How Old is My House?

Posted by Scott on June 4, 2018

(written by Megan, Archives staff)

If you live in the city of La Crosse, the La Crosse Public Library Archives can probably help answer this question.  The Archives collections include city directories, city tax records, water tap records and other resources that can help you find out the story of your house.  While it is always possible to find an old photograph of your house, it can be a challenge.  Sometimes the history of your house can come full circle.

In 1896 George Northrop spent $2,500.00 ($74,721.44 in 2017 dollars) to build a frame house at 2112 Cass Street. He quickly sold it to Adolph Frederick, who worked for the C. Colman Lumber Company. The 1898 La Crosse City Atlas, Plate 18, shows the outline of a house on that property.


Image from 1898 City Atlas (blue highlight and street names in orange added for clarity)

A later owner, Ole L. Nelson, appears to have “split” the house at 2112 Cass by turning it into a duplex so that two names are listed at that address starting with the 1911 La Crosse city directory. Ole L. Nelson also added city water to the house in 1915, and then sold the house to Joseph R. Wolford and his wife, Bertha.

Starting in 1924 the house appears under its current address of 2140 Cass Street. The apartment started showing up as 2140 ½ in the 1948 La Crosse city directory.  Joseph and Bertha Wolford sold the house to Clarence and Rosemary Lechnir.  Rosemary’s heirs sold the house to a firm that owned and managed rental property. The apartment 2140 ½ became 2138 in 2004 when the city undertook a renumbering project to rid the city of ½ address numbers.  Now, the house is once again occupied by its owners.


 2140 Cass St, 2018

If you live in the city of La Crosse and are interested in the history of your house come down to the La Crosse Public Library Archives with whatever information you have. There may be hidden history waiting to be discovered.