The Colonial Golf Club Took Flight in the 1930s

Posted by Anita on June 14, 2022

(written by Anita Taylor Doering, Archives Staff)

Joseph and his wife Mary Leidel bought the land that became the Colonial Golf Club in 1931.


A close-up of the title/abstract to the former Colonial Golf Club grounds, 1947 La Crosse Public Library Archives (MISC MSS 191)

Joe dealt in poultry and other farm-related goods and lived on rural Mormon Coulee Road, across from the WKBH radio tower.  By June 1934, the Colonial Golf Club was open for business.


The Colonial Golf Club was open by June 1934.  A tavern or night club was associated with the course called the Colonial Club.  It changed names to the Esquire in 1938.  La Crosse Tribune, June 29, 1934, p.13

By the following season, J. E. Austin, chairman of the membership committee, led a meeting inviting the public to discuss “the club program for the coming season, election of officers and appointment of committees in both men’s and ladies’ clubs.”  Officers elected were A. H. Mueller, president; Dewey Busse, vice-president; Glen Rist, secretary-treasurer.  Committees formed were tournament, handicap and entertainment.  Plans were underway at that time for a women’s club.  The public course opened on May 12, 1935, at sunrise, and had a more formal fee structure.


Golf was a popular sport in La Crosse at this time.  Public courses allowed the general public to participate in it at a reasonable cost. La Crosse Tribune, May 10, 1935, p.10


Here are some scenes from the newspaper of the clubhouse and part of the course in 1936.  La Crosse Tribune, April 19, 1936, p14


1938 aerial photo of the area including Colonial Golf Course, with modern streets identified and the clubhouse highlighted.  Click on the image for larger view. Base photo courtesy of the Wisconsin Historic Aerial Image Finder project.


An undated score card from the nine-hole Colonial Golf Course from the collection of the La Crosse Public Library Archives.  Click image for larger view.



The estate needed to be settled after Joe Leidel’s death.  La Crosse Tribune, May 31, 1942, p12


Joe Leidel died in 1940 and the land was divided between his siblings.  To settle the estate, they sold it. Eventually Giles and Juanita Leonard bought it, turning it into Robinsdale Addition in the Town of Shelby.  But the clubhouse was retained and leased to Andy Skaff, followed by Ray Kruger and Roy Wasmuth.  Wasmuth bought the building and added a bowling alley to the original clubhouse.


La Crosse Tribune, May 31, 1942, p12


A view of the former South Lanes Bowling & Pizza building at 4107 Mormon Coulee Road. Image from Facebook page of South Lanes Bowling & Pizza, May 26, 2021.


While the Colonial Golf Club didn’t last quite a decade, the clubhouse lived on as the South Lanes Bowling Alley until the building was demolished in 2020 to make room for a Caribou Cabin coffee shop.  South Lanes Pizza LLC purchased the pizza business including equipment and recipes from the owners of South Lanes Bowling & Pizza, and opened up a new restaurant in the Village Shopping Center. The grand opening took place October 24, 2021.