In 1869, a Galesville minister published a small booklet titled “The Garden of Eden,” inspired by the rolling hills and rocky cliffs, spring-fed streams, fertile fields, thick forests, and natural beauty of the Galesville area. Nature has indeed given abundantly of herself in this coulee region of the Mississippi Valley. With an apple in his hand and cape flying in the wind, Rev. Van Slyke welcomes visitors to Galesville. The newly installed statue, designed and created by resident artist Elmer Petersen, highlights Galesville’s motto, the “Garden of Eden”. Van Slyke, an itinerant circuit rider, wrote a persuasive theory placing Galesville at the absolute center of the biblical Garden of Eden. His 1886 booklet includes many geographical points describing the fertile valleys, lush hillsides, plentiful fruit trees and the abundance of fresh water. The preacher loved Galesville so dearly he chose his final resting place on the brow of the cliff overlooking the Garden of Eden. His tombstone is easily seen from Beaver Creek flowing below cemetery ridges.
The beautiful A. A. Arnold house was designed and built in 1874 by Alexander Arnold and Samuel Luce. The Farmstead is located behind Our Town IGA on Highway 53, North Main and Silver Creek Road. It is one of several buildings on the National Register of Historical Places in Galesville.
Tucked between beautiful Lake Marinuka and High Cliff, Galesville has sought to preserve the natural riches of the past.
In 1983, The Garden of Eden Preservation Society was formed to accomplish the task of restoring the A. A. Arnold Farmstead. The house features a three-story spiral staircase, with four windows overlooking the acreage, a rare ruby glass pane in the front door and furnishings of the 1920’s. The Farmstead is open to the public on Sundays, June 1 through the first Sunday in October, Galesville Founders Day Collegefrom 2-4 PM, other times by appointment. (608) 582-2626.
Another interesting place in Galesville is the Gale College Historic Site, which is located at 16563 South 12th Street. Founded in 1854 by Judge George Gale, the founder of Galesville. Currently, Old Main, Judge Gale’s gravesite, and some surrounding acreage, which is owned by the city, and leased to the Garden of Eden Preservation Society, Old Main is being developed in a Historical and Community Arts Center. Check this historic site out at www.oldmain.org or call (608) 582-4412.
Lake Marinuka is truly one of the most attractive features that Galesville has to offer. Acres of water offer the sportsman, boaters, and those who just like beautiful scenery a wonderful place to enjoy. The Lake was given it’s name from the legend of Princess Marie Nounko, who was the granddaughter of the
Great Chief Decorah. Princess Marie died in 1884 and Galesville Swinging Bridgeis buried at Arctic Springs, which is located at the north end of the lake. With Beaver Creek flowing through the lake and spilling over the dam, it creates a perfect environment for many types of fish, such as bass, sunfish and crappies. During the winter months, Lake Marinuka is a popular spot for ice fishing. An ice skating rink, complete with warming house and lights for evening skating is another attraction the lake holds during these cold months.
Listed in the Register of Historic Places is the unique one-hundred year old bowstring bridge. You will want to stroll down the charming walkway through the picturesque McGilvray bottoms to the bridge. Whether you are a casual visitor or a vacationer, fisherman, hunter, passerby or potential resident, Galesville welcomes you with confidence that stay will be a pleasant one.
Other activities to enjoy while visiting Galesville are:
- Galesville Apple Affair (1st Saturday in October)
- Old-Fashioned 4th of July Celebration
- Historic Eastside Farm
- High Cliff Park
- Old Main (Gale College)
- Light-Up Galesville
- Phoneco, Galesville