The Galena Territory Foundation

The Galena Territory Foundation, Inc. (GTF) is a not-for-profit charitable organization that provides education-based and fundraising activities for the benefit of the local community. Organized by property owners within The Galena Territory in August of 2000, the Foundation is focused on three primary initiatives: the restoration and preservation of Belden School, a one-room schoohouse built in 1859 located within The Territory; the Lend A Hand college scholarship program for local area students; and the Richard Peterson EMT Endowment Fund that provides financial assistance to people who wish to pursue certification as emergency service personnel or advance their EMT service level.

Belden School Preservation

Belden School: A Small School That Taught Large Lessons
Belden School was built in 1859. The school was placed near the center of Guilford Township, Illinois, and named after Thomas Belden, an early settler and a school trustee. It was the third one-room schoolhouse to be built in Guilford Township. The stone structure is located off Heatherdowns Lane in The Galena Territory on a thickly wooded hillside flanked by a steep gully on the downhill side. There was no electricity, no running water, and no bathrooms until 1880 when two outhouses were built at a cost of $17 each.

One teacher instructed all the students.  All grades were taught at the same time. Often the teacher was not much older than the students. The last classes were held in 1943 when consolidation of small districts occurred. 

Over the years the empty schoolhouse was sheltered by the woods and forgotten in time. The building remained untouched so today it is a snapshot in time, allowing visitors to see and feel its history. Volunteer efforts helped preserve the structure over the years, but time took its toll on the building.

The Belden School Restoration Committee was formed in 2004 by a group of Territory residents.  Active efforts, using funds contributed from many interested and generous people, resulted in the restoration of the building.  The committee showed resolve and perseverance in its commitment to complete the project depicting the school as it appeared in 1936. Today, Belden School is an arm of the Galena Territory Foundation, a 501(c)[3] tax exempt public charity.

On September 5, 2009, Belden School celebrated its Sesquicentennial and opened its doors to the general public. With the restoration complete, the committee changed its name to the Belden School Preservation Committee.

Volunteer docents provide FREE tours and special events at the school on the first and third Saturdays June through October from 10 a.m. until noon.

Local schools are encouraged to schedule visits and specific programs will be developed to share lessons of the past to help students understand that schools were not always as they are today.

Belden School website     Linda Niessner, Belden School Preservation Chair

Education and Scholarship

The “Lend a Hand” College Scholarship is for students who live in the school districts Galena, River Ridge, and Scales Mound. We would like to invite students in these districts to apply for a Galena Territory Foundation “Lend a Hand” College Scholarship. The homeowners of The Galena Territory Association have established this foundation and scholarship for the purpose of helping these students afford the cost of obtaining a college degree. As property owners in The Galena Territory, we are keenly interested in the opportunity to “Lend a Hand” through providing a limited number of scholarships to students who reside in these districts. We truly hope that the efforts of the Galena Territory Foundation will help add strength to the fabric of our community, and will enable the young people of our school districts to enjoy success in their educational growth after high school. The future of any community is based on the participation we can all offer by our willingness to “Lend a Hand”. Applications are available each year in January and due in March.

Our community is composed of people with a wide variety of interests and talents. The success of our community depends on this variety. Most students need some level of additional training in their chosen skill. The Galena Territory Foundation has established the Vocational/Technical Skills Education Scholarship program to include those high school students in the school districts included in The Galena Territory (Galena, River Ridge, and Scales Mound) who feel their future is best realized by seeking up to two years of vo/tech skills training after high school graduation. Our goal for this scholarship is to help some of these students realize this training. Applications are available each year in January and due in March.
The Galena Territory Foundation also encourages each student, whether or not s/he apply for this assistance, to remain committed to and involved in the community. This might be involvement in scouting, coaching, FFA, conservation, church, etc. The choice of how to help is secondary to the understanding of the need to help. The future of our community is based on the participation we can all offer.

The Richard Peterson EMT Endowment Fund

Our friend Rich Peterson was an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). He spent that part of his time helping people in distress and saving lives. We lost Rich after his valiant battle with cancer. His contributions to our community were many and he touched so many lives. 

The Galena Territory Foundation and the Peterson family established the Richard Peterson EMT Endowment Fund to provide financial assistance to people wish to pursue certification as Emergency Medical Services personnel or advance their EMT level. Scales Mound Fire Protection District and the Galena Area Emergency Medical Services District EMT Personnel are the first “layer” of response for the citizens in their district. They are often the first emergency personnel who walk through your door and arrive on the emergency scene. 

Galena Area EMS is the transport and treatment side of the equation. They arrive with the ambulance, render additional emergency treatment and transport to the hospital.

To encourage certification in EMT training and to help cover the costs, we have established this fund to assist individuals in the Scales Mound Fire Protection District and the Galena Area Emergency Medical Services District in pursuit of higher levels of education toward certification as EMT personnel in these Districts. 

Our mission is to encourage others like Richard Peterson to serve as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). The success of our EMS District community depends on increasing participation in EMS education toward certification in the Emergency Medical Responder, EMT-Basic, and EMT-Paramedic levels.

We encourage each applicant to remain committed to and involved in the community. The future of our community is based on the participation we can all offer. We wish you well in your future involvement in our community.