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Guide to the La Crosse, Wisconsin, Committee on Street Lighting, Resolutions and Reports Relating to Street Lighting, 1870-1932
La Crosse Series 023
Table of Contents
- Resolutions and reports from the Committee on Street Lighting to the Common Council, 1870-1932. The materials are arranged by broad subject; therein, chronologically. There isn’t any further indexing to this collection at this time other than what the City Clerk has on index cards. The reports are mostly requests for street lighting, with some resolutions covering the proposed Municipal Lighting Plant and other materials, such as bids for monthly lighting of the street lights and financial statements.
- Collection Title
- La Crosse, Wisconsin, Committee on Street Lighting, Resolutions and Reports Relating to Street Lighting
- Date of Materials
- La Crosse (Wis.). Committee on Street Lighting.
- Call Number
- La Crosse Series 023
- 1.6 cubic feet
- Physical Description
- 4 archives boxes
- Language of Materials
- La Crosse Public Library Archives
[Identification of item], La Crosse, Wisconsin, Committee on Street Lighting, Resolutions and Reports Relating to Street Lighting, La Crosse Series 023, La Crosse Public Library Archives, La Crosse, WI
Kerosene lamp posts were erected in La Crosse in 1861 at the corners of State, Main, and Pearl streets, where they crossed First (Front), Second, and Third streets.(1) In 1869, gas lights were installed on Third street at the intersections of King, Cameron Avenue, and Pine streets, and “a few other corners.”
In 1882, the Brush Electric Light and Power Co. installed arc towers at Eighth and Vine, Fifth and King, Tenth and Cass, and Seventh and Jackson streets. The last of these towers was removed in 1928.(2) The arc lights required frequent maintenance, and were 150 feet high, carrying three 2000-candlepower lights. The towers were three cornered, built of iron or steel pipe, and were cross-braced. In 1902, the Brush Electric Light and Power Co. merged with two other private utility companies to become La Crosse Gas and Electric Co. Although a Municipal Lighting Plant had been suggested, citizens voted the idea down.
The “Great White Way” came to La Crosse in October 1910, thanks in large part to the leadership of John C. Toeller, Fred Heil, and Peter Newburg.(3) In January 1910, Toeller, at that time manager of Doerflinger’s Department Store, made a trip to Minneapolis and saw the high quality street lighting there. By June, the Merchants’ Protective Association was involved in canvassing signatures of store and residence owners along the proposed route. The group made a proposal to the Common Council to install the new standards and promised $10,000 of citizen money for the project.
Ten months later, the city of La Crosse installed Flour City Ornamental Iron Works standards to replace the arc lamp system in the downtown area. This “Great White Way” extended from Sixth to Third streets on Main; from Main to Jay on Fourth Street; and from Fourth to Third on Pearl Street. A parade, speeches, and a lighting ceremony took place downtown on Oct. 31, 1910. Eventually these spread throughout the city.
------- (1) Albert H. Sanford and H.J. Hirshheimer, A History of La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1841-1900 (La Crosse, Wis. : La Crosse County Historical Society), 1951, p. 187.
(2) Ibid., p.188.
(3) See the clipping file under the subject heading Streets-General.
Scope and Contents
Common Council resolutions and reports began to be organized by a numbering system in Dec. 1932. Before that time the resolutions were kept folded up in chronological order, roughly by subject or Council committee (such as Parks, Judiciary, Fire, Police, etc.). This set of pre-1932 resolutions represents those labeled as Street Lighting, and date from 1870-1932.
The original order of these reports was not completely maintained, although it is largely in chronological order. In arranging this series, the resolutions were grouped together by three broad subjects: Municipal Lighting Plant (1893-1919), Requests for Street Lighting (1870-1932), and Other (1870-1932). The majority of the records are comprised of the requests for street lighting, with the items labelled 'Other' including bids for lighting the street lamps, providing oil, or gas, and the like.
La Crosse Public Library Archives 1998 July800 Main St.
La Crosse, Wisconsin, 54601
Access to Materials
Materials in this collection are available for patron use.
(Accession no. 1996.004) Resolutions were located in the City Clerk’s basement area of City Hall; came to the Archives as part of the Mayor’s Special Committee on Historic Records, Dec. 1996
Processed by Anita Taylor Doering with assistance from Jaime Dechant, July 1998
- (La Crosse Series 011)
- La Crosse, Wisconsin, Committee on Streets and Alleys, Resolutions and Reports Relating to Streets and Alleys
Controlled Access Headings
- La Crosse (Wis.). Common Council.
- Municipal government--Wisconsin--La Crosse
- Public records--Wisconsin--La Crosse
- Street lighting--Wisconsin--La Crosse
Municipal Lighting Plant, 1893-1919
Requests for street lighting, 1870-1932