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Maps

Bird's-eye Views of La Crosse:

  • La Crosse, 1867 Bird's-eye-view image of La Crosse in 1867 drawn by A. Ruger.
  • La Crosse, 1873 Bird's-eye-view image of La Crosse in 1873 drawn by George H. Ellsbury.
  • La Crosse, 1876 Bird's-eye-view image of La Crosse in 1876 drawn by C. J. Pauli.
  • La Crosse, 1887 Bird's-eye-view image of La Crosse in 1887 drawn by Henry Wellge.

City Atlas of La Crosse, Wisconsin: Compiled from Actual Surveys and the City and County Records (1898) by H. J. Biddenback

Similar to a fire insurance map, this map of the city of La Crosse shows building outlines on lots.  However, the building shape wasn’t as accurate as the Sanborn maps.  These are used to help research the history of property and building in the city.  Railroad lines are also prevalent on this map.

Company Articles of Incorporation of the Minnesota and Plank Road  (1873)

The articles of incorporation and a map of the Minnesota and Plank Road Company filed with the State of Minnesota that planned to build two toll roads over the Mississippi River connecting the city of La Crosse to points west in Minnesota.  Proposed railroad lines are also included on the map in red.

Joseph N. Nicollet Maps. September 28-November 14, 1839*. Untitled pen-and-ink manuscript map, in French, of the Mississippi River from Fort Snelling (Minneapolis-St. Paul, in southeastern Minnesota) to the mouth of the Des Moines River (near present Keokuk, southeastern Iowa).

Joseph N. Nicollet Maps. September 28-November 14, 1839*. Untitled pen-and-ink manuscript map, in French, of the Mississippi River from Fort Snelling (Minneapolis-St. Paul, in southeastern Minnesota) to the mouth of the Des Moines River (near present Keokuk, southeastern Iowa); map charting the lower reaches of the La Crosse River east of the town of La Crosse.

*Note for the Nicollet maps: Joseph N. Nicollet’s western expedition of 1839 carried him on the steamboat "Antelope" from St. Louis to Fort Pierre, in present South Dakota. He was accompanied by John Charles Fremont, his assistant, and by Charles A. Geyer. On September 28, he began his return to St. Louis down the Mississippi River. Fremont remained behind; he was to have rejoined Nicollet at Praire du Chien, but events prevented him from doing so, and Nicollet completed the journey without him. Traveling by canoe, Nicollet mapped the river from his point of departure near Fort Snelling, Minnesota, to Warsaw, Illinois, at the mouth of the Des Moines River--- part of the modern boundary between Iowa and Missouri. Unfortunately, his field diary for the Mississippi River expedition has been lost; so details of the journey must largely be reconstructed from notes on the map. The map shows great detail of the river channel, as well as the course of Nicollet’s canoe (shown by a dashed line), and a multitude of natural and cultural features along both banks, including early townsites and Sioux and Fox Indian village locations.

La Crosse Panoramic Map, 1911

1911 panoramic view of downtown La Crosse produced by the Haines Photo Co.

Map of the City of Onalaska, Wisconsin 1889 (large file)

Wall map of then village of Onalaska 1889 drawn by civil engineers and surveyors George Brice and C. W. Smith. The maps shows railroads, street names, ward numbers, cemeteries, lumber yards, wagon bridge, road to French Island, and owners' names just outside the municipal limits. With gift funds, the La Crosse Public Library had the Wisconsin Historical Society Conservation Lab do conservation work on the map and their digital lab took an overhead view during the conservation work.

Below, you can select a specific quadrant of the map for quicker download time:

Map of the County of La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1874 (large file 316,000 KB)

Wall map of La Crosse County, Wisconsin in 1874 drawn by civil engineer and surveyor Henry I. Bliss. The plat map shows township outlines, railroads, roads and agricultural land owner's names and acreage owned. With gift funds, the La Crosse Public Library had the Wisconsin Historical Society Conservation Lab do conservation work on the map and their digital lab took an overhead view during the conservation work.

Below, you can select an individual township map for viewing or copying.

To print just an area of the map in Adobe Reader 8.0, zoom in no more than 400% for the best results. Then in the Adobe toolbar, select "Tools." Now choose select and zoom. Click on the snapshot tool. Now with your mouse, highlight the area you want to print. Continue with selecting your printer and printer properties as normal.

Map of the La Crosse and Milwaukee Rail Road and connections / by J. H. Colton, 1855

Map digitized by the Library of Congress of the northeastern and north-central United States indicating major drainage, larger cities, state boundaries, and the railroad network. Line was chartered April 2, 1852.

Maps and Atlases of La Crosse County and the Upper Mississippi River

This group of material includes maps and atlases of La Crosse County of a variety of types, including plat (rural land ownership), highway, soil, topographic; city of La Crosse (Wisconsin) including zoning, parks, and streets; other La Crosse County municipalities; and representative pre- and post-lock and dam charts and maps of the Upper Mississippi River. The date range of this map collection is approximately 1854-1987 and explores the rich history of the area from the days of logging to the post-lock and dam system on the Mississippi River.

This LSTA funded project is a collaborative effort completed by the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center and the La Crosse Public Library.  Maps and Atlases of La Crosse County, Wisconsin, and the Upper Mississippi River brings together in an online environment content that is located physically at three separate institutions: the La Crosse Public Library, Murphy Library at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Maps and Atlases of La Crosse and La Crosse County, Wisconsin, in the online collections of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

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.

Plat Book of the State of Wisconsin [La Crosse County townships only] /published by the W. W. Hixson Co., 1915

Below, you can select an individual township map for viewing or copying.

Plat Books and Maps of La Crosse County, Wisconsin:

  • 1874 scroll down and click on icon "plat maps"
  • 1890 scroll down and click on icon "plat maps"
  • 1900 scroll down and click on icon "plat maps"
  • 1906
  • 1913
  • 1915
  • 1931

Sanborn Maps of La Crosse, Wisconsin and Other Wisconsin Cities

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for the city of La Crosse include 1879, Jan. 1884, 1887, 1891, 1906 and 1921 (2 sheets only). Other Wisconsin cities and villages are also available, such as Bangor. Digitized by the Wisconsin Historical Society. Also, view the Rascher Atlas dated March 1884.

Survey of La Crosse Harbor, Wisconsin (1897)

A letter from the Secretary of War with a letter from the Chief of [U. S. Army Corps] of Engineers indicating the survey of the La Crosse Harbor for the U. S. House of Representatives.

Upper Mississippi River Navigational Charts compiled by the United States Army Corps of Engineers

Wisconsin Public Land Survey Records: Original Field Notes and Plat Maps

The land area that is now known as the State of Wisconsin was surveyed by the federal government between 1833 and 1866. This website provides access to scanned images of the original General Land Office survey field notes and plat maps. All of this material is based on the township, range and section descriptions of the Public Land Survey System (PLSS). To effectively use this material, the legal description of the property to be researched is necessary to know which can be derived from topographic maps, land ownership maps, deeds and or property tax bills among other sources.

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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.