Galena Postcards


In 2000, Dick and Norma Wolfson, owners at that time of the Galena Antique Center, published a calendar using old postcards featuring Galena, Maryland, street scenes.  The postcards depicted Galena from about 1890 to 1910.  Following are the scenes from the calendar by month along with the town as it exists today. (January was a photo of a farm lane and fields that can’t be identified).

Several events changed the landscape of Galena. There was a fire in town center in the 1890‘s taking many structures including the old Penington Inn. (George Washington slept here when the town was known as Downs’ Crossroads).  The intersection of Main and Cross Street was widened  in the 1950s and several old buildings at the corner were torn down.

Following are pictures from an earlier era and current day Galena (Spring 2012 and Winter of 2013).

From “Cooking in the Chesapeake”, Galena Fire Company, 1967 Page 145:

William Downs purchased one acre of ground at the crossroads of what is now Galena [and built a tavern in 1763].  At that time the place became identified as Downs’ Crossroads. It was, in fact, the only building on what is now the site of Galena.  In 1792 the name of Downs’ Inn became the Farmers’ Inn but the crossroads remained until 1803 when it was named Georgetown Crossroads.  And in 1848 the inn became Pennington’s Hotel.  In 1932 Frank Ruth recorded the structure of the inn in a pen and ink drawing.  A reproduction of his original drawing appears on the back cover of this book.

Downs’ Tavern was not just an ordinary inn.  Downs’ Crossroads then, just as Galena today, was in the direct line of traffic by the road that led in the old days from Rock Hall through Kent and Cecil counties to the Delaware River, and then by boat to Philadelphia.  When Washington wanted to go to Philadelphia in the days of his residence at Mount Vernon, he went first to Annapolis, then crossed the bay in a packet to Rock Hall, and thence to Galena, known to him, of course, only as Downs Tavern.  [George Washington stopped at the inn in 1774 en route to and from the first Continental Congress. He traveled this road on his eight visits to Kent County.  A Maryland Historical Marker stands at the corner across from the site of the inn.  See the 1877 map of Galena at the end of the slides].   Tragically, the old inn was burned to the ground in 1893 along with twenty other buildings and never restored.

Downs’ Inn circa 1890.

Sketch by Frank Ruth in 1932