Elmer & Tenney Captured Scenes of La Crosse in 1880s

Posted by Anita on June 21, 2013

(written by Anita Doering, Archives Staff)

A stereo view card contains two offset photographic images produced simultaneously with a camera that has two lenses, spaced a certain distance apart, similar to human eyes.  When viewed in a stereo viewer, these photographic cards seem much more three dimensional.

One area photography studio that produced these was Hoard and Tenney from Winona who operated from roughly 1871-1879.  Tenney then partnered with Elmer and were known as Elmer and Tenney from 1880 until the early 1890s.  This studio took a series of stereo views (or stereoscopic cards) of La Crosse in 1880-1881 titled “Views in La Crosse, Wis., and Vicinity,” and the La Crosse Public Library Archives has a fairly complete set of these.  One official set has numbers on the front and corresponding verso presumably to represent the firms’ negative number for reproduction. 

Sometimes you will find instead of a list of possible views in the set, a general discussion of La Crosse that seems to be enticing people to come live and work in La Crosse.  When you spot these, you really do have a find because we believe these were special custom views that homeowners contracted with Elmer & Tenney to do.

An example here was purchased for the Archives from the online auction eBay by a donor.  It is of the George Peck House at 205 9th Street South which still stands today, although altered in appearance.  This view is from 1881:


And the current view was taken in 2011 by Dr. Leslie Crocker: