The La Crosse County Historical Society in Wisconsin consists of far more than simply the collection of artifacts it has in its possession. The organization owns and manages the Historic Hixon House, and is also responsible for curating various exhibits at the Riverside Museum. The Historical Society also provides the community with special events and educational programs year-round that aim to bring the history of La Crosse County to life for the entire region. The group plans something for all history enthusiasts.

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The mission of the La Crosse County Historical Society is to enrich the lives of the community through engaging with the region of La Crosse County’s history. The organization was founded in the year 1925, and was incorporated in the year 1939. The goal was to collect all kinds of historical artifacts and materials related to the history of La Crosse, and to use these to encourage the sharing of knowledge about the region’s history. This original purpose of the La Crosse County Historical Society is still the foundation of what the group believes today, however, they also believe that there is much more for the organization to achieve.

The Riverside Museum houses a collection of artifacts from the La Crosse County Historical Society that are on display for public viewing. These artifacts cover a wide range of local history, including that of steamboats, logging, settlers, pearl button making, and prehistory from the Archeology Center of the Mississippi Valley among much more. During the museum’s open season, visitors can explore the Riverside Museum as a self-guided tour. Guided tours are also provided throughout the year by calling the organization in advance to schedule a tour. The museum is open to the public from Memorial Day until Labor Day, every day of the week, and tickets can be purchased from the La Crosse Historical Society’s website.

Groups tours for visitors of all ages for both the Historic Hixon House and the Riverside Museum can be scheduled by contacting the office of the La Crosse Historical Society. Adults and children alike will enjoy the history of the river, as well as the War Eagle artifacts. Guides are often available for tours at the museum, or visitors and small groups can choose to explore on their own as a self-guided tour. The Historic Hixon House, a home constructed by Gideon Hixon, is a tour led by a docent of the La Crosse Historical Society that is great for group of all ages.

The collection of War Eagle artifacts held by the La Crosse Historical Society totals more than six hundred and fifty items. This artifact collection is reminiscent of the terrible tragedy that occurred in 1870: the sinking of the War Eagle, a Wisconsin steamer. The sinking of the ship, however, is only a portion of the local history that is represented in these fascinating artifacts. The story of how these items were retrieved from beneath the water’s surface and how they eventually came to be at the Riverside Museum is an interesting story in itself.

14 West Avenue South, La Crosse, Wisconsin, Phone: 608-782-1980

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