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ABBEY’S HIGH ST. BED & BREAKFAST, FINEST in GALENA, IL

Enjoy ultimate comfort in this Award Winning 1850’s Greek revival Mansion. Beautiful English gardens surround gazebo where President Grant and friend, former owner Dr. E.D. Kittoe (famous Civil War surgeon) enjoyed same panoramic view of Galena’s steeples & countryside. Located in center of quite historic district, just 3 blocks to down town’s shops, restaurants, & Main Street night life.

5 charming guest rooms, queen canopy beds, finest linens, chocolates on pillow, fireplaces, jacuzzi tubs for two with view!

Guests enjoy the finest antique décor with modern amenities. Many complimentary extra’s including delicious homemade full breakfast, double parlor with 24/7 beverage bar, satellite TV, DVD, WIFI & A/C throughout, off street parking & more! Perfect for a romantic or relaxing getaway. Gift certificates.

Where the Past Lives on… & Pampering is Present!

 Meet Your Hosts

Tom & Kathleen Meyer Owners and Hosts

Cultivating a dream

By Rory Holscher
(The Gazette, Galena, Illinois, April 16, 2003, Page 3A)

Tom and Kathleen Meyer say their move to Galena was triggered by circumstance,
but it was also driven by personal dreams and a sense that this was the place to make those dreams a reality.

Living in Chicagoland the couple had stayed at some of Galena’s bed and breakfasts, and she’d walked around town with Carl Johnson’s book of historical photographs and picked out the houses, captivated by the combination of story and architecture. She had also thought about running a B&B of her own. Then in early 2001, the couple came to Galena to look for a historic home to buy and renovate. Kathleen was drawn immediately to the Kittoe house at 105 High St. It had been on the market for at least two years; the gutters were falling, a leaky roof had turned some of the Interior plaster into oatmeal, and much of the homes historical appeal lay buried under new walls and layers of wallpaper.

At first, Kathleen had to convince Tom that her vision was for real. “When we looked at the house for the first time, he ran out of here like it was haunted,” Kathleen said. “He said it was too much work.” But after a couple more looks, Tom was persuaded that the house had potential, and that the timing was right. At ages 45 and 48 Tom and Kathleen had just the combination of experience and energy the project required.

It took months of overtime work, they repaired the roof, rebuilt a staircase, took down a wall, stripped seven coats of wallpaper, and replaced windows and plaster. They had the house tuck pointed and added electricity to two rooms; they repainted and redecorated. The lot needed tons of work, too, but Dale Hillary, a neighbor and heavy equipment operator, came to the rescue.

Tom and Kathleen planted both a vegetable garden and a formal one; the latter modeled on historical photos of Dr. Kittoe’s English gardens. After returning from the Civil War, he tended these gardens for decades, never moving from his house on the hill. That kind of long-term tending is what Kathleen and Tom have done for the last 17 years. They are now approaching their 25th year of marriage and Kathleen added jokingly they “are still happy…most of the time.”

Tom Dining Room (Before)
Dining Room (After)

 

Kathleen scraping 7 coats of wallpaper off the wall (Before)

 

Skim coated walls, primed, added wood trim, painted, wallpapered then decorated (After)

 

Kathleen skim coating downstairs foyer staircase (Before)
Downstairs foyer staircase (After)

 

Upper staircase (Before)
Upper staircase (After)
Kathleen painting peak of house
Tom & Kathleen receiving Galena’s preservation award

For more photos see Gallery

History

This elegant pre-Civil War historic estate with Gardens was the residence of Dr. Edward Kittoe, physician and friend of Ulysses S. Grant, who lived two doors down.

It was constructed sometime between 1845 and 1850 and was first occupied by Alex Young. The original portion of the house was constructed of Galena Brick and may have been Federal Style in appearance. Sometime prior to the Civil War, the home was purchased by Dr. Edward D. Kittoe who enlarged the house with additions completed in 1861 and then again in 1870, upon his return from his duties as Surgeon of Volunteers in the Civil War. The exterior remains relatively unchanged since the late 1800s.

Dr. Edward Kittoe home and quality hill yesterday and today

Dr. Kittoe was recorded as a physician practicing on Main Street in Galena in the 1854 City of Galena Directory. In an 1860’s city directory he is listed as living in the home on the Hill and High Streets.

What was Dr. Kittoe like as a person? His obituary describes him as “a very modest man who shunned notoriety… No man living had a kinder or more sympathetic heart. He despised falsehood, hypocrisy and sham, and was incapable of a mean or despicable act…Few men have done as much good in their lives as he did.”

Dr. Kittoe

Appointed Regimental Surgeon of the 45th Illinois Infantry in August of 1861, Dr. Kittoe was promoted to Surgeon of the Volunteers in December of 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln. Placed on the personal staff of General Grant in 1863, he was breveted as Lieutenant Colonel Medical Inspector, United States Army by the close of the war. (Galena National Register Historic District)

Dr. Kittoe is not one of Galena’s Civil War generals, but his importance to the war effort was greater than that of many of his celebrated neighbors. After serving on U.S. Grant’s personal staff, he accompanied Sherman on his March to Atlanta as Medical Director of the Army of the Tennessee (See Photo: Kittoe on left of cannon, Sherman on right). It was Kittoe who worked to institute more sanitary conditions and better medical procedures during the war. His efforts probably saved thousands of lives, and he continued to care for Civil War veterans long after the end of the war. (Galena’s Civil War Generals )

Dr. Kittoe with Civil War Generals, Dr. Kittoe on right

Dr. Kittoe was one of General U.S. Grant’s closest friends in Galena. Before the Civil War, both families lived up on the west side where the Grant Family rented a house on High Street. Dr. Kittoe is mentioned many times in published letters written by General Grant. President and Mrs. Grant would have visited the Kittoe’s in their home at 105 S. High Street when they came to Galena after the war. Gen. John Rawlins, General William Rowley, and Dr. Kittoe were very close friends while living in Galena after returning home.

Dr. Kittoe on the Left and General Sherman on right during Civil War

In 1875, while in the White House, President Grant wrote the following letter to General R.C. Schrenck, who at the time was Minister to England.

“Let me introduce you to an old friend of mine, Dr. Kittoe of Galena, Il. and his daughter, who visit Europe for a time. The Dr. served as surgeon during the rebellion and was Medical Director on my staff during the latter portion of my service in the west. He is a gentleman Galena people esteem very highly and I’m sure you will be pleased with him also.

Yours truly,

U.S. GRANT”

Grant with article

When Dr. Kittoe died in September of 1887, his funeral procession was reported as one of the largest ever seen in Galena. After the service at the Grace Episcopal Church, of which he had been a member for over 30 years, he was buried in Greenwood Cemetery.

The current owners of the Dr. E.D. Kittoe house, Tom and Kathleen Meyer, have lovingly restored most of the home’s 21 rooms, creating a fine B&B with special charm. Kathleen, who previously owned a successful antique shop, has tastefully decorated the home with fine antiques, including Limoges, Flow Blue china and furniture dating back to 1781. (37th Annual June Tour of Galena Homes)

(Marsh, Diann “A Garden for Dr. Kittoe.” Miners’ Journal [Galena] Fall 2005 Published Quarterly by The Galena /Jo Daviess County Historical Society)