The LaCrosse Public Library has a significant collection of local historical photos and will continue to post new photos. If anyone has additional information about a photo, please contact the library. Click on the photo to enlarge.
Bird’s Eye View Looking W. of School Tower, LaCrosse
There is scaffolding shown around the brick building which was the bank. The bank was built in 1909. Farther down the street, on the right side, is the Machler Hotel. To the far left is the Bailey Elevator. The two-story home on the right, foreground, is the Dr. Oak home.
Threshing at the Don Hefner Farm
Nicholson Sheppard Sawmill
The first man on the left is unknown. The second man is Walter Stonecipher, brother of Wilford Edward Stonecipher. The third man is Homer Sommerville. The fourth man is Clem Sommerville, father of Ken Sommerville.
They are operating a Nicholson Sheppard Sawmill.
The sign just above and to the right of the horse’s head says “Rowland, Jewel Mixed Paint.” The awning above the people says “Van Buskirk.” The wooden sign at the far right says “Fairbank.”
Help us identify the students in this classroom. The photo might have been taken at LaCrosse about 1925. The boy sitting to the left of the teacher may be Don Knapp.
O. MACHLER EXCHANGE
A 1905 picture of a LaCrosse tavern, the O. Machler Exchange, is shown above. The persons shown are not identified. Like so many of the early buildings, this one was destroyed by fire in 1908. It was replaced by the Machler hotel which burned in 1930.
The 1963 LaCrosse Centennial book states: The Otto Machler saloon was destroyed by a fire in 1908, with Mr. Machler losing his life when the gas lighting system blew up. This fire also destroyed the Schimmel Hotel. The Machler Hotel was erected on the same site as the saloon, and Jerry Miller put up a hotel to replace the Schimmel building. Both were destroyed by fire in 1930. No cause of the fire was determined. Both were located just west of the Pere Marquette railroad on what is now State Road No. 8. Neither building was rebuilt.
Could Mrs. A. Schimmel be Augusta Schimmel, wife of Michael J. Schimmel?
W. Main St. – circa 1920
This photo was taken from the intersection of Highways 421 and 8 – looking west toward the Pere Marquette Railroad. Note the train on the right. On the west side of the tracks is the Machler Hotel.
The Vidette-Messenger, November 11, 1927
The Logansport Pharos-Tribune, September 29, 1930
The Rushville Republican, September 30, 1930
Looking north of the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks on N. Washington Street in LaCrosse. The postmark on this postcard appears to read as Nov. 12, 1909. Note the lady in the middle of the street wearing a long dress and holding an umbrella.
Trains Return to LaCrosse
The trains have come to LaCrosse! Thanks to a generous donation by Paul Koch almost forty replicas of train engines and cars are on display at the LaCrosse Public Library. These are models of the same types of trains that once traveled into and out of LaCrosse. Would you like to learn more about the history of the six railroads that built into LaCrosse? Ron Marquardt compiled all of the information he could find that is an account of the railroad activity in the LaCrosse area during the years 1852 through 1947. The first railroad to build through the area where LaCrosse is now located was the New Albany and Salem Railroad, which later became the Monon, in 1852. Then, in 1861, the Chicago & Cincinnati Railroad built a line north from Logansport to Valparaiso that came through LaCrosse. To learn more details about these two railroads as well as the other four that built into LaCrosse, stop in at the library. This information was presented before the Lion’s Club in 2011 by Ron Marquardt.
Dr. Koch also gave to the library drawings by R. Ramsey Smith of four LaCrosse railroad depots, the Monon, the Chesapeake & Ohio, the Pennsylvania, and the Pere Marquette.
Thanks to these two LaCrosse High School alumni, Paul from the Class of 1961 and Ron from the Class of 1957, for their contribution to the preservation of the history of the railroads in LaCrosse.
DEPOTS AT LACROSSE, IND.
Postcard dated July 5, 1909.
Corner of Michigan & Pennsylvania Streets
According to the 1963 LaCrosse Centennial book, the Benes Elevator was built in 1925 by Stanley Benes and was located directly east of the Benes bakery and store (which later became Ray’s Grill). The elevator was enlarged in 1934. It was owned by Arthur Falter when it was destroyed by fire in 1953. It was never rebuilt. The two gentlemen in the picture are Otto Benes, son of Stanley, on the left, and Harlan “Hoss” Shireman on the right.
This is a sketch by Edna Meyers (Stonecipher) while attending art class at LaCrosse High School during the years of 1933 to 1937.
This was drawn in the 1930s by Helen G. Carter, LaCrosse Art and Music Teacher.
Benes Elevator – by Helen G. Carter
LaCrosse Art and Music Teacher
Benes Elevator by Charles Shireman – 1934
This is another sketch of the Benes Elevator by Charles Shireman.
Old Water Tower
Sketched by Helen Carter
This water tower stood alongside the Chicago, Attica and Southern Railroad. The old timers in the area called this railroad “Coal, Ashes and Soot.” It came into LaCrosse from the southwest direction. In 1947 the 60 year old line to LaCrosse was removed and sold for scrap.
LaCrosse Depot of the Chicago, Attica, and Southern Railroad
Bailey Grain Elevator, LaCrosse, Indiana
According to the 1963 LaCrosse Centennial Book, this elevator was built in 1903. It was destroyed by fire on February 3, 1927, according to the article published in the Michigan City News, page 3.
Bailey Grain Elevator
This sketch of the Bailey Elevator ruins on Front Street was done by Charles Shireman, a 1934 LaCrosse High School graduate.
Dr. David D. Oak and his wife, Lucy (Hyde) Oak
This picture appears to have been taken in the back yard of their home on Main Street. The license plate shows a date of 1915.
Home of Dr. David D. Oak, Sr.
This photo might have been taken in the 1930s. Dr. Oak had a medical practice in the building to the left of the house for fifty years – from 1910 to 1960. Wilbur and Ann Hucker purchased this property from Dr. Oak in 1955. Ann sold the property in 1988. This photo is courtesy of Dr. Robert D. Funkhouser.
Former Medical Building
This photo was taken January 5, 2009.
Written from the memory of Charles “Chuck” Hucker who grew up in the house on the right: The main floor of the medical building was the office of Dr. David D. Oak, Sr. from 1910 until his retirement in 1960. As you walked into the porch, one door went to the right. This front room was the waiting room. Leading from the waiting room was a hallway. The first door to the right led into the doctor’s working area. A door on the left went into the doctor’s private office. The second door on the left went into the doctor’s operating room or surgical room. A second door to the right went into a small washroom. The third door on the right went into a prep room where medications were stored. This room held a sink which did not have running water. Instead a large hand pitcher pump was used. The door on the north end of that room went down to a landing which would lead to an outside door. From the landing you could walk down into the basement where the doctor stored many large bottles of pills.
From the porch, a second door led to a stairway to the second floor and the two-room dental office of Dr. Ira D. Funkhouser who practiced from 1914 until 1963. In the late 1960s this second-floor front office was occupied by an attorney, Arthur Roule.
At the back of the second floor was an apartment occupied by Dr. Oak’s nurse whose name was Mary MacDonald.
Ira and Catherine Funkhouser
This photo was taken in 1963 at the front of their two-story home on the corner of Main Street (Highway 8) and Indiana Ave. Dr. Funkhouser had a dental office on the second floor of Dr. Oak’s office building on Main Street. Ira was the only dentist the town of LaCrosse ever had.
The following information was copied from the book, Funkhouser 2000, written by Robert D. Funkhouser: “During Ira’s senior year at dental school, he had seen an advertisement placed by a young physician from LaCrosse, Indiana. Dr. David D. Oak had just built a new office building and had room for a dental office. Ira traveled to LaCrosse to meet Dr. Oak and look at the town. He liked both, so after graduation, he moved to LaCrosse to establish his dental practice. He lived with Dr. and Mrs. (Lucy) Oak next door to his office. When the United States entered World War I in 1917, Ira enlisted in the Army Dental Corps and was sent to France. After the war, Ira returned to LaCrosse to resume his dental practice in 1919. He met his wife who was teaching eighth grade in LaCrosse. She roomed during the week in the house that she and Ira would later buy. Ira and Catherine were married on July 2, 1924. They had two children, Paul William and Robert David.”
This is Mary Pauline Mathews, sister of William E. “Bill” Mathews, about 1937, in front of their father’s cream station. It was located just north of Sheely’s grocery store. Their father, whose name was William Albert Mathews, ran a cream route in the summer and a coal route in the winter. The business ended in the early 1940s when farmers switched from cream to milk because refrigeration became more available. People also switched from coal heat to oil heat, so his coal business also ended.
LaCrosse Fire Siren
This is William E. and Mary Ellen Mathews, children of Mary Ellen (O’Donnell) and William Albert Mathews. This photo was taken in the 1940s northeast of their father’s cream station. The LaCrosse fire siren is in the background. Photo courtesy of William E. Mathews.
LaCrosse Livery Stable by Charles Shireman
Barn Dance group picture – March, 1935
This photo was taken from the top of the Phegley Elevator
looking south across the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks.
The photo was taken about 1951.
This photo was taken from the top of the Phegley Elevator
looking north. The photo was taken about 1951.
1910 Harvest on the C. V. Kellar Farm
once owned by Mrs. Tim Collins and tenanted by Leonard Kunzler
Left to right: Will Griffith, Elmer Knapp, Lawrence Riehle, Tom Stotts,
Ed Bruder, Harry Rinker (on machine), Lou Knope (on machine – right)
? Tessmer and Harold Crawford, water boys, Leona Kellar Nesbitt, water girl,
Mr. Crawford, father of Ira Crawford
This picture was a postcard – looking east on Main Street. The Methodist Annex is on the left.
The two signs nailed to the tree on the left read:
FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY
ANNEX OPEN 7:30 MWF
FREE MOTION PICTURES
EVERY FRIDAY NIGHT
This picture was a postcard – looking at the home on the corner of Oneida and Monroe Streets.
A 1930s truck is parked beside the home.
This picture was a postcard. Does anyone know whose home this was at English Lake on the Kankakee River?
Please contact the LaCrosse Public Library at 219-754-2606 or
Above are two very early photos of the Pennsylvania Railroad depot. It was located further down the tracks to the west (and on the south side of the tracks) than the depot below. The building above was moved to its position shown below (on the north side of the tracks) sometime between 1898 and 1908, and most likely when the Pennsylvania Railroad was double tracked in 1906.
This is the Pennsylvania Railroad depot, and looking to the east down the tracks is the watchman’s shanty. It was sketched in 1932 by Helen G. Carter, a teacher at the LaCrosse School.
The Pennsylvania Railroad depot looking to the east (above) and to the west (below).
A Short History of the Six Railroads
Building Into LaCrosse, Indiana
1852 – 1902
by Ron Marquardt
is available at the LaCrosse Public Library
for a donation of $6.00.
A CD covering 1852 to 1947
is also available for $6.00.
Landing of Million Population Club Balloon
July 13, 1911
John Berry, Pilot – P. J. McCullough, Aide
LaCrosse, Ind. – Kellar’s field and cow
This may have been a spherical balloon. The photo was in the attic of the former Kosanke home east on Highway 8 and was given to the library by Les Earle.
17 BINDERS SOLD BY GUS KRUEGER
June 30, 1910
For Wheat Harvest
Business was good this day in 1910 for Gus Krueger, farm implement dealer. He sold 17 binders that season and arranged for all of them to be picked up at the same time so the picture above could be taken. Krueger is seen in the center foreground.
The reaper-binder, or binder, was a farm implement that improved upon the reaper. The binder was invented in 1872 by Charles Withington. In addition to cutting the small-grain crop, it would also tie the stems into small bundles, or sheaves. These sheaves were then “shocked” into conical stooks, (or shocks) resembling small tipis, to allow the grain to dry for several days before being threshed.
Withington’s original binder used wire to tie the bundles. There were various problems with using wire and it was not long before William Deering invented a binder that used twine and a knotter (invented by John Appleby).
Early binders were horse-drawn and powered by a bull wheel. Later models were tractor-drawn. The implement had a reel and a sickle bar, like a modern grain head for a combine harvester, or combine. The cut stems would fall onto a canvas, which conveyed the crop to the binding mechanism. This mechanism bundled the stems of grain and tied a piece of twine around the bundle. Once this was tied, it was discharged from the back of the binder. With the replacement of the threshing machine by the combine, the binder became almost obsolete.
The newspaper clipping above was published in The LaCrosse Sentinel.
June 10, 1920
In this photo is the Chevrolet garage on the corner of Washington and Oneida. To its south is a two-story building. The fire station has not yet been built. It was built about 1949.
The Benes elevator is shown (corner of Pennsylvania and Michigan). Across the street on the corner (to the east) is a small building which was the elevator’s scale. To its north is a house once occupied by the Siebenthal family. The elevator might have purchased the property and removed the house.
The Regional News/old library building has not yet been built on Main Street. The new post office has not yet been built on Main Street. From the landmarks, it appears that this photo was taken before 1949.
The word LACROSSE is spelled out on the roof of Omar Krueger’s tavern (corner of Washington and Main).
The picture above was copied from a February, 1978, General Telephone leaflet.
The Citizens Bank is on the corners of State Hwy. 8 and U.S. Hwy. 421.
At the top of the building is the date it was built – 1909.
To the left is Sheely’s store. The sign reads – Groceries & Meats, Ready to Wear, Shoes and Dry Goods.
On the east end of the second floor of Sheely’s an insurance agency was operated by Jack Weiss. Irene Nuest worked in the second floor of Sheely’s and was in charge of the dry goods.
To the left of Sheely’s is a small building which was the Mathews Creamery. The farmers brought their cream here to be sold. In the 1950s the Jake Spiess Pure Oil business was located in this building.
To its left is a building with PLUMBING – HEATING in the windows. It was operated by Bob Bruder.
To its left is The Regional News office.
To its left is the fire station.
To the left of the fire station is a two-story building. In the 1940s Martin MacDonald and his wife had a restaurant and a pool hall in this building. For a short time Lester and Margaret (MacDonald) Gross operated a tavern in the building. Then it was sold to John Tesmer who operated “Johnny’s Tap” in the 1950s. Later Tesmer let Martin MacDonald run the pool hall. After that it became a paint store operated by Al Turner, Jr. The upstairs was an apartment. There was a barber shop in a corner of the first floor for a short time. The building was eventually torn down, and the ground was purchased by the fire department.
On the corner to the far left is the Unity Chevrolet garage operated by Chuck Freeman. This corner was first the site of the Martin MacDonald home according to Martin’s grandson, Bob Rainey. Martin sold the corner to Unity Chevrolet and moved his home across the street to the north on Oneida Street between the old brick telephone building and the August Liedtky home.
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