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Guide to the Historic Commercial La Crosse, Wisconsin Slides, circa 1890-1917 MSS 022

Guide to the Historic Commercial La Crosse, Wisconsin Slides, circa 1890-1917

MSS 022

Summary Information

Slides made from photographs at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse's Special Collections Department all representing industries and businesses in La Crosse. Most of the photographs predate 1920. Many of the businesses selected are still operating.

Companies that are represented are: Doerflingers, Funke Candy Company, Hebberd's Drug Store, Fred Kroner Hardware Store, La Crosse Rubber Mills (now called La Crosse Footwear), La Crosse Tractor Company, Northern Engraving, Pamperin & Wiggenhorn Cigar Company, W. A. Roosevelt Company, Salzer Seed Company, Segelke-Kohlhaus Manufacturing Company, Trane Company, Exchange State Bank (now Valley Bank), and La Crosse National Bank (now Norwest Bank). The La Crosse Public Library is not authorized to make reproductions of these; patrons need to contact the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse's Special Collections Department for copies.
Collection Title
Historic Commercial La Crosse, Wisconsin Slides
Date of Materials
circa 1890-1917
University of Wisconsin--La Crosse. Special Collections Department.
Call Number
MSS 022
0.2 cubic feet
Physical Description
1 archives box
Language of Materials
La Crosse Public Library Archives

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Historic Commercial La Crosse, Wisconsin Slides, MSS 022, La Crosse Public Library Archives, La Crosse, WI

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Scope and Contents

Slides made from photographs at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse's Special Collections Department all representing industries and businesses in La Crosse. Most of the photographs predate 1920. Many of the businesses selected are still operating.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

La Crosse Public Library Archives 1992 October

800 Main St.
La Crosse, Wisconsin, 54601
(608) 789-7136

Access to Materials

Materials in this collection are available for patron use in-house only. The La Crosse Public Library is not authorized to make reproductions of these; patrons need to contact the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse's Special Collections Department for copies.

Acquisitions Information

(Accession No. 1992.012)

La Crosse Public Library purchased these slides made from the business photograph collection at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Murphy Library's Special Collection Department (Area Research Center), October 1992.

Slides of the Exchange State Bank and the La Crosse National Bank are courtesy of the La Crosse County Historical Society, October 1992.

Processing Information

Processed by Anita Taylor Doering, October 1992.

Existence and Location of Originals

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse's Special Collections Department owns the original images from which these slides were made.

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Related Materials

Related Materials

(Clipping file)
 La Crosse--Businesses--Doerflingers
(Clipping file)
 La Crosse--Industries--Funke Candy Co.
 Industry--Funke Candy Co.
(Clipping file)
 La Crosse--Businesses--Hebberds Drug Store
(Clipping file)
 La Crosse-Businesses-Kroner's True Value
(380.145 F871 1901)
 Fred. Kroner Hardware Company: Heavy Hardware, Iron and Steel, [compiled and edited by Sidney P. Bjorklund]
(Clipping file)
 La Crosse--Industries--La Crosse Footwear
(Clipping file)
 La Crosse--Industries--La Crosse Tractor Company
(Clipping file)
 La Crosse--Industries--Northern Engraving
(Clipping file)
 La Crosse--Industries--Pamperin Cigar Co.
(Clipping file)
 La Crosse--Businesses--W.A. Roosevelt Co.
(Clipping file)
 La Crosse--Industries--Salzer Seeds
(Clipping file)
 La Crosse--Industries--Segelke-Kohlhaus
(Clipping file)
 La Crosse--Industries--Trane Company
(Clipping file)
 La Crosse--Financial Institutions--Valley Bank
(Clipping file)
 La Crosse--Financial Institutions--Norwest

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Controlled Access Headings

Geographic Name(s)

  • La Crosse (Wis.)--Commerce--Slides
  • La Crosse (Wis.)--History--Slides


  • Business enterprises--Wisconsin--La Crosse--Slides
  • Industries--Wisconsin--La Crosse--Slides

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OCLC Number


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Collection Inventory


Historical Note

E. Bosshard and William Doerflinger entered into a partnership August 1, 1881, in order to run a one-story department store on 4th Street, opposite Market Square. Although the business was appropriately named Bosshard & Doerflinger, the shop was nicknamed the Park Store because of its proximity to Cameron Park. Business increased and in 1888 the partners relocated the store to the Funk Building on the corner of 4th and Pearl streets. In 1891, Doerflinger purchased Bosshard's half of the business. Three years later, Doerflinger again moved his enterprise, this time to a building next to the Trade Palace on 4th Street. In 1898 Doerflinger took over the Trade Palace and later the corner store. The department store essentially consumed the entire corner at Main and 4th streets. Archways were constructed to link the buildings. On the night of April 21, 1903, fire broke out in the back of the 4th Street addition and completely destroyed the store. A year later, on April 27, 1904, Doerflinger held a grand opening and honored Mons Anderson, a well known La Crosse merchant. William Doerflinger died in 1926, and John Halik assumed responsibility for the store until his death in 1935. At that time Doerflinger's daughter Viola (Doerflinger) Fellows became president and general manager of the business. Extensive remodeling was done in 1939. Her son, Sam Fellows, assumed control in 1954. Under his reign the store opened two branches at Jackson Plaza and Center 90 (later moved to Valley View Mall). A chapter in La Crosse's history closed when Doerflingers Department Store closed, liquidated its merchandise, and went out of business in 1984.

Box Slide

Doerflinger Park Store delivery vehicle (3 men and a young boy in an electric car), circa 1908 

1 1A

Store front with mannequins (thought to be Doerflinger's), circa 1910-1915 

1 1B

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Funke Candy Company 

Historical Note

The Joseph B. Funke Candy Company began in 1880 when J. Schreiber and M. Kratchwil entered into the candy making business. In 1882 Kratchwil withdrew and two years later Joseph B. Funke formed a partnership with Schreiber. The operation was located at the end of Main Street and it employed just a few men in the early days. Funke bought out Schreiber's part in 1887 and three years later the business was incorporated as the Joseph B. Funke Company. The facility moved to larger quarters on Second Street, between Main and Pearl, and Funke became one of the largest employers in La Crosse. Expansion continued and a new factory was built in 1898 on the site where Nathan Myrick constructed the first log cabin in La Crosse in 1842. The company pioneered many processes dealing with the manufacture of chocolates and had to overcome problems such as the lack of cooling mechanisms. In 1927 the chocolates were still dipped by hand because the machinery method, according to company officials, produced chocolates of lesser quality. The factory closed in 1933.

Box Slide

Interior of the Joseph B. Funke Company (women dipping chocolates at their tables), circa 1900 

1 2A

Exterior of the company at 200-204 No. Front St., circa 1930 

1 2B

Store display of a "No. 306-C Novelty Deal; 30 boxes cost $18.00" from a photographic album 

1 2C

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Hebberd's Drug Store 

Historical Note

Hebberds Drug Store was the oldest operating business in La Crosse when it closed in 1957. The corner retail drug store opened for business in April 1852 when the city of La Crosse counted only 300 residents. The business, owned by George Hoare and S.D. Hastings, was originally located at the corner of Front and State streets across from the cabin built by Nathan Myrick, the original white settler. Later the store was moved to the corner of Main and Fourth streets. George Hoare changed his name to Howard.

After Howard's death, his son Herbert sold the drug store to the Rev. and Mrs. Stephen Southwick Hebberd in 1894. Their son, Edward Smith Hebberd, was put in charge as manager. A soda fountain was added and ice cream was made daily in 10 gallon cans. In 1921 a lunch counter was added and the store was remodeled. Edward worked at the store until his son Arthur began to manage the operation in 1932. In 1957 Edward, by this time 85 years old, and his son Arthur decided to close the store so Arthur could devote his attention full-time to manufactured cosmetics under the Dumont brand.

Box Slide

Thought to be the interior of Hebberd's Drug Store; Steve Streicher is on the right, circa 1905-1910 

1 3A

Store window display at Hebberd's at 331 Main St., circa 1915 

1 3B

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Fred Kroner Hardware Company 

Historical Note

The Fred Kroner Hardware Store started in 1865 when Christian F. Scharpf and Frederick Kroner opened a shop at the southeast corner of State and Front streets. They sold stoves, hardware and agricultural implements. Adam Kroner, founder of the present day Kroner Hardware store, worked for a number of years for his uncle Fred before striking out on his own. The Fred Kroner Hardware store was incorporated in 1893 and about the turn of the century advertised "heavy hardware, iron and steel, wagon makers and blacksmiths' supplies, tools and machines." The business closed in 1948.

Box Slide

Interior of the retail store at 116-118 So. 3rd St. during the 50 year anniversary sale. Potted and decorative plants are arranged throughout the room. A table of crockery is at right, and behind that are two rows of guns racked against the walls., 1915 

1 4A

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La Crosse Rubber Mills (now La Crosse Footwear) 

Historical Note

First organized in 1897, the La Crosse Rubber Mills began manufacturing rubber clothing at 120 So. Front St. Some of the early products included rubber raincoats and horseshoes. By 1906 the board of directors decided to specialize in the production of rubber footwear. In 1912, Albert Hirshheimer and Michael Funk purchased a controlling interest and placed Albert P. and Arthur S. Funk in direct charge of management and operation of the plant. The company employed 150 people and produced 1,200 pairs of shoes daily. By 1916, production had increased to 12,000 pairs a day.

The operation was completely modernized in 1940 and broadened its product line. The company was purchased from shareholders in 1982 by Frank Uhler and George Schneider. The name was changed in 1986 to La Crosse Footwear. The firm now manufactures rubber and vinyl protective footwear for dress, industrial and sporting use. Another plant is located in Claremont, New Hampshire.

Box Slide

Exterior of retail shop at 118-120 So. Front St., circa 1909-1912 

1 5A

Workers, circa 1910 (?) 

1 5B

Aerial view, St. Andrew St. plant, circa 1940 

1 5C

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La Crosse Tractor Company 

Historical Note

La Crosse Tractor Company manufactured Happy Farmer Tractors and was the result of a merger between the Happy Farmer Tractor Company of Minneapolis and the Sta-Rite Engine Company of La Crosse in 1917.

Box Slide

Manufacturers of the Happy Farmer Tractor; men loading a tractor onto a rail car in La Crosse (man in panama hat is Herman J. Kohn; location could be 500 block of No. 3rd St.), 1917 

1 6A

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Northern Engraving 

Historical Note

The Northern Engraving Company was established in October 1908 by Axel R. and Earl W. Olson at 100 S. Front St. The main product was photo engravings called cuts used as printing plates for illustrations in newspapers, magazines, and the like. In 1919 officers of the National Gauge and Equipment Company bought the company to "insure a convenient and reliable source of supply for the millions of dials used in the manufacture of automobile gauges." (La Crosse Tribune, 9-25-1927 p. 1). The manufacture of dials at that time required a lithographic stone or plate, a specialty of photo engravers. By 1927 the factory manufactured many instrument dials for automotive and other industries.

In 1940 the business expanded at S. 2nd and Market streets and employed about 550 workers. During World War II, the plant again increased projection and facilities. The La Crosse plant was closed in 1961 and operations were moved to Sparta. Factories were located in Galesville, West Salem, Holmen, Spring Grove, Minnesota, Waukon and Lansing, Iowa.

Box Slide

Exterior, 100 So. Front St., circa 1917 

1 7A

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Pamperin & Wiggenhorn Cigar Company 

Historical Note

The Pamperin & Wiggenhorn Cigar Factory began humbly in 1866 at 113-115 So. 2nd Street. The manufacture of cigars was big business in La Crosse, and it is estimated that more than 250 cigarmakers were employed in the city. At one time there were 26 cigar factories. In 1903, more than 100 people were employed by Pamperin & Wiggenhorn.

Shortly after 1900, the development of machinery lead to lower prices for cigars and many firms quit the cigar making business. In January 1904, the Wiggenhorns bought out the Pamperin interest, and John Pamperin started up his own business at the original location. Traveling salesmen roamed the region selling cigars.

In 1974 Charles and Marjorie Collins purchased the business from Franklin J. Pamperin, grandson of the firm's founder. The operation closed at the end of 1986.

Box Slide

Men rolling cigars; thought to be the interior of the Pamperin Cigar Co., circa 1890 

1 8A

Employees standing outside "Cigar Factory #1"; 221-223 Main St., circa 1890 (?) 

1 8B

Interior of the La Crosse Cigar Box Company at 114-116 No. Front St.; boxes say "Pamperin Cigar Co.", undated 

1 8C

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W.A. Roosevelt Company 

Historical Note

The W.A. Roosevelt Company, wholesalers of plumbing, heating, air conditioning and electrical appliances, fixtures and parts, has moved from the downtown area but has been in continual operation under the Roosevelt and allied families since 1868.

Box Slide

Exterior 200 No. Front St., Main office 122 So. Front St. (W. A. Roosevelt standing second from left), 1888 

1 9A

Exterior 206 So. Front St., undated 

1 9B

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Salzer Seed Company 

Biographical/Historical Note

The Salzer Seed Company was started by a Methodist minister, John Salzer, who sold his produce to support his 10 children. The buildings were located near Salzer's home at Adams and So. 8th streets. In 1876 the company mailed its first seed catalog. Two years later the company had 4,300 square feet of greenhouse space and sales extended through the Midwest. Nearly 200 people were employed by Salzer during peak seasons and the company grossed $1 million in annual sales.

The business was sold in 1945 to Lester Duryea, a Chicago businessman, as a tax write-off. The Salzer Seed Company continued to operate but business was failing. By the summer of 1958 the property and buildings were sold. Lutheran Hospital renovated one of the buildings as apartments for the elderly while the other buildings were razed in 1988.

Box Slide

Advertisement (calendar cover?), 1915 

1 10A

Men and seedlings in the greenhouse at So. 7th and Adams St., 1915 

1 10B

Exterior of building (1205 So. 7th St.); advertising on side of building says "Sow Salzer Seeds," undated 

1 10C

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Segelke-Kohlhaus Manufacturing Company 

Historical Note

Segelke-Kohlhaus Manufacturing Company was founded in 1857 when S. Sack and C.F. Segelke formed a partnership. They opened a carpenter shop in an alley on the south side of King St., between Front and Second streets. Much of the architectural woodwork in homes and business in La Crosse was produced by this company.

The following year Sack drowned, and Segelke formed a co-partnership with Jacob Kohlhaus and John Kutzborsky. In 1870 a larger facility was constructed at So. 2nd and Cass streets. Business boomed and in 1886 two-story and three-story buildings were erected on 3rd Street between King and Cass streets. In 1892 the company was incorporated, and in 1897 fire consumed the entire factory. Within a year, the Segelke-Kohlhaus Company had rebuilt. In the 1950s demand for custom made woodwork declined and the company went out of business in 1960. The equipment was purchased by Peter Nelson & Son, Inc.

Box Slide

Exterior of building, located at So. 2nd and Cass St., circa 1910 

1 11A

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Trane Company 

Historical Note

James A. Trane gained experience in heating and plumbing supplies while working at the W. A. Roosevelt Company. Trane opened his own business at 320 Pearl St. in 1885 and soon gained a reputation for excellence as a plumber. Reuben Trane, James' son, earned a mechanical engineering degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and joined his father's plumbing firm. In 1913, James and Reuben incorporated The Trane Company.

By 1916, the father and son were no longer in the plumbing business, but rather were focusing their attention on manufacturing heating products. Reuben conceived the idea of the first convector radiator in 1925 which replaced the heavy, bulky, cast-iron radiators that prevailed at the time. Trane's first air conditioning unit was developed in 1931. In 1938 Trane Company launched the Turbovac to air condition large buildings.

The company continued to grow and expand. Manufacturing plants were opened in other U. S. cities, and divisions in foreign countries also grew. Improvements in designs, products and an educated sales force were Trane's hallmarks.

In 1984 Trane was acquired by the American Standard Companies. On February 1, 2007, American Standard Companies announced it would break up its three divisions. The company sold off its namesake kitchen and bath division and spun off WABCO. American Standard's vehicle controls division, while retaining The Trane Company. American Standard then renamed itself Trane, Inc. effective November 28, 2007. On December 17, 2007, Trane announced it had agreed to be acquired by Hamilton, Bermuda-based Ingersoll Rand in a cash and stock transaction. The sale was completed on June 5, 2008.

Box Slide

Exterior "Jas. Trane Plumbing & Heating" located at 320 Pearl St., circa 1892 

1 12A

Union employees (Labor Day parade?) (Pearl and So. 3rd St.?), undated 

1 12B

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Exchange State Bank (now Valley Bank) 

Historical Note

The Exchange State Bank got its start in 1884 thanks to Henry P. and Edwin B. Magill. The bank was located at the corner of Rose and St. Cloud streets, and was incorporated in 1889 with assets totaling $25,000. J.E. Wheeler served as the bank's first president until 1912. Valley Bancorporation bought the Exchange State Bank in 1991.

Box Slide

Exterior, Rose and St. Cloud streets, undated 

1 13A

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La Crosse National Bank (now NorwestBank) 

Historical Note

Incorporated in 1876, the La Crosse National Bank (later known as the National Bank of La Crosse) was located in the vicinity of 2nd and Main streets. In 1881 it was moved to a new building at the southeast corner of 3rd and Main streets designed by C.F. Struck. The bank was reorganized in 1896 with a capital of $250,000. In 1904 the bank bought the German American Bank and added some $600,000 to its assets.

In 1905 the bank again moved, this time to 114 No. 4th Street. The final address became 305 5th Ave. So. in 1958. The bank's name was changed in 1983 to the Norwest Bank after the Northwest Bancorporation purchased the National Bank of La Crosse.

Box Slide

Exterior, undated 

1 14A

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