The village of Bishop Hill, which is located just west of Galva Illinois, was the most important element relating to Galva’s early growth and prosperity. Shortly before the founding of Galva the people of Bishop Hill had decided that they didn’t want a railroad coming through their community, it could have dramatically changed their solitary way of life. When the Wiley’s decided to locate a town along the railroad route, they decided that this, their second opportunity to be involved in a railroad, should not be passed up. In passing up the opportunity to have a railroad just a few years before, their best way of transporting products made in the colony, would be through the new town to the east.
Through the colonists’ early efforts Galva became a successful town, and because of the Wiley’s gratitude to them, they were given the opportunity to name the town. Several suggestions were made, but the one suggestion that most people were in favor of was one made by Olof Johnson. He suggested that the town be named Gefle, pronounced Yaveley, after a seaport in Sweden from which many of Bishop Hill’s residents had sailed. From this suggestion the town was named Gefle, but only for a short time. It became evident that the name was hard to pronounce, for visitors, and residents alike, leading to a revision of the name. This revision tried to stay close to the general pronunciation of the name, but was much easier to remember, that name was Galva. For the commercial use the colony of Bishop Hill built the first permanent brick building.
Out of this building they could load their products off of a wooden platform north of the building into trains to be shipped to wherever they were to be transported. This building was also used to store goods such as grain, pork, and brooms, all of which were made in the colony. At the same time as the commercial building was erected, the first house was also being built by these people. This house was to serve as a kind of motel, or boarding house for new arrivals from Sweden. They would stay there until they could build themselves a shelter. This house still stands today just south of Washington Park, although not in it’s original form, it now has a second story.