A Viewer's Guide to Dark La Crosse Stories

Posted by Scott on October 11, 2021

What is Dark La Crosse?

Dark La Crosse is a suite of programs that look at the seedier side of La Crosse history. The program started as a walking tour, and quickly became a variety-style stage show, a trolley tour, and now a podcast and videocast. Each of the vignettes that were at one point performed on stage or on a tour are now streamable through a collaboration between LPL Archives and La Crosse Tribune: Dark La Crosse Stories.

How to Access Dark La Crosse Stories

In total, there are 50 episodes, each typically about 10-15 minutes long. There are multiple ways to access them (all free), but the recommended format is video so viewers can use the primary source visuals on screen, which help tell the stories. These are newspaper headlines, historic photographs, and even maps juxtaposed with our modern-day environment so you can understand where these events in history took place.

To access the videos, go to the

La Crosse Public Library YouTube playlist.

You can also listen to audio-only versions of each episode on:

Rivertown Production

FOX 25|48 and WIProud produced a short documentary called Rivertown, which took three Dark La Crosse Stories episodes and made them into dramatic reenactments, narrated by local historians. Each of the following pieces of this documentary can be found on their website.

Dark La Crosse Stories

Episode Guide

Accidents & Disasters

  • Ep 19: The Day All Hell Broke Loose
  • Ep 29: 1927 Jail Break Had Tragic Consequences
  • Ep 38: Tragedy on the Docks
  • Ep 42: The Great Fire of 1886

Bad Romance

  • Ep 2: Jealousy & Revenge
  • Ep 7: Unrequited Love
  • Ep 21: Murder Most Foul
  • Ep 30: The Nine Husbands of Emma Cameron
  • Ep 34: The Ballad of Brinkman Ridge Part 1
  • Ep 35: The Ballad of Brinkman Ridge Part 2
  • Ep 36: The Mistress
  • Ep 39: Love at First Shot
  • Ep 40: Lucky Lindy and the Widow Murder
  • Ep 46: The Boss Bigamist

 

Biographies

  • Ep 11: Frankie La Salle
  • Ep 16: Rough-and-Tumble Detective Coady
  • Ep 22: Dr. Frank Powell, the City’s Greatest Showman
  • Ep 25: Long Ago Newspaper Editor Accused of Treason
  • Ep 30: The Nine Husbands of Emma Cameron
  • Ep 31: George Brooks’ Bloodhounds Had a Nose For Solving Crimes
  • Ep 47: The Big Fellow
  • Ep 49: A Celebrated Recluse I
  • Ep 50: A Celebrated Recluse II

 

Complete Lawlessness

  • Ep 1: Jailbreak
  • Ep 6: Prohibition in La Crosse
  • Ep 9: A Close Shave
  • Ep 23: The Secret Killer of Officer Donndelinger
  • Ep 27: La Crosse’s Darkest Hour
  • Ep 28: La Crosse’s Darkest Hour Part 2
  • Ep 29: 1927 Jail Break Had Tragic Consequences
  • Ep 41: Death on the Tracks
  • Ep 43: Officer Down!
  • Ep 45: La Crosse’s Drug Problem
  • Ep 47: The Big Fellow

 

Ghost Stories

  • Ep 2: Jealousy & Revenge
  • Ep 5: Railway Ghost
  • Ep 33: The Bodega Ghost
  • Ep 44: Specters in the Night

 

Most Macabre

  • Ep 2: Jealousy & Revenge
  • Ep 3: North Side Body Snatchers
  • Ep 7: Unrequited Love
  • Ep 10: The Pit on French Island
  • Ep 17: The Disappearance of Evelyn Hartley
  • Ep 21: Murder Most Foul
  • Ep 27: La Crosse’s Darkest Hour
  • Ep 28: La Crosse’s Darkest Hour Part 2
  • Ep 36: The Mistress
  • Ep 44: Specters In the Night

 

Murders

  • Ep 2: Jealousy & Revenge
  • Ep 4: Sensational Trial
  • Ep 12: Guilty Soldier on the Run
  • Ep 14: Murder on the River
  • Ep 15: Murder in the Mormon Coulee
  • Ep 20: The Mystery of Dr. McLoone
  • Ep 21: Murder Most Foul
  • Ep 24: 1859 Scuffle Over Property Rights Turned Deadly
  • Ep 27: La Crosse’s Darkest Hour
  • Ep 28: La Crosse’s Darkest Hour Part 2
  • Ep 32: The Pearl Button Murder
  • Ep 34: The Ballad of Brinkman Ridge Part 1
  • Ep 35: The Ballad of Brinkman Ridge Part 2
  • Ep 36: The Mistress
  • Ep 40: Lucky Lindy and the Widow Murder
  • Ep 41: Death on the Tracks
  • Ep 43: Officer Down!

 

North La Crosse

  • Ep 3: North Side Body Snatchers
  • Ep 5: The Railway Ghost
  • Ep 32: The Pearl Button Murder
  • Ep 41: Death on the Tracks
  • Ep 44: Specters in the Night
  • Ep 46: The Boss Bigamist

 

On the Lighter Side

  • Ep 6: Prohibition in La Crosse
  • Ep 8: The Enticer
  • Ep 9: A Close Shave
  • Ep 13: South Side Counterfeiter
  • Ep 18: The Black Maria and Other Stories
  • Ep 22: Dr. Frank Powell, the City’s Greatest Showman
  • Ep 25: Long Ago Newspaper Editor Accused of Treason
  • Ep 30: The Nine Husbands of Emma Cameron
  • Ep 31: George Brooks’ Bloodhounds Had a Nose For Solving Crimes
  • Ep 37: Cameron House Bear and Other Stories
  • Ep 39: Love at First Shot
  • Ep 46: The Boss Bigamist

 

Red-Light District

  • Ep 4: Sensational Trial
  • Ep 11: Frankie La Salle
  • Ep 21: Murder Most Foul
  • Ep 48: Red Light District

 

Staff Picks

  • Ep 10 The Pit on French Island
  • Ep 19: The Day All Hell Broke Loose
  • Ep 25: Long Ago Newspaper Editor Accused of Treason
  • Ep 31: George Brooks’ Bloodhounds Had a Nose For Solving Crimes
  • Ep 37: Cameron House Bear and Other Stories
  • Ep 38: Tragedy on the Docks
  • Ep 39: Love at First Shot

 

Unsolved Mysteries

  • Ep 3: North Side Body Snatchers
  • Ep 17: The Disappearance of Evelyn Hartley
  • Ep 20: The Mystery of Dr. McLoone
  • Ep 43: Officer Down!
  • Ep 49: A Celebrated Recluse I
  • Ep 50: A Celebrated Recluse II
If you have any questions about Dark La Crosse, please contact the LPL Archives at (608) 789-7136 or archives@lacrosselibrary.org.