Galien History

The founder of Galien, George A. Blakeslee, was born in 1826 and was a native of New York. George moved with his father to Wisconsin, married Miss Lydia Alcott and then moved to Batavia Illinois where he invested in a stock company for manufacturing cars. George sold this stock for 300 acres of land and a saw mill in Galien in 1853. By 1854, George built a general store and was appointed postmaster by Franklin Pierce. George held this position until 1888. George also was elected Village President, Justice of the Peace, and member of the Board of Education. George also was responsible for laying out the plat of the Village. The little Village of Galien soon began to grow with an addition of a private school, steam mill, lumber and manufacturing businesses. Later, George was appointed the World Bishop of the Latter Day Saints’ Church. George passed away peacefully at the age of 64 years and 22 days. He had two sons, six daughters, and eight grandchildren.

Several fires destroyed the Village of Galien throughout its history.

The fire of 1873: 63 Buildings on the 1873 Plat map on the North side of the Railroad tracks and 15 Buildings South of the Railroad tracks, were all destroyed.

May 26, 1895: The fire destroyed 2/3 of the business portion of the Village.

October 8, 1901: Fire destroyed 5 businesses on the West Side of the Main Street and North of the Railroad tracks.

July 21, 1971: Fire swept through downtown. Assistance to put out the fire came from 12 Fire Departments and 125 Fire Fighters and smoke from the fire was seen from 10 miles away.

*In 1871 there were 300 people living in Galien.

*In 1894 the price for a dozen of eggs was 16 1/2 cents, wheat was 65 cents per bushel, hogs were $4.30 per a hundred, and a railroad sleeper car ticket to California cost $6.00! :-0

Galien was officially incorporated in 1879 and had a total of 500 residents. The Village of Galien has evolved over the years and today encourages business growth within the Village limits. Several businesses can be found within the Industrial Park, along US-12 Highway, and along the Main Street of the Village. The Village of Galien takes pride in its Community, rich heritage, and community spirit.