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U.S. Grant Pilgrimage Event History

1955

The first Ulysses S. Grant Boy Scout Pilgrimage was a weeklong celebration starting on Saturday, April 23, founded by Virginia Carroll and Ruth Turner. Some of the events were visits to all of the Grant Sites, an open house and tea at the Galena Library and the opening of the GAR Post on the second floor of the Post Office. There were 444 boy scouts from 37 different troops and three states in attendance.

1956

The 2nd pilgrimage was from April 28 through May 5. One of the highlights was the unveiling of a plaque dedicating US Route 20, which runs through Galena as the U.S. Grant Highway. There were 485 boy scouts in attendance.

1957

This pilgrimage was a weeklong celebration. Governor William G. Stratton re-dedicated the U.S. Grant Home as a state historic site after a major restoration and Marie Duerrstein’s General Store Museum opened on Main Street. This collection is still on display and located next to the U.S. Grant Home State Historic Site. There were 608 scouts registered at this pilgrimage.

1958

Another week of celebration took place for this 4th annual U.S. Grant Pilgrimage. There were 835 scouts in attendance.

1959

730 boy scouts registered for the 5th annual U.S. Grant Pilgrimage. This pilgrimage was also a weeklong celebration.

1960

The unveiling of a plaque and a dedication ceremony for the DeSoto House Hotel located at 230 South Main Street took place during this pilgrimage. The theme of the pilgrimage was “Grant Marches To Washington.” There were 1,702 boy scouts in attendance from 93 units and four different states.

1961

President Ulysses Grant’s grandson, Ulysses S. Grant III was the keynote speaker at the 7th annual U.S. Grant Pilgrimage. Several pieces of newly acquired jewelry that belonged to President Grant’s daughter Ellen “Nellie” Grant was displayed for the first time at this pilgrimage. This jewelry is currently on display in the Old Market House as part of the U.S. Grant Exhibit. There were over 300 scouts in attendance for this pilgrimage and the theme was “Civil War Centennial.”

1962

There were 2,027 scouts in Galena for the 8th annual U.S. Grant Pilgrimage. They came from 5 different states and the troop that traveled the farthest was from Detroit, Michigan. The scouts celebrated “The Singing Sixties” at this pilgrimage.

1963

The 9th annual U.S. Grant Pilgrimage was a success also with 3,300 scouts in attendance. This pilgrimage commemorated “Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.” The troop that traveled the farthest was from O’Fallon, Illinois.

1964

This was the 10th year for the U.S. Grant Boy Scout Pilgrimage and the most successful so far. The scouts celebrated the “Civil War Centennial” with and emphasis on steam boating. There were over 3,500 scouts in Galena. The troop that traveled the farthest was again from O’Fallon, Illinois.

1965

This pilgrimage was postponed for two weeks due to flood conditions in Galena. It was held from May 7 through May 9 and it rained all weekend. “Peace In Union” was the theme for the pilgrimage. Scouts totaling over 3,500 from four different states were in attendance. Troop #120 from Fosterburg, Illinois traveled the farthest.

1966

It was cloudy and rained on this pilgrimage weekend also. The bright spot of the weekend was a telegram sent from President Grant’s grandson Ulysses Grant III saying, “I do not think it will be many years before the pilgrimage populace is more than that of the city itself.” His prediction was correct; there were over 5,800 scouts registered for the weekend. There were 207 units from four different states and the farthest traveled troop was #120 from Fosterburg, Illinois. The Old Market House was honored at the pilgrimage this year.

1967

The 13th annual Grant Pilgrimage theme was based on our railroad history. The number of registered scouts was 5,359 from 249 troops and four states. Troop #32 from Portage, Indiana came from the farthest distance.

1968

This pilgrimage was titled “Illinois Sesquicentennial”. There were 7,213 scouts in Galena for the weekend.

1969

For the first time in U.S. Grant Pilgrimage history, rain interfered with the parade and other activities. The Old Market House was honored at this pilgrimage. The total number of scouts was 7,700.

1970

Boy scouts from six states and totaling 9,126 came to Galena for the pilgrimage. The scouts honored the Galena Volunteer Fire Department this year.

1971

The boy scouts celebrated the history of lead mining for the 17th annual pilgrimage. There were 9,186 scouts in attendance from eight states. The troop that traveled the farthest was #118 from Millvale, Pennsylvania.

1972

The 18th annual U.S. Grant Pilgrimage was the largest so far. There were over 11,000 scouts in Galena. The special celebration was President U.S. Grant’s 150th birthday.

1973

The theme of this pilgrimage was “The Fathers Of Waters.” It celebrated the 300th anniversary of Marquette & Joliet and the exploration of the Mississippi River. There were over 9,000 scouts in town and the farthest traveled troop was from Flint, Michigan.

1974

This pilgrimage was the commemoration of the Indian Tribes that once lived in the area. Over 8,800 scouts registered for the weekend from seven states.

1975

The theme this year was “U.S. Grant & The Galena Generals.” This was the largest pilgrimage in Galena’s history with over 12,000 boy scouts in attendance.

1976

This pilgrimage brought lots of rain, but the festivities still took place. The celebration was “America’s Bicentennial” and about 9,500 scouts registered. The farthest traveled troop was from Flint, Michigan.

1977

Once again it rained for another pilgrimage. The theme for the weekend was “Honoring Galena’s Religious Heritage.” 4,819 scouts registered for the weekend and the troop that traveled the farthest was from Akron, Ohio.

1978

The scouts celebrated “Railroading In Galena” for the 24th annual pilgrimage. There were over 6,500 scouts in Galena from nine states. The farthest traveled troop was from Gruver, Texas.

1979

There were over 6,000 scouts in Galena for the U.S. Grant Pilgrimage. The theme was “Saluting America’s Armed Forces.”

1980

The scouts honored “Galena’s Agriculture” for this pilgrimage. 4,508 scouts attended and the farthest traveled troop was #124 from Newberry, Michigan.

1981

“Discover Conservation” was the theme for the 27th annual U.S. Grant Pilgrimage. Out of the 5,035 scouts that came to Galena troop #8 from Salem, West Virginia traveled the farthest.

1982

Troop #94 from Venago, Nebraska traveled the farthest for this pilgrimage. There were over 7,500 scouts in Galena and the theme was “A Hike Into The Past.”

1983

This year there was a big jump in the attendance. There were almost 10,000 scouts to celebrate “Flying High With Scouting.”

1984

Almost 7,000 scouts came to Galena for the pilgrimage. The theme was “Fire Up With Safety.”

1985

This was an important year for boy scouts. It marked the 75th anniversary of scouting. The pilgrimage celebrated that by having the theme “75 Year Of Scouting” and over 8,300 scouts were in attendance. The farthest troop was from Connecticut.

1986

For the 32nd annual U.S. Grant Pilgrimage the scouts honored “Black Hawk & The Galena Rendezvous.” There were about 8,000 scouts in Galena for the weekend.

1987

The theme was “March With Grant” and there were 7,834 scouts registered to attend.

1988

The scouts honored Galena’s lead mining with the theme “Get The Lead Out.” Almost 8,000 boy scouts attended.

1989

The theme of this pilgrimage was “Around The World With Grant” and 8,100 scouts registered.

1990

Almost 7,900 scouts came to Galena for this U.S. Grant Pilgrimage. The theme was “Grant’s Triumphant Return.”

1991

“On The River” was the theme for this U.S. Grant Pilgrimage. There were 6,142 scouts in attendance.

1992

There were about 6,000 scouts in Galena to celebrate the “Galena-Washington Connection.”

1993

The theme for this pilgrimage was “Galena’s Heritage.” Events for the scouts included canoe races, a trial hike, patch trading and Indian dancing.

1994

The 40th annual pilgrimage theme was “Gangway Galena.” In order to attend this pilgrimage, each scout had to write an essay on one of the nine generals from Galena. There were over 5,000 boy scouts in attendance.

1995

“Frontier Faith” was the theme this year and there were over 7,000 scouts from eight states in Galena for the weekend.

1996

Over 6,000 scouts attended this pilgrimage. The theme was “Galena Salutes The Olympics.”

1997

This was the 175th anniversary of Ulysses Grant’s birthday. The theme was “Happy Birthday General” and 5,525 scouts were in attendance. The troop that traveled the farthest was from Escanaba, Michigan.

1998

President Grant’s great-great grandson Ulysses Grant Dietz and great-great-great grandson Andrew Sellgren were in Galena for the 44th annual U.S. Grant Pilgrimage. The theme was “Leadmine Regiment.”

1999

Over 5,600 scouts were in Galena for the pilgrimage. The theme was “A Salute To Veterans.”

2000

“Leading Into The 21st Century” was the theme this year. There were over 6,300 scouts in attendance.

2001

The scouts celebrated “Galena’s Ethnic Heritage” at this pilgrimage. Over 5,200 scouts were in Galena for the weekend.

2002

For the 48th annual U.S. Grant Boy Scout Pilgrimage it was rainy and cold. That didn’t stop the scouts. Over 5,500 stayed in Galena over the weekend and the theme was “Scouts Support Law Enforcement.”

2003

The 49th annual U.S. Grant Pilgrimage celebrated the California Gold Rush. The theme for the weekend was “Galena’s 49’ers.” There were over 5,000 scouts in attendance.

2004

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Grant Boy Scout Pilgrimage. The theme is “The Grant Family’s Gift To Galena.” This is a celebration of the Grant children giving their family home on Bouthillier Street to the city 100 years ago. The purpose was to keep the home open for public tours.