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The speaker is a 52-year-old White man with a grade school education from Galena, Illinois; he was recorded in 1967.

County: Jo Daviess
State: IL

The history of Galena, in the far northwestern corner of Illinois, dates well back into the 1700's, earlier than most of the towns in the region. This was due to the abundant supply of lead and the town's location on the Galena River and proximity to the Mississippi River. By the mid-1800's Galena was a leading lead supplier and a major trading and shipping center. Galena was built with stone and brick, had a newspaper, a library, schools, and churches. It was a prosperous town. But the completion of the railroad in 1855 made waterways less important, and the Galena River silted in. The lead in surface veins played out and Galena went into decline. The speaker's hobby is restoring and operating old printing presses, reflecting the earlier history of the area. 01:47-03:40
Inf: Well, the Prouty printing press that we have here was first used down at Pearl City, and they used it till they thought it wasn't of any value anymore. Then it was sold to the junk yard at Lena. And Mr. _____ discovered it there and he brought it here to Galena. And um, we cleaned it up here in the museum. First, it had to be uh, soaked with the kerosene to loosen up the rust. And then we sandpapered it. And we got all the rust off everything. And the rolls, they were rebuilt down in Chicago. . . .The wood type that was used in this press was first cut out by hand with a little handsaw, and later they got the jigsaw, and was cut out on that, the letters. After letters were cut out, they were glued to these blocks. And then the blocks were put in uh, or the letters put in the frame with Prouty Press. And then that was clamped in the press.

FW: How long did that all take, do you think?

Inf: Well, it depends on if you was uhm, printing uh hand bills or small bills, it wouldn't take any more than about an hour. The newspaper would probably take um, about all day.

FW: And how much did the old papers cost? Do you know?

Inf: They -- the daily paper cost about fourteen dollar a year back about a hundred years ago.

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