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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 schoolhouse built in 1859 located within The Territory;
  • The Lend-A-Hand college scholarship program for local high school students; and
  • The Richard Peterson EMT Endowment Fund which provides financial assistance to help cover the costs of training local Emergency Medical Services personnel.

GTF Belden School

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.

The Belden School Restoration Commission was formed in 2004 by a group of Territory residents who raised funds and restored the building to how it appeared in 1936. 

On September 5, 2009, Belden School celebrated its Sesquicentennial and opened its doors to the general public. The Belden School Preservation Commission volunteer docents provide tours and special events at the school on the first and third Saturdays in June, July, August and September, from 10 a.m. until noon.

CLICK HERE for more information.

GTF Education

Education and Scholarship

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 commission members truly hope that the efforts of the Galena Territory Foundation will help add strength to the fabric of the community, and will enable the young people of our school districts to enjoy success in their educational growth after high school.

The Education and Scholarship Commission of the Galena Territory Foundation established the Lend-A-Hand College Scholarship for students in Galena, River Ridge and Scales Mound school districts to help with the cost of college or vocational/technical skills training. Applications are available each year in January from the high school counselors. The deadline for submitting applications to the Foundation office is March; the deadline date will be posted in the application.

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.

Questions should be directed to the Education and Scholarship Commission Chair:  Christine Harris, 815-347-4357

Lend-A-Hand Scholarship Form Submissions Due: Friday, March 15th, 2024

GTF Peterson

Richard Peterson EMT Endowment Fund

Rich Peterson was a firefighter and EMT-I who volunteered in the Scales Mound Fire Protection District and in the Galena Area Emergency Medical Service District. He devoted countless hours responding to emergency calls and generously gave of himself in service to our community.

The Galena Territory Foundation and the Peterson family established the Richard Peterson EMT Endowment Fund in his memory. For those who serve on the Scales Mound Fire Protection District (SMFPD) roster and/or the Galena Area Emergency Medical Service District (GAEMSD) roster, our mission is to provide funding to help cover the costs of EMS education, training, tuition, educational materials and supplies, test and/or license fees, miscellaneous expenses, and round-trip mileage to education/training classes, clinicals, etc.

The funding we provide is not based on financial need. To qualify for assistance in covering EMS education and training costs:

Read more about how the Endowment can help you cover costs, click here.