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

Pictorial Histories

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.

The City of La Crosse, Wis.: Its Advantages for Residence, Resources and Commercial Progress from the Annual Report of the Board of Trade for 1891 ; with Representative Illustrations of its Residences and Public Buildings by The Art Gravure & Etching Co., 1892.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the first settlement of La Crosse, the Board of Trade issued this special edition of their annual report, which features over 100 photos and illustrations of street scenes, businesses, churches, government buildings, and residences. The photo of the John C. Burns Fruit House business also includes portraits of the baseball team they sponsored in their uniforms.

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).

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.

La Crosse by the Camera/ [W. A. Pryor], 1894

This book is an excellent photographic history of La Crosse circa 1890. There are 30 pages of professional black and white photographs, all taken by the prominent La Crosse photographer William A. Pryor. The images include downtown street scenes and businesses, churches, schools, government buildings, residences, Oak Grove Cemetery, the Central Fire Department, lumber mills, and a bird’s-eye view of downtown.

La Crosse Illustrated: Historical, Picturesque, Descriptive. Art Pub. Co., 1887.

This large format work was one of the first, and best, photographic guides to 19th century La Crosse. It was issued in 1887 in eight parts totaling about 60 pages and features high-quality photographs. The images include individual businesses, the La Crosse Water Works (Pump House), Court House, schools, churches, river views, downtown street scenes, residential streets, north La Crosse, and saw mills. Of particular note are photos of President Grover Cleveland’s visit to La Crosse in 1887.

La Crosse, Wisconsin: The Gateway City: A City of Great Enterprises, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Agricultural Resources Unsurpassed. La Crosse, Wis.: Spicer & Buschman, 1904?

This 31 page tract is good example of early 20th century civic “boosterism.” It includes a short overview of the social life and features paragraph-length descriptions of businesses, businessmen, and professionals. It is illustrated with photographs and woodcut images and has an index at the back.

Official Souvenir View Book: Out-Door Winter Carnival, La Crosse, Wisconsin, January 25-28, 1922. La Crosse, Wis. : Levy Bros. [1922?]

Includes over 100 photos of the 1922 La Crosse Winter Carnival including the King & Queen, Carnival boosters, winter sporting events and athletes, and numerous marching clubs and floats sponsored by La Crosse businesses. Photos taken by William J. Fitzpatrick, Fitz Photo Shop.

Penny Postcards from Wisconsin: A USGenWeb Archives Web Site

Philippi Art Souvenir of La Crosse, Wisconsin 1904 First Edition / Published by the L.P. Philippi Co.

Philippi Art Souvenir of La Crosse, Wisconsin 1906 Trade Edition

The Philippi Art Souvenir books each contain about 80 pages of high quality photographs of the La Crosse area. As the introduction in the 1904 edition states: “The effort as been to publish a volume which should present the subject matter in attractive form. To this end the photographer, the engraver, the printer, and the bookbinder have contributed their best knowledge and skill in the art preservative.” Take a look and judge for yourself! The photographs were taken by William A. Pryor, same photographer as in La Crosse by Camera.

The subjects covered in both Philippi books are more extensive than in La Crosse By Camera. In addition to more views of La Crosse downtown street scenes and businesses, residential streets and prominent homes, there are bird’s-eye views taken from bluffs, Lake Como, parks, river views, steamboats, and the north side of La Crosse. The 1906 trade edition has unnumbered pages, contains advertisements, has a shorter introduction, and contains a few images, like Oehler’s cave, that are not in the 1904 first edition.

A Souvenir of La Crosse / Published by Chas. L. Weis.

This 26 page souvenir booklet was published in La Crosse circa 1910 and features photographs and line drawings of La Crosse street scenes, downtown businesses, churches, parks, river views, and public buildings.

Souvenir of La Crosse, Wis./ Alex Simplot, Publisher.

This small photo booklet was published by Alex Simplot for the Wheel and Seeder Manufacturing Company of La Crosse. It was designed to advertise La Crosse at the Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1893. The booklet features small-scale photographs of prominent La Crosse buildings, street scenes, and views.

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.

Take a Glimpse of La Crosse’s Past / Ken Jenkerson

This pamphlet of 30 pages contains some forty photographs of La Crosse scenes circa 1890-1940. Images include law enforcement officials, Market Square, trains, churches, aviation, residential and downtown street scenes, and parades. It was published by Ken Jenkerson (1945-2002), an avid collector of La Crosse history, in 1992.

Views About La Crosse, 1885.

This booklet consists solely of ten original photos of early views, circa 1885, of the La Crosse area. There is no text. Subjects of the photos include scenes of various rivers and streams around La Crosse, a view from Eagle Bluff, the town of Genoa (in Vernon County), logging on the Black River, and Trempealeau Bluff. The photographer is unknown.

Wisconsin Hometown Stories-La Crosse

Wisconsin Hometown Stories: La Crosse is a movie available in streaming video and transcript that follows the evolution of the city at the junction of the Mississippi, Black and La Crosse Rivers from its earliest days to the present. Also available here are links to teacher resources, an interactive map and gallery of the 1867 birdseye view of La Crosse, and a short history of La Crosse written by Michael Goc. This was produced through a partnership of the Wisconsin Public Television and the Wisconsin Historical Society.

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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.