Our Stories
The La Crosse Public Library Archives blog includes stories of our local history, updates on the materials in our collections, and information on upcoming events hosted by the Archives department.

— Sep 7, 2021

Roll out the Barrel!

How did La Crosse's Oktoberfest actually start? Some say it began on the golf course in 1960.

— Aug 30, 2021

La Crosse’s German Vereins: Their Rise and Decline, Part 2

When the Great War broke out in 1914, German Americans found themselves sympathizing with their homeland politics, yet firmly identifying as American. When the US left its neutrality behind and joined the conflict in 1917, these German Americans had to decide if they would continue advocating for Germany’s cause, or if they would assimilate into U.S. life.

— Aug 16, 2021

La Crosse's German Vereins: Their Rise and Decline, Part 1

La Crosse is known to have strong German roots, thanks to things like the brewing industry and the large annual Oktoberfest celebration. But how did early, first-generation German immigrants socialize and preserve their culture? They created Vereins—societies and clubs.

— Jul 21, 2021

Pass the Potatoes, Please

In 1912, three McKenzie brothers and their father, bought a defunct manufacturing company on La Crosse's North Side, and launched into producing implements for the cultivation of potatoes.

— Jul 6, 2021

The Rubber Mills Blues

"It was just blue in there!" reported Herman Tietz, as he described working in the La Crosse Rubber Mills factory on days where they cured rubber in the ovens. Tietz worked at the factory starting in 1908—just over a decade after the Rubber Mills opened.

— Jun 22, 2021

Pamperin Cigar Company

The Pamperin Cigar Company, recognized regionally and nationally for its excellent tobacco products, operated in downtown La Crosse for over 120 years.

— Jun 9, 2021

Burns Park: A Community Legacy

Timothy Burns, a native of Dublin, Ireland, was an important figure in La Crosse's early development. Despite his early death at age 33, his contributions are memorialized in the naming of Burns Park.

— May 25, 2021

La Crosse's Struggle for Safe Water

The city’s first waterworks was designed mainly for fire protection.

— May 10, 2021

Prosper Steves and Loretto the Cork Woman

Prosper Steves, flower seller and creator of the fountains and landscaping in Oak Grove Cemetery, is one of the many lesser-known early La Crosse pioneers.

— Apr 27, 2021

Historic La Crosse Fire Stations

Take a photo journey through past and present fire stations.

— Apr 12, 2021

1947 Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against Hotel Stoddard

In 1946, Black delegates traveled to La Crosse from all over the Midwest to attend a labor union conference. They stayed at the Stoddard Hotel, where they experienced racial discrimination. In a 1947 court case, one of these Black delegates, James Tate, won $25 in damages against Hotel Stoddard.

— Mar 29, 2021

Trane Company and the Nuclear Age

During World War II, the Trane Company switched from the manufacture of U. S. residential, commercial and industrial heating and cooling systems to wartime production thanks to local women joining the workforce and filling the jobs left open when men left to join the war effort.






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