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.

— May 6, 2024

Footsteps of La Crosse Website Launch

Footsteps of La Crosse is a project that makes historic & architectural walking tours accessible for folks looking to learn more about the history of La Crosse’s built environment and the people who shaped it. In May 2024, a new Footsteps website was launched with new features.

— May 6, 2024

Neighbors Making History: The Tesson Family - Life and Death on the Water

Frank H. Tesson, was a veteran boat pilot and captain during the heyday of steam boating on the Mississippi River. Frank B. Tesson met his death on distant seas in one of the most well-known disasters of the 20th century.

— Apr 18, 2024

Keeping Up Appearances: A Story of Blended Styles

Doubt loomed great over a caption on an old photograph written long ago with an ink pen that said, “Dwelling erected by the Rev. John C. Sherwin on NW corner of Cameron Ave. & 10th St.” Was the caption written with a shaky hand correct?

— Mar 12, 2024

Architectural Styles and Revivals: Religious Romanesque

The most obvious feature in the Romanesque style is the round arch, rather than the Gothic pointed arch. Round arches require more massive walls to restrain the load above them, so the Romanesque interiors were often rather dark with a few small windows placed high up in churches.

— Mar 12, 2024

Architectural Styles and Revivals: Romanesque Revival Homes

The Romanesque Revival was all about masses and large-scale forms. Most houses don't have the size to show the style well.

— Mar 1, 2024

Architectural Styles and Revivals: Romanesque Revival Commercial Buildings

Commercial buildings were large enough to make use of the Romanesque Revival style. In La Crosse, the two largest use no decoration, while the smaller one uses relief sculpture to enliven the surface.

— Feb 28, 2024

Architectural Styles and Revivals: Romanesque Revival Public Buildings

The Romanesque revival was based on church architecture, mostly in France and Spain, from the period of 950-1100 CE. The name means “like that in Rome” or in the Roman Empire.

— Jan 29, 2024

Architectural Styles and Revivals: The Colonial Revival

During the 1876 U.S. Centennial celebrations, the old argument that the United States needed an “American” architecture was resurrected, but what at first seemed clear-cut and definable, soon changed into another catch-all style. By 1876, the various revival styles and the pseudo-revivals were well-known and documented, but relatively little was known about house types before the revolution.

— Jan 22, 2024

Architectural Styles and Revivals: The Queen Anne Style

This style, as developed and named by Richard Norman Shaw in England in the late 19th-century, claimed to be based on design elements used in the time of the English monarch Queen Anne. As the style moved to the United States, it lost many of medieval elements.

— Jan 15, 2024

Architectural Styles and Revivals: The Second Empire Style

The Second Empire style features include the mansard roof with dormer windows, decorative brackets, columns, paired columns, half columns, triangular pediments, curved pediments, decorative window crests; the more complex, the better. Even though few examples of either remain, La Crosse had more Second Empire designs than most Midwestern communities.

— Jan 10, 2024

Architectural Styles and Revivals: The Italianate Style

Though commonly referred to in architecture conversations, often used for any building with a bracket, the Italianate style is almost entirely a domestic style. There are very few public, religious, or commercial examples of the style in the United States and none in La Crosse.

— Dec 19, 2023

Looking Back (2023)

A look back at the local history stories shared by the La Crosse Public Library Archives in 2023.






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