Galena is a city in Cherokee County, Kansas, United States. The city was named after the lead ore galena found here in 1877. The city was originally platted by the Galena Mining and Smelting Company and was to be known as Cornwall. The city was actually known as Short Creek when first established because of a nearby creek and was known as Bonanza briefly before taking the present name. The city was part of the tri state mining area and had over 30,000 inhabitants. After the closing the mines in the 1970s population decreased. The population was 3,287 at the 2000 census.
Galena is the eastern end of the segment of U.S. Route 66 that passes through Kansas.
The Jayhawk Ordnance Works northwest of Galena, built during World War II, was a large ordnance plant producing ammonium nitrate. After the war it was privatized by its operator Kenneth Aldred Spencer and at one point was the world's largest producer of ammonium nitrate fertilizer in the world. It would form the basis for the Spencer Chemical Company's fortune which would eventually be funneled into numerous philanthropies throughout Missouri and Kansas. The Spencer family had been in the area because of their ownership of the Pittsburg and Midway Coal Co. mining operation. The plant is still in operation as the Jayhawk Fine Chemicals Corporation.