La Crosse: Online Resources | Wisconsin Public Television

La Crosse: Online Resources

Explore the following books and Web sites for more insight into La Crosse's history.
History of La Crosse

A History of La Crosse, Wisconsin in the Twentieth Century. 
Personal historians and former La Crosse Tribune reporters Susan T. Hessel and Gayda Hollnagel tell the stories of the people who built La Crosse. 750 pages.

La Crosse History Unbound

La Crosse History Unbound 
Learn more about La Crosse County history through these digitalized collections from La Crosse Public Library and Murphy Library, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. The Public Library has digitized historic city directories, many local and state government documents related to the city and newspaper articles from the La Crosse Tribune. Besides providing access to the pictorial and general histories of La Crosse and locales within the county, Murphy Library has also prepared and presented masters’ theses and seminar papers related to La Crosse. The Murphy Library staff has also tackled some very difficult material to present on the web, such as an early parade film originally mastered on dangerous nitrate film.

Misc links

La Crosse County Historical Society

Preservation Alliance of La Crosse

Hometown Stories: La Crosse

Early history

Early History

Bryant, Benjamin F.  Memoirs of La Crosse County. La Crosse, Wis.:
Brookhaven Press, 1907. <>.

Butterfield, Consul Willshire.  History of La Crosse County, Wisconsin Containing an Account of its Settlement, Growth, Development and Resources : An Extensive and Minute Sketch of its Cities, Towns and Villages-Their Improvements, Industries, Manufactories, Churches, Schools and Societies : Its War Record, Biographical Sketches, Portraits of Prominent Men and Early Settlers. La Crosse, Wis.: University of Wisconsin—La Crosse, 1881. <>.

Draper, Lyman Copeland, LL.D.  Collections of the State Historical Society. Madison, Wis.: The Society, 1909. <>


Hirshheimer, H.J. “La Crosse County Historical Society: Early Jewish Settlers.” La Crosse Tribune & Leader Press 22 Jan. 1933.    <>.

Sanford, Albert H., and H. J. Hirsheimer. A History of La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1841-1900. La Crosse, Wis.: La Crosse County Historical Society, 1951.

Tauscher, James.  A Half Century of Wheat and Tares in Bostwick Valley. Wisconsin: J. Tauscher, 1976. <>.

Toole, Robert C.  Behind the Lines, the La Crosse Packet Company During the Civil War. Boston: Business History Review, 1960.<>.



Boszhardt, Robert.  “Native American Cemeteries.” Web page. La Crosse County Cemeteries. 2000. La Crosse, Wis.: La Crosse Public Library. <>.

Boszhardt, Robert.  “The Great River: A Closer Look.”  River & Road. Web page. 2002. Wisconsin Public Television. <>.

Wisconsin Archaeology Month 2005: Communities at a Crossroads
Throughout Wisconsin’s history, communities have faced challenges and have overcome them by working together and adapting to their new situations. To illustrate the 2005 Archaeology Month theme, the Office of the State Archaeologist chose to highlight the Oneota communities that thrived here in the last millennium before Euro-American contact.



Anfinson, John O. The River We Have Wrought: A History of the Upper Mississippi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003. <>.

Board of Trade and Art Gravure & Etching Co. The City of La Crosse, Wis.: Its Advantages for Residence, Resources and Commercial Progress.  La Crosse, Wis.: The Board, 1892. <>.

Casberg, Selma Sather.  “The Lumbering Industry of La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1841-1905.”  MA thesis.  University of Wisconsin, 1953. <>.

King, Lieut. Col., Corps of Engineers W.R.  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. Washington, D.C: Committee on Rivers and  Harbors, 1897.

Sanford, Albert H., and H. J. Hirsheimer. A History of La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1841-1900. La Crosse, Wis.: La Crosse County Historical Society, 1951.

Spicer & Buschman. “The Brush Electric Light Company.” The Industries of La Crosse, Wisconsin.  La Crosse, Wis.: Spicer & Buschman, 1888.

Wisconsin Historical Society. “Davidson, William Fuson ‘Commodore’ 1825-1887.” Dictionary of Wisconsin History.  Madison, Wis.: Wisconsin Historical Society, 2007. <

Work, John L. Cargill Beginnings: An Account of Early Years.Minneapolis: Cargill, 1965.

Medicine Men

Medicine Men

Doerflinger, William.  “White Beaver’s March”.  La Crosse, Wis.:Doerflinger, William, 1884. <
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Hebberd, Mary Hardgrove.  “Notes on Dr. David Franklin Powell, Known as ‘White Beaver.’”  Wisconsin Magazine of History 36 (Summer 1952). <>.

Hebberd, Mary Hardgrove.  “Notes on the Medical Practice of Dr. David Franklin Powell.”  Wisconsin Magazine of History 36 (Spring 1953). <>.

Hessel, Susan T. Medicine, the Gundersen Experience, 1891-1991. La Crosse, Wis.: Gundersen Clinic, Ltd., 1991.<>.

Johannsen, Albert. “The Authors and Their Novels: Powell, Dr. Frank.”The House of Beadle & Adams and its Dime and Nickel Novels: The Story of a Vanished Literature.  Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1950.  <>.

Layton, Gerald A. “La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1862-1882; Crime, the Police Court, the Newspapers.” Seminar paper. Department of History, University of Wisconsin—La Crosse. 1971<>.

“Physician is Father of Family of Doctors.”  Milwaukee Journal 4 May 1930.<>.

Schlicht, Clarence L., “Political Career of White Beaver Powell, Mayor of La Crosse, Wisconsin,” UW – La Crosse Seminar Paper 1966 <>.

Sorg, Eric V. Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief : The Life of White Beaver Powell, Buffalo Bill's Blood Brother. Austin, Tex.: Eakin Press, 2002.



Anfinson, John O. The River We Have Wrought: A History of the Upper Mississippi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003.


Handy, Jam Organiztion, “Autolite on Parade,” a tour of Electric Autolite’s 23 plants, finishing with a stop-motion product parade. 

La Crosse Plow Works. Illustrated Catalogue. La Crosse, Wisconsin: La Crosse Plow Works, 1885. <>

La Crosse Rubber Mills Company.  The Manufacture of Rubber Footwear: An Illustrated Story of Rubber from its Growth to the Finished Product.  La Crosse, Wis.: The Company, 1925.<>

Lindner, Barbara Jane.  “Working-class Culture and Unionization in North La Crosse, Wisconsin.” Ph.D. thesis.  Bowling Green State University, 1983.

Miller, Stanley N.  A History of La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1900-1950.  Ph.D. dissertation.  George Peabody College for Teachers.  Aug. 1959.  <>.

Nolen, John.  The Making of a Park System in La Crosse: Report. La Crosse, Wis.: Inland Printing Co., 1911. <>.

“Pancho Villa’s Boy.”  Time 16 March 1953. <,9171,935872-1,00.html>.

Trane Company.  “History.”  Web page. 2007. <>.

Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

College Town

College Town

Bertelsen, Kevin and Winrich, Mary Fran. Celebrate 75
University of Wisconsin—La Crosse. La Crosse, Wis.: The University, 1985. <>.

The Rag-Tag and the Bobtail / John B. Coleman, 1971

Hessel, Susan T. and Hollnagel, Gayda.  A History of La Crosse, Wisconsin in the Twentieth Century.  La Crosse:  The La Crosse County Historical Society, 2007.

Early history

Ebb & Flow

Amlaw, Patrick.  “Contested Memories: G. Heileman Brewery, Working-Class Leisure, and the Origins of Oktoberfest in La Crosse.” University of La Crosse Journal of Undergraduate Research 8 (2005): 1-6. <>

City of LaCrosse, “La Crosse Wins Great American Main Street Award.”  Web page. 8 Apr. 2002 <>.

Downtown Mainstreet, Inc. “The Mission of Downtown Mainstreet.”  Web page. 2006. <>.

Fisher, Robert G.  Port of La Crosse Harbor Plan, prepared by the Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission for the La Crosse County Harbor Commission and La Crosse City Harbor Commission.  La Crosse, Wis.: Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission, 1999. <>.

Klaus, William D. “An Impact Study of Harborview Plaza, La Crosse, Wisconsin.”  Seminar paper. The Graduate School, University of Wisconsin—La Crosse, May 1974. <>

Koeller, Paul D., and David H. DeLano. Brewed with Style: The Story of the House of Heileman. La Crosse, Wis.: University of Wisconsin—La Crosse Foundation, Inc., 2004.

General Resources

Editing a promotional video.

Hessel, Susan T. and Hollnagel, Gayda.  A History of La Crosse, Wisconsin in the Twentieth Century.  La Crosse:  The La Crosse County Historical Society, 2007.

La Crosse History Unbound.  La Crosse Public Library and Murphy Library, UW-La Crosse.  <>.

La Crosse Public Library. “La Crosse City Directories.” <>.

La Crosse Public Library and Murphy Library, UW-La Crosse.  “History of an Urban Wetland.”  Web page.  2005. <>.

Larson, Margaret, “For the Common Good: A History of Women's Roles in La Crosse County, 1920 – 1980,” League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area. <>

Lee, Charles; Van Alstine, Rachel; Otto, Jennifer and Przybylski, Heather. “La Crosse, Wisconsin: An Ecological History, 2004.” La Crosse, Wis.: University of Wisconsin—La Crosse. 2004. <>.

Marcou, David J., “Spirit of La Crosse: A Grassroots History,” La Crosse, Wis.: D. J. Marcou: Western Wisconsin Technical College, 2000.

Nissen, Ruth. “Miles of Isles: Restoring Island Habitat in the Broad Expanse of the Upper Mississippi River Benefits Fish, Wildlife and Local Communities.”  Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine Oct. 2005. <>.

Rausch, Joan M.  Historic La Crosse Architectural and Historic Record: A Summary of an Intensive Survey Report Prepared for City Planning Department, City of La Crosse, Wisconsin.  La Crosse, Wis.: Architectural Researches, Inc. and Historical Resources, Inc., 1984. <>.

Sanford, Albert H., and H. J. Hirsheimer. A History of La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1841-1900. La Crosse, Wis.: La Crosse County Historical Society, 1951.

United States Census Bureau.  Statistics of Hispanic and Hmong Populations in La Crosse, Wisconsin.  1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000.

University of Wisconsin—La Crosse.  “Digital Resources Authored at Murphy Library and Beyond.”  Web page. 2006.>


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La Crosse: Online Resources

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