Galena, Illinois/ USA
This grand Victorian was begun in 1858 and took a full two years to build. Arriving in the mid-1800’s from the state of Connecticut, Nelson Stillman opened an emporium on Main Street in Galena. Later, he acquired shipping interests on the nearby Mississippi River. He became involved in outfitting wagon trains headed west and was soon a wealthy man as a result. He spared no expense on the building of his home. The mansion has 6,700 square feet of living space, 7 guest rooms, 3 innkeepers rooms, a full basement, parlor, 12 bathrooms and 11 fireplaces. Newspaper stories of the period tell us that Ulysses S. Grant spent a lot of time there with the Stillmans and that as many as five of his generals often sat around the grand table in the dining hall.
After Nelson’s death, his wife moved to Chicago to be near her relatives. A succession of tenants came and went until the early 1900’s after which the home stood empty for years. Then, in the 1930’s, it became the Brownell Nursing Home. In 1948 it was purchased by another owner, Mrs. Harry Cox, and re-named Sunnyhil. The second nursing home lasted up through 1968.
In 1972 the Jensen family purchased the home. Mr. Jensen was a Chicago Industrial Engineer and over the next 12 years the family set about to restore and stabilize the mansion to include the addition of steel beams throughout. The building was then used as a Medieval Banquet hall.
When taken over by the Lozeau family the property operated at peak performance with the addition of a 50’s bar. After being sold on contract the property soon fell into disrepair.
In May of 2000, the Andersons purchased the building and they upgraded all the guest rooms to include TV’s, hair dryers, robes, mini fridges with complimentary beverages, new bedding, curtains, etc. Today the Stillman Mansion is among Galena’s many bed and breakfast inns ~ and among the most popular as well.,
(Photo has been aged and texturized in CS-2)