Galena River (Illinois)

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Galena River
File:Galena Il Galena River1.JPG
The Galena River flowing through downtown Galena, Illinois in April 2008. Note the city floodgates in center connecting to the river levee system on the right
Other name Rivière aux Fèves
Origin Lafayette County northwest of Belmont, Wisconsin
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Mouth Confluence with the Mississippi southwest of Galena, Illinois
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Progression Galena River → Mississippi → Gulf of Mexico
Length 52 mi (84 km)
Source elevation 1,153 ft (351 m)
Mouth elevation 591 ft (180 m)
GNIS ID 426934

The Galena River, also known as the Fevre or Fever River,[1] is a 52.4-mile-long (84.3 km)[2] river which flows through the Midwestern United States.


The river rises in Lafayette County, Wisconsin, south of Benton and southwest of Shullsburg. It enters Illinois in Jo Daviess County to flow through the city of Galena before it joins the upper Mississippi River a few miles south and west. The river is part of the Driftless Area of Illinois and Wisconsin. This region was ice-free during the Wisconsin glaciation and underwent hundreds of thousands of years of glacial-free erosion. The river also occupies a substantial canyon.


The river was originally known as "Rivière aux Fèves" and "Bean River" due to the large amounts of wild beans that grew along its banks.[3] Following English language code-switching of the French river name "Rivière aux Fèves", the river name was corrupted and was eventually referred to as "Fever River".[3][4]

Winnebago War

The Winnebago War of 1827, also known as the "Fevre River War", is associated with this river.

See also


  • Jim Post's historical song "Oh, Galena" opens with the line "My papa is a slave on the Fever River" and depicts a boy yearning for life in the riverboat town of Galena.[4]


  1. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Galena River
  2. U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed May 13, 2011
  3. 3.0 3.1 Wis. Historical Collections XV: 343
  4. Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 125.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links