History Unbound History Unbound Murphy Library, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse La Crosse Library 2005 WLA/Highsmith Award Winner History Unbound Murphy Library, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse La Crosse Library 2005 WLA/Highsmith Award Winner Murphy Library, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse La Crosse Library 2005 WLA/Highsmith Award Winner History Unbound Murphy Library, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse La Crosse Library 2005 WLA/Highsmith Award Winner Murphy Library, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse La Crosse Library 2005 WLA/Highsmith Award Winner Murphy Library, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse La Crosse Library 2005 WLA/Highsmith Award Winner


Curb Appeal

The La Crosse Public Library and the City of La Crosse Planning Department have worked together to create a historic look at intersections in the city of La Crosse.  The purpose of this project is to provide an idea of what intersections looked like in 1970 and what changes have occurred to the present date (2003).

Grassroots Rebels: Municipal Power and Railroad Regulation in La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1883-1900 / Eric J. Morser

An article by Eric J. Morser, then visiting professor of history at the University of New Mexico, that appeared in the Business and Economic History On-Line, volume 3, 2005. The La Crosse municipal government in the later part of the nineteenth-century forced a wealthy and influential Chicago, Burlington & Northern Railroad line to reconsider its practices and to act in the public interest

History of the La Crosse Police Department: The First Forty Years / Brent D. Larson, 1977.

UW–La Crosse Thesis.

History Repeats Itself, Annexation of the Town of Campbell

The Town of Campbell was created at the time La Crosse County was organized in 1851.Campbell lost land mass when dams were constructed on the Mississippi River in the 1930s.  By 1954 the Town of Campbell had been split in two by the southern growth of the city of Onalaska and the northern growth of the city of La Crosse.   As a result, the town of Medary was formed west of Oak St., leaving the borders of the Town of Campbell largely to French Island and its environs.

This grouping of articles highlights the ongoing discussion between the Town of Campbell and the City of La Crosse regarding annexation, boundaries, efforts to cooperate, and public services such as water.   Since 1983 the city has tried to actively encourage Campbell residents to annex to the city. A court decision in 2002 over annexation led to a split: the city of La Crosse gained some properties on Hiawatha Island, a small island east of French Island, while ruling that annexation into French Island itself was invalid.  Also several moves to incorporate as a village began as early as 1966 and with the most recent effort as late as 2002.

History Repeats Itself, Floods

Major floods of the Mississippi River have greatly influenced where national, state and local project money has gone over the years. This collection of articles highlights the record-setting floods that La Crosse residents have experienced in 1880, 1951, 1952, 1965, 1969, 1993, 1997 and 2001. While the flood gage has been moved over time, the National Weather Bureau identifies the top five record high Mississippi River crests at La Crosse in this order: 1965, 1880, 2001, 1969, 1952.

History Repeats Itself, Grandad Bluffs

Grandad Bluff, the tallest bluff in the area, has been a focal point of the La Crosse community. Limestone rock was quarried from the bluff and this served as a source of building material for many years. However, when the property was about to be sold for large scale quarrying, La Crosse citizens were outraged. A prominent family, Joseph & Irene Hixon, bought the property in 1909 holding it in trust until it was donated as park to the city of La Crosse in 1912.During this time, local citizens, lead by Mrs. G. C. Hixon, raised $15,000 to purchase the property and to help build public roads. Along with this purchase was some property below the bluff which became the nucleus of Hixon Forest.

History Repeats Itself, Hixon Forest

Hixon Forest traces it roots to the founding of Grandad Bluff as a park. It was donated to the city in 1912 as a park.  This collection of articles highlights the beginning of the trail system, a cooperative effort of the Greater La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce and La Crosse Park & Recreation Department, to the new "This is Not a Trail" (TNT) mountain bike trail that leads through Hixon Forest connecting on top of Grandad Bluff to the Human Powered Trail. Some land acquisitions and the beginning of the Nature Center are also highlighted.

History Repeats Itself, North-South Corridor Dispute

An ever present issue facing La Crosse city planners and officials since the mid 1940s has been the discussion of building a north-south road through the La Crosse River Valley and the wetland area known as the marsh. Follow this controversy from 1946 to the passing of an advisory referendum in 1998 blocking the city from spending money on the road. A north-south corridor is still in the plans of the La Crosse Area Planning Committee and the issue is far from decided.

History Repeats Itself, Ten Commandments Controversy

The Ten Commandments Monument was donated to the city and dedicated in Cameron Park in conjunction with a state Eagles Club convention held in La Crosse in 1965. Seen as a religious symbol on public property, a lawsuit in 1985 sparked a court battle between the Freedom From Religion Foundation, led by Anne Gaylor, and the city. The case was dismissed in 1988. The issue resurfaced in 2001 with more local citizen support, and the city sold the small parcel of land where the monument stands to the Eagles Club in 2002.

Impact Study of Harborview Plaza, La Crosse, Wisconsin / William D. Klaus, 1974.

UW – La Crosse Seminar Paper

Into Our Second Century, 1888-1988: La Crosse Public Library (La Crosse, Wis.? : La Crosse Tribune), Nov. 1988

An advertising supplement to the La Crosse Tribune newspaper telling of the brief history and accomplishments of the La Crosse Public Library from 1888-1988.

La Crosse Airport Dedication (La Crosse, Wis.: G. A. Keller), 1947

The dedication program of the La Crosse Municipal airport in 1947 which includes a nice narrative of aviation history in La Crosse.

La Crosse City Hall: Dedication July 4, 1970 (La Crosse, Wis.?: La Crosse (Wis.)?), 1970

The dedication program of the La Crosse city hall building of 1970. Includes a photo of the previous city hall building.

La Crosse County Building, La Crosse, Wisconsin: Dedication Program: Sunday, May 23, 1965 (La Crosse, Wis.?: La Crosse County (Wis.). Board of Supervisors?), 1965

The dedication program of the 1965 La Crosse County Courthouse building, now called the La Crosse County Administrative Center. Includes some history of the courthouses in La Crosse and a photo of the previous courthouse building.

La Crosse County Historical Sketches, 1931-1955

Post Office of North La Crosse / R.S. Rynning

Since the Turn of the Century in La Crosse / Cameron L. Baldwin

La Crosse Public Library: Dedication November 5, 1967 (La Crosse, Wis.? : La Crosse Public Library?), 1967

The dedication booklet of the La Crosse Public Library building of 1967.

La Crosse Public Library: Into the 21st Century, 1888-1997 by Ken Brekke (La Crosse, Wis. : s. n.), 1997

Thorough history of the La Crosse Public Library from 1888-1997.

La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1862-1882: Crime, the Police Court, the Newspapers / Gerald A. Layton, 1971.

UW – La Crosse Seminar Paper

Memoirs of La Crosse County / Benjamin Bryant; 1907.

This work, along with History of La Crosse County, 1881, are the preeminent published sources for 19th century La Crosse history. Bryant’s Memoirs, as it is commonly called, is a wide-ranging work that covers the early history of La Crosse as well as the social, education, government, religious, and business institutions. The book is divided into 22 chapters and also includes brief histories of the smaller towns of La Crosse County. An alphabetical name index to Bryant’s Memoirs was prepared and digitized in 2004 and is available for searching at the “name index” button.

Postal Service - The First Postoffice, 1844-Early Post-masters-Increase of Mail in 1851 Discontent with Mail Service--Itroduction of Boxes-Location of La Crosse Office from 1860 to 1870-New Postoffice Building-Contrasts of Postal Service-Present Officials-Statistics of 1905-1906-List of La Crosse Post-masters-Stage Routes and Postoffices in the County-Early Country Postoffices-Postoffices in 1878-Present Offices and Free Delivery Routes

Public Buildings and Institutions - First Jail-New Jail-Poor House and Farm-County Hospital for Chronic Insane-Court Houses-Federal Building-City Hall-Fire Department-Water Supply-Police Force-Public Library-Traveling Libraries-Opera House-La Crosse Theaters-Other Public Buildings

Bench & Bar - Settlement of Legal Difficulties in the Early Days-Members of the Early Bar-Organization of the La Crosse Bar Association-County and Probate Judges-First Term of Court at Prairie La Crosse-Circuit Judges-District Attorneys-Distinguished Members of the La Crosse County Bench and Bar-"The First Judicial Stove"

Municipal Records on file with the Office of the Secretary of State, State of Wisconsin

A searchable database by city, village or county name that includes digital images of key documents such as maps, charters, ordinances, and the like.

Pictorial Souvenir of the Police Department of La Crosse, Wisconsin / Harry Wilkinson. Des Moines, Iowa : American Lithographing & Printing Co.), 1912.

According to the author, Harry Wilkinson, this souvenir book was published to replenish the La Crosse Policemen’s pension fund. It begins with biographical information and photographs of the officers, detectives, and patrolmen of the La Crosse Police Department. It then continues with photographs of city officials, aldermen, City Hall, street scenes, churches, and businesses as well as a short history of La Crosse written by Mr. Wilkinson. It also contains extensive advertising from local businesses.

The Poor and Public Health in La Crosse in the Nineteenth Century / Anita Taylor Doering, 1999.

A discussion of how the La Crosse community and the municipality dealt with small pox and other pestilential diseases in the nineteenth century, focusing on the Pest House or Small Pox hospital.

Swarthout Memorial Addition to the La Crosse Public Library (La Crosse, Wis.? : La Crosse Public Library?), Jan. 6, 1980

The dedication booklet of the La Crosse Public Library's Swarthout addition to the building 1980.

U. S. Post Office, La Crosse: Open House, April 16, 1978 (La Crosse, Wis.: Post Office), 1978

The dedication booklet of the U. S. Post Office and federal building of 1978. Includes a photo of the previous post office building.

We Need a Roof Over Our Heads: The Story of the La Crosse Housing Authority / Susan T. Hessel (La Crosse, Wis,: s.n.), 1998.

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Welcome to La Crosse History Unbound. Learn more about La Crosse County, history through these digitized collections from La Crosse Public Library and Murphy Library, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.