Historic Attractions

Crawford County, Vernon County, and the Kickapoo Valley are areas rich in history. Mound Builders and Native Americans, explorers and fur traders, immigrant settlers and pioneers all left their mark on the region and infused their folkways and traditions in Driftless Wisconsin historic landmarks.

Preservation and restoration efforts have made this history available to us, as do reenactments of historical events or celebrations of earlier times.

Explore Driftless Wisconsin Historic Landmarks

Apfel, George – Round Barn, Dell
Also known as the Dell Round Barn, this privately-owned barn on County Highway P, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.

Bekkedal Leaf Tobacco Warehouse, Viroqua
Martin H Bekkedal came to Vernon County from Norway in the 1880s and used his close contacts with fellow immigrants to become the largest tobacco wholesaler in the region by the turn of the century. The tobacco warehouse he built in Viroqua in 1906 was one of the largest and most modern in Wisconsin. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

Black Hawk “Trail of Tears,” Crawford and Vernon Counties
Historic markers in trace the route taken by Black Hawk in 1832, as the Sauk warrior led his desperate band of 1,000 men, women, and children toward the Mississippi.

Brisbois House, Prairie du Chien
The oldest stone residence in Wisconsin, the house was built in 1836 for the estranged wife of Joseph Rolette, Jane Fisher Rolette, later the wife of Hercules Dousman. The residence was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.

Brisbois Store/Fur Trade Museum, Prairie du Chien
Built in 1851-52 by B.W. Brisbois, fur trader and merchant, this structure has been long associated with the North American fur trade. It is a National Historic Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places.

Crawford County Courthouse, Prairie du Chien
The courthouse, at 220 North Beaumont Road, was built in stages. The central section dates to 1867. The Territorial Prison (also known as The Dungeons), believed to have been constructed in 1843, is in the basement; it was operational until 1896. The structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Dousman House Hotel, Prairie du Chien
The Railroad House was touted as the finest hotel on the Upper Mississippi by the railroad when they built it in 1864. A National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the property has now been redeveloped.

Folsom House, Prairie du Chien
Business man W.H.C. Folsom House at 109 Blackhawk Avenue in 1842. During the Mexican War, a prominent attorney, Captain Wiram Knowlton used the house to recruit militia, and later naturalist John Muir worked here as a printer. In the 1920s it was used as the headquarters of the League of Women Voters, who deeded it to the State Historical Society in 1960. It was added to the National List of Historic Places in 1984.

Foreacker School, Viroqua
This one-room school house, built in 1888, served students until 1960. It is cared for by the Vernon County Historical Society.

Fort Crawford Museum, Prairie du Chien
The construction of the second Ft. Crawford began in 1829 under Colonel Zachary Taylor, later President of the United States. The Fort Crawford Military Hospital was first occupied in 1831, with Dr. William Beaumont as the first surgeon. Dr. Beaumont gained fame for his experiments on human digestion. The hospital was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.

Hay Valley Archeological District, Ontario
Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, the district contains a prehistoric village site.

Charles Lord House, Ontario
Well-to-do ginseng farmer Charles Lord built the house in at 113 South Street in 1908 in the Classical Revival style. It was designed by the Sullivan Brothers and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.

Log Cabin Heritage Park, Gays Mills
The Log Cabin Heritage Park was established in the early 1970s by the Crawford County Historical Society. Cabins were donated from around the Kickapoo Valley, dismantled log-by-log and re-assembled in the park.

Masonic Temple Building, Viroqua
The Classical Revival building at 116 South Main Street was built in 1922 and restored and reborn at the Temple Theatre in 2002. It was named to National Register of Historic Places in 2000.

Norskedalen Nature and Heritage Center and Skumsrud Heritage Farm, Coon Valley
A nature and heritage center dedicated to preserving, interpreting and sharing the natural environment and cultural heritage of the area. The Nils Skumsrud house, also known as the Thrune cabin, is located here and was name to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.

Norwegian Evangelic Lutheran Church, Westby
Settled by Norwegian immigrants in the 19th century, Westby’s heritage is reflected in its National Historic site, the Country Coon Prairie Church, the first Lutheran Church constructed in Western Wisconsin. It was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

Old Rock School, Prairie du Chien
Originally constructed in 1857, the school on South Marquette Road at Parrish Street served elementary students until the school consolidation movement in the mid 1900s. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

Old St. Mary’s Church Museum, Viroqua
Built in 1908, this small mission church is being cared for by the Vernon County Historical Society.  It may be rented for weddings, baptisms, and select other events.

Prairie du Chien Post Office
The post office building at 120 South Beaumont Road was constructed in 1936 as part of the Works Projects Administration program. Inside is a relief sculpture of Marquette and Louis Jolliet. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.

Prairie du Chien City Hall
The city hall building at 207 West Blackhawk Avenue was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

Rockton Archeological District, Ontario
Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, the district contains a prehistoric village site.

Rolette House, Prairie du Chien
Begun in 1840 but not finished by Joseph Rolette’s death in 1842, this house later served as a hotel and boarding house. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

Round Barns, Hillsboro, Viroqua, Westby
Vernon County has a unique collection of round barns built in the early decades of the twentieth century. One of the round barn builders, Alga Shivers, an African-American man, was born in Vernon County in 1889, and lived his entire life there.

Sherry-Butt House, Viroqua
Lt. Col. Cyrus M. Butt built one of Viroqua’s oldest homes in the federal style in 1870, after his valiant service in the Civil War. Cared for by the Vernon County Historical Society, a strawberry shortcake ice cream social is held here each 4th of July.

Strange Powers House, Prairie du Chien
This private residence at 338 North Main was built in the Craftsman style between 1818 and 1824. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Thoreson House (Westby Historical Society), Westby
The Victorian Thoreson House was built by lumberman Theodore and Katherine Bekkedal Thoreson for their family in 1892.

Upper Kickapoo Valley Prehistoric Archeological District, La Farge
Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999, the district contains 425 ceremonial sites, burial sites, prehistoric camps and villages, and significant works of art and rock carving.

Francois Vertefeuille House, Prairie du Chien
Designated as the oldest structure in Wisconsin on its original site, it was built by a voyager. The privately-owned home is built in the French-Canadian style and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.

Vernon County Courthouse, Viroqua
The building on North Dunlap Avenue was built in the Gothic style in 1930. It was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Vernon County Museum (Vernon County Historical Society), Viroqua
The building was built in 1918-19 as a training school for teachers. It was purchased by the Historical Society in 1989.

Villa Louis, Prairie du Chien
A beautifully restored Victorian estate that was home to three generations of the Dousman family, fur traders, frontier entrepreneurs, and horse breeders. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966 and as a National Historic Landmark, it hosts the Carriage Classic, one of the largest carriage driving competitions in the nation.

Viroqua Downtown Historic District, Viroqua
Listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, Viroqua’s downtown provided excellent examples of Italianate and Queen Anne architecture.

Driftless Wisconsin Historic Landmarks & Attractions Listings

 

Village of Norwalk

Norwalk, Wisconsin 54648
608-823-7760 ext. 21
http://www.villageofnorwalk.com/

Ferryville Tourism Council

Ferryville, Wisconsin 54628
608-734-9077
http://www.visitferryville.com

Prairie Fun Land

Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin 53821
608-326-0888
http://www.prairiefunland.com/

Village of Cashton

Cashton, Wisconsin 54619
(608) 654-7828
http://www.cashton.com/

Titanic Canoe Rental

Ontario, Wisconsin 54651
608-337-4551
http://www.titaniccanoerental.com

Westby Syttende Mai

Westby, Wisconsin 54667
608-606-1708
http://www.westbysyttendemai.com/

City of Hillsboro

Hillsboro, Wisconsin 54634
(608)489-2521
http://www.hillsborowi.com/

Down a Country Road

Cashton, Wisconsin 54619
608.654.5318
http://downacountryroad.com

City of Westby

Westby, Wisconsin 54667
608-634-3214
http://www.westbywi.com/

Vernon Vineyards, Ltd

Viroqua, Wisconsin 54665
608-634-6181
http://vernonvineyards.com

Village of Soldiers Grove

Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin 54655
608-624-3264
http://www.soldiersgrove.com

Kickapoo Valley Reserve

La Farge, Wisconsin 54639
608.625.2960

Village of Ontario

Ontario, Wisconsin 54651
608-337-4381
http://ontariowi.com/

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