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

Religious Organizations and Issues:

General Jewish
Baptist Lutheran
Catholic Methodist
Congregational UCC Presbyterian


General heading

A Brief Sketch of La Crosse, Wisc'n Showing the Location of the Place, its Surrounding Scenery, Commercial Advantages, Early History, and the Social, Moral, Literary, and Religious Character of the Inhabitants; and Various Other Interesting Items / Spencer Carr. La Crosse, W. C. Rogers, 1854.

This pamphlet of 28 pages contains a brief history of La Crosse, written in 1854 by a La Crosse clergyman, three years after La Crosse County had been organized in the hopes of attracting more residents and industry. Of special interest are the three registers containing the names, birth places, religious affiliations and occupations of all heads of households and single men and women in La Crosse in 1854.

A Determination of La Crosse Clergy’s Involvement with Students at the University of Wisconsin--La Crosse / Elliott Katz

UW-L theses for Master of Science

Free Thought Miscellany, 1887

Written by Joseph Pettey and published in La Crosse, Wisconsin, this 389 paged book published in 1887 is about free thought, specifically in relation to religion and freedom from it.  Mr. Pettey must have been very proud of this work, as his gravestone in Oak Grove Cemetery notes “author of Free Thought Miscellany.”  The first three pages of the book are autobiographical and give some background into the author’s mindset.  Pettey died in La Crosse in 1893.

A Half Century of Wheat and Tares in Bostwick Valley/James Tauscher (Wisconsin: J. Tauscher), 1976.

A 28 page senior church history paper about secularism and the German Freethinkers organization of Barre Mills and the Bostwick Valley area of La Crosse County, Wisconsin.

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

Churches-This 862 page tome is the preeminent 19th century history of the La Crosse area. It begins with a general overview of the history of Wisconsin but then begins a detailed account of the history of both the city and county of La Crosse including its villages and towns as well as biographical sketches of prominent citizens. It is illustrated with black and white woodcuts. A name index to this volume was compiled in 1977 by Murphy Library and this index is included.

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.

La Crosse Churches, 1852-1900 / Doering, Anita Taylor

A list of churches in the city of La Crosse from 1852-1900 to help genealogists and local historians narrow down the possibilities of where someone may have attended a church service, depending on their place of residence (north or south side), native language and denomination.

La Crosse County Historical Sketches, 1931-1955

Early Customs and Activities of La Crosse Churches / Geneve Caldwell

The Mormons of Mormon Coulee / Albert H. Sanford

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.

Church History - First Religious Meeting-Non-Orthodox Societies-Religious Sects Represented in 1854-Baptist Church, Organized 1851-First Church Building Erected-Later Baptist Churches-First Congregational Church-First Methodist Church-Later Methodist Churches- Catholic Churches St. Rosa's Convent-Episcopal Church-Lutheran Churches Jewish Congregation-Presbyterian Church-St. Paul's Universalist Church-German Evangelical Association- German Reformed Church-Adventist Church-Church of Christ, Scientist-Young Men's Christian Association-Young Women's Christian Association

Baptist heading

Den Triumferende Fryd, 1891

A printed musical score published in La Crosse, Wisconsin, by Olaf H. Rask, president of the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor of the First Scandinavian Baptist Church in 1891. Rask served as president of this group at least in 1890 and 1891.  This is a songbook for young and old, at Sunday school and home and includes 178 hymns or songs and what appear to be responsive readings.  The table of contents starts on page 158.  This book is written in the Norwegian language.

Seventy - Fifth Anniversary of the First Baptist Church, 1852 – 1927: January 21st, 22nd, 23rd / by Mrs. C. F. Emery (1927)

100th Anniversary of the First Baptist Church La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1852-1952 / Contributors Mr. and Mrs. C.  F. Emery, et al. (1952)

Catholic Heading

The Catholic History of La Crosse, Wis: In Two Chapters / Crane, Florence. La Crosse, Wis. : F. Crane, 1904, 32 p.

This work provides both a history of Catholics and Catholic institutions in La Crosse from 1868-1904. It is illustrated with high-quality photographs including Catholic schools, churches, and orphan homes, St. Rose Convent, St. Francis Hospital, and portraits of the priests and bishops that served the Diocese of La Crosse.

Kilian C. Flash : Second Bishop of La Crosse / James E, Biechler, 1958.

UW-Madison thesis.  Very little has been written concerning the history of the diocese of La Crosse and its early bishops.  More is known of Michael Heiss, the first bishop of La Crosse, than of Kilian Flasch, his successor. Heiss himself had done some writing about his life and work and since he later became archbishop of Milwaukee, he received a considerable amount of publicity.  But Bishop Flasch is today all but forgotten. During his brief episcopate, from 1881 to 1891, the diocese of La Crosse witnessed a progress that perhaps no other decade in its history has seen.  The number of priests in the diocese almost doubled, Catholic population increased by 40 per cent, and the number of churches rose sixty per cent.  But it was in the field of Catholic education that Flash did his most significant work.  Through his contribution as a member of the School Committe at the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore and his constant exhortation and encouragement of the parochial school ideal, the diocese took an early leadership in the field of Christian education--a position which it still retains today.

Holy Trinity

Souvenir of the Golden Jubilee of the Holy Trinity Congregation (La Crosse, Wis. : Holy Trinity Congregation), 1937

A history of the first 50 years of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, a congregation with German roots. The parish began in 1887 and was originally known as St. Nicholas. The church continues its work today in the same location.

St. Mary's Church

The Centennial History of St. Mary's Church, 1854-1954 (La Crosse, Wis. : s.n.), 1954?
Cover Title: St. Mary's Centenary, 100

This illustrated booklet is a history of the first Catholic church in La Crosse, St. Mary's Church. Services were conducted in the English language, and the parish was known for its Irish, French and German roots. Included in the history is the story of St. Mary's School, priests and sisters from St. Mary's and a list of early baptisms and marriages performed at the church. The new Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman was dedicated in 1962 and soon after St. Mary's was closed. The church building at 319 South 7th Street (7th & Cameron streets) constructed in 1874-75 was razed in 1963.

St. Joseph's Cathedral

Brief History of St. Joseph's Cathedral Parish of La Crosse, Wis.:  in Memory of its Golden Jubilee January 4, 1913 = Kurze chronic der St. Joseph's Cathedral - Gemeinde zu La Crosse, Wis. / by Rev. G. Sluyter (1912)

St. Wenceslaus

The Three Jubilees, 1873-1948, Saint Wenceslaus Parish (1948)

Congregational UCC heading

Bless the Work of Our Hands: A History of the First Congregational Church of La Crosse, Wisconsin 1852 – 1972 / Charles E. Haas (1984)

It Started with Twelve:  First Congregational Church UCC, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1852 – 2002 (2002)

La Crosse County Historical Sketches, 1931-1955

Congregational and Presbyterian Beginnings in La Crosse / Albert H. Sanford

Jewish Heading

History of the Jews of La Crosse / Armand Tuteur, 1913

La Crosse County Historical Sketches, 1931-1955

Jewish Settlers of La Crosse to 1880 / H.J. Hirshheimer

Lutheran Heading

Bethel Lutheran

Bethel Lutheran, Church La Crosse, Wisconsin: 75th Anniversary 1886-1961 (1961)

Bethel Lutheran Church 1886 – 1986

Burr Oak Evangelical Lutheran

Zur Erinnerung an das Funfzigjahrige Jubilaum der Ev. Luth. Christus-Gemeinder zu Burr Oak Wisconsin am 10. September 1905 (1905)

A Survey of the History of the Burr Oak Evangelical Lutheran Church, Mindoro, Wisconsin 1855 – 1955 (1955?)

A Chronicle of Christ’s Congregation in Burr Oak: A Sketch of the History of Burr Oak Evangelical Lutheran Church, R. 1, Mindoro, Wisconsin 1855-1980 by Marcus Albrecht (1980)

Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church of Burr Oak: A History of 150 Years of Christ's Congregation in Burr Oak 1855 – 2005 (2005)

First Evangelical German Lutheran

Funfzigjahriges Jubilaum der Ersten Deutschen Ev. Gemeinde au La Crosse, Wisconsin (1909)

The Fiftieth Anniversary of the First German Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, La Crosse, Wisconsin(1909) [English translation]

Souvenir of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of First German Evangelical Lutheran Church La Crosse, Wisconsin (1934)

Centennial Booklet of the First Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, La Crosse, Wisconsin: 100 Years of Grace (1959?)

Anniversary Booklet of the First Evangelical Lutheran Church, La Crosse, Wisconsin 125:  Years of God’s Love (1984)

Imannuel Evangelical Lutheran

History of Immanuel Lutheran Church of La Crosse (Wis.) / by Virginia Larkin, 1985

A manuscript history of Immanuel Lutheran Church focusing on the historic building for listing by the La Crosse Commission on Historic Sites.

Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, La Crosse, Wisconsin: Jubilee, 1888-1908-1933 (1933)

History of Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church on La Crosse’s North Side to 1933.

Mount Calvary Lutheran

25 Years, 1928-1953 [Mount Calvary Lutheran Church 16th and Park La Crosse, Wisconsin] (1953)

Our Savior's Lutheran

Seventy Five Years for Christ [cover title:  Diamond Jubilee October 1st to 4th, 1936, Our Saviors Evangelical Lutheran Church La Crosse, Wisconsin] (1936)

100th Anniversary, 1861-1961, Our Savior’s Ev. Lutheran Church La Crosse, Wisconsin (1961)

St. John's Evangelical Lutheran/Barre Mills

Kurzgefafzte Geschichte der Ev.= Luth. St. Johnannes=Gemeinde in Bostwick Valley Barre Mills, La Crosse Co., Wis. Zur Erinnerung an ihr 50 jahriges Jubilaum. 1870-1920 (1920)

Methodist Heading

Autobiography : A Translation from the Diary of John Adam Salzer by Emma Salzer Hallauer (Springfield, Mo. : Emma Salzer Hallauer?), 1925.

John Adam Salzer, an emigrant from Wuerttemberg, Germany, became a Methodist preacher in the early history of La Crosse County and eventually founded the Salzer Seed Company. In about 1869 Salzer recorded his remembrances of his life up to that time in his native German language. In 1925, his daughter Emma Salzer Hallauer published this small booklet as a translation of his diary and added a page to fill out the rest of her father's life.

Fiftieth Anniversary of the Dedication to the First Methodist Episcopal Church La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1886-1936: November 27th-December 1 (1936)

History of Wesley United Methodist Church (1987)

La Crosse County Historical Sketches, 1931-1955

Beginnings of the Salzer Memorial Methodist Church / Emil J. Bernet

Methodism in La Crosse from 1849 to 1904 (La Crosse, Wis.? : s.n.), 1904.

A short history of the Methodist Episcopal churches in La Crosse, Wisconsin, including First Methodist Episcopal Church (later known as Wesley United Methodist), Caledonia Street Methodist Church (later known as St. Luke's United Methodist), Onalaska Methodist Episcopal Church (later known as Onalaska United Methodist), First German Methodist Episcopal Church (later known as Salzer then Asbury United Methodist), Scandinavian Methodist Episcopal Church, West Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church (later known as Asbury United Methodist), Second German Methodist Episcopal Church, and some notes about the general conference. The booklet is also full of ads.


History of Cargill Parish House, First Presbyterian Church La Crosse, Wisconsin / written by Mrs. W. J. (Pearl) Philips (1958)

In Celebration, 125th Anniversary: First Presbyterian Church, La Crosse, Wisconsin, May 4 and 5, 1991 (1991)

La Crosse County Historical Sketches, 1931-1955

Congregational and Presbyterian Beginnings in La Crosse / Albert H. Sanford



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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.