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

Mississippi River

50th Anniversary, Nine-Foot Navigation Channel, Upper Mississippi River: Old Man River: 1938-1988 (1988)

A short history of the Corps of Engineer’s efforts to make the Upper Mississippi River more navigable for commercial transportation, 1900-1988. The planning for the 9-foot channel project began in 1929 and construction was completed by 1938.

Aquatic Habitat Change within Selected Pools of the Upper Mississippi River from 1974-2000 / Derek Asche, 2007.

Art Work of St. Croix and Mississippi Valley from Stillwater, Minn., to La Crosse, Wis. / Art Photogravure Co., 1899.

Originally published in multi-part sets, these two works feature exquisitely crisp, 19th century, artistic, black and white photographs that showcase picturesque views along the Mississippi river and its tributaries from Minnesota to Iowa. Many of these sites have changed physically since they were taken so these photos document an earlier environment.

Art Work of Valley of the Mississippi from La Crosse, Wisconsin to Keokuk, Iowa / Art Photogravure Co., 1899.

A Brief History of the Clamming and Pearling Industry in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin / Eric Tempte, 1968.

UW-L thesis detailing the history of clamming and pearling, especially for pearl buttons, in Prairie du Chien, Wis. 

Bridge over the Mississippi River at La Crosse : Letter from the Secretary of War Transmitting a Report Locating a Bridge Across the Mississippi River at La Crosse, Wisconsin

At the heart of this 57 page federal government document from 1872 is a report from G.K. Warren, Major of Engineers, U.S. Army, with appendices and supporting correspondence, about selecting a site and constructing a new bridge across the Mississippi River at La Crosse. Correspondents include C. C. Washburn; James Lyndes, mayor of La Crosse; T.B. Stoddard, President, Southern Minnesota Railroad Company; Alexander Mitchell, President, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad; H.J. Bliss, civil engineer; and other U.S. Army engineers.

To Congress from the Upper Mississippi River Improvement Association, 1904

This memorial and petition was presented by representatives of the Upper Mississippi Improvement Association to the U.S. Congress asking for $15 million to create a six foot deep channel on the upper Mississippi River.  It includes a report from their Executive Committee complete with graphs of economic statistics and maps of freight rates.

A Creel Survey and Economic Assessment of the Walleye Fishery in Pool 9 on the Upper Mississippi River During 1983-1984 / Gary Lee Ferkin, 1981.

A creel survey of walleye was conducted in Pool 9 of the Upper Mississippi River from June 1, 1983 through May 31, 1984 to assess the walleye harvest and to estimate the economic impact of the walleye fishery to the area.

A Diatom Population and Nutrient survey in the Mississippi River at Lock 7 and Lock 8 / Clement C. Ozburn, 1969.

The purpose of this study is twofold: (1) to obtain information which may be used to determine to what extent diatoms can be used as water quality indicators; (2) to supplement baseline data on annual plankton standing crops of the upper Mississippi River.

Effects of Contaminants on Naiad Mollusks (Unionidae): A Review by Marion E. Havlik and Leif L. Marking (Fort Collins, CO : U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish & Wildlife Service), 1987.

A bibliography of existing literature up to 1987 regarding naiad mollusks or freshwater mussels.

The Environmental History of the Upper Mississippi River at Trempealeau, WI / Jeffrey Kollath

UW-La Crosse Student paper appearing in the Journal of Undergraduate Research volume 3, 2000.

Exploring the History of the Mississippi River

Fish impingement at Dairyland Power Cooperative's Genoa site / Brimmer, Kerry J, 1977

UW-L masters thesis

Flood Plain Information on Mississippi River and Tributaries in Vicinity of La Crosse, Wisconsin / United States. Army. Corps of Engineers. St. Paul District., 1970.

Great Lakes Maritime History Project

The Great Lakes Maritime History Project is a collaborative digital project. The Milwaukee Public Library, Wisconsin Historical Society, UW-Superior, and Special Collections, Murphy Library, UW-La Crosse contributed photographs, audio recordings, and other records to provide a history of commercial navigation on Wisconsin waters, including Lakes Superior and Michigan and the Mississippi River.

Habits and Habitats of Fishes in the Upper Mississippi River /S. Littlejohn et al. (La Crosse, Wis.: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Fishery Research Laboratory), 1985

History of La Crosse, County, Wisconsin, 1881/ Butterfield, Consul Willshire. Chicago : Western Historical Co., 1881, 862 p.

Topographical Features

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.

Impingement and Entrainment of Fishes at the Dairyland Power Cooperative Alma, Wisconsin Power Plants / Timothy J. Goeman, 1981

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.

Limnological Observations in the Upper Mississippi, 1921 / by P.S. Galtsoff

This 1921 scientific report by a U.S. Fisheries naturalist deals with a “hydrobiological” investigation of the upper Mississippi River, from Hastings, MN to Alexandria, MO including detailed charts and graphs.

Lumbering on the Black River at Onalaska, Wisconsin, 1852-1902 / Dorothy Sagen Johnson, 1974.

This 45 page seminar paper was written for a University of Wisconsin - La Crosse graduate history class. The paper tracks the rise and decline of the lumber industry of lumbering along the lower Black River and describes its effect upon Onalaska, Wisconsin from 1852-1902. It includes one chapter that describes lumbering methods and logging operations. Also includes a bibliography, maps, charts, and statistics documenting the local lumber industry.

Macrobenthic survey of Navigation Pool No. 8 of the Upper Mississippi River, with special reference to ecological relationships / Elstad, Catherine Ann, 1977

UW-L masters thesis

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.

Waterways, Highways, and Railroads - The Mississippi River-Advantages of La Crosse for River Navigation- The First Steamboat-Early Packet Lines-Wharf Building-Increase of River Commerce and Travel-Recent Efforts to Increase River Traffic

Mississippi River Flood: April 2001 by USGS

This site includes aerial obliques (photos), surface obliques (ground level photos) and video of the La Crosse and Coulee region of the Mississippi River suffering effects of flooding in April 2001.

Naiad Mollusks of the Black River at the Clinton Street Bridge: La Crosse, Wisconsin, May 1978 by Marion E. Havlik (Madison, Wis.: Dept. of Transportation), 1978.

Findings of field work conducted in May 1978 in the Black River. Specimens found included the endangered Higgins Eye mussel.

Nitrogen and phosphorus cycling by nymphaea tuberosa and ceratophyllum demersum in Lake Onalaska, Navigation Pool 7 of the Upper Mississippi River / Smart, Miles M, 1977

UW-L masters thesis

Parasites of Catostomid Fishes from Navigation Pools 8 and 9 of the Upper Mississippi River (Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin) and the lower Missouri National Recreational River (Nebraska, South Dakota) / Walker, Jennifer L., 2007.

UW-La Crosse Thesis

Quantitative Survey of the Phytoplankton and Water Quality of the La Crosse, “Black” and Mississippi Rivers / George A. Cary, 1972.

UW–La Crosse Thesis

The quantity and nutritive quality of Vallisneria americana biomass, in navigation pool no. 9 of the Upper Mississippi River / by Gary N. Donnermeyer, 1982.

UW-La Crosse Thesis

A Satellite-Based Assessment of the 2001 La Crosse Flood / Greg Manke.

UW - La Crosse Student paper appearing in the Journal of Undergraduate Research volume 7, 2004.

The Upper Mississippi River Improvement Association / by Sam J. Graber, 1968

UW-L thesis which traces the history of Mississippi River improvements and the origin and development of the Upper Mississippi River Improvement Association.

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

Souvenir Views of the Upper Mississippi, Issued in Honor of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition at St. Louis, 1904, copyrighted by the Nelson Art Studio, Dubuque, Iowa.

This souvenir pamphlet contains 25 black and white, half-tone photographs, each measuring 5” x 7.” The photographs were taken from a steamboat and capture river towns and picturesque scenes along the length of the Mississippi River from St. Paul, Minnesota to Dubuque, Iowa.

The Story of My Life by Billie Button.

Survey of La Crosse Harbor, Wisconsin: letter from the Secretary of War, transmitting, with a letter from the Chief of Engineers, report of a survey of La Crosse Harbor, Wisconsin. Upper Mississippi River pool no.7, mile 696 to mile 716, 1897.

Letters to the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives reporting on a survey of the Mississippi River along the La Crosse waterfront including a proposal to build several dams and dredging to improve the harbor.

Trempealeau and the Mississippi River Dam / Elkins, Winston

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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.