena outgrew its original main street store which was established in 1826. Construction on the Post Office/Customs House began in 1857 with the best quality granite was shipped up the Mississippi from Nauvoo. The footings and foundation were laid in the fall and pig lead approximately the weight of the completed building was placed on the foundation and left until the following spring when construction began. The Weekly Northwestern Gazette of August 9, 1859 said "the building is so substantial it will last 1,000 years with only two forces capable of destroying it, one being an earthquake and the other a mob."
The Post Office has been used for many functions during its 152 year history. In 1859, the second floor, which housed the Customs House, was used for many social gatherings including a party thrown for a soldier on November 16, 1861. Also, the second floor was used as the Public Library until the present-day building was built in 1902.
Galena was the nation's first Post Office to be designated by the Smithsonian as "A Great American Post Office". Today it is the oldest continually owned and operated Post Office in America.
Spotted in downtown Galena on October 14, 2018.
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