Monday, April 16, 2012

Pearl Rush: Galena's craze of 1889

Sorry for the delay in posts...I have been busy with school work.

While working in the Southwest Wisconsin Room I came across the Wisconsin magazine of History Spring 2012 edition.  In this magazine I saw a article from a newspaper regarding Galena and people looking for pearls in our town in 1889 during the "Pearl Rush".  Here is what it says "Galena, Ill, Aug. 20- The craze for pearl hunting has reached this section and bid fair to be as general as it has been in Southern Wisconsin during the past ten days or more.  At the present time investigations are confined to the smaller tributaries of the Galena River, which abound in the shells in which gems are found, and many farmers and their families, excited by the stories of suddenly acquired wealth, have left their fields and are industriously searching for pearls, not a few being rewarded by really vulnerable discoveries.  Galena river, which is really low, is said to be a prolific field for pearl hunters, and a large party are arranging to in invade that stream a few miles above the city.  News reached here to the effect that at Darlington and vicinity the total value of pearls found will aggregate $10,000".  This pearl rush took Wisconsin by storm in 1889 and many people flocked these small streams to try to hit the jackpot.  Throughout southern Wisconsin the pearl rush allowed many to cash in big. This affected Milwaukee as well where the Sentinel reported on July 18, 1890 that in the Albany vicinity totals reached $300,000, almost $7,000,000 today!

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