Prairie du Chien

Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin

Prairie du Chien is the second-oldest settlement in the state of Wisconsin, and the oldest community on the Upper Mississippi River. It offers a wealth of historic sites and glimpses into authentic frontier life. French Canadians engaged in the fur trade settled on St. Feriole Island and each spring the Native Americans came to trade furs for goods. This “Rendezvous” is reenacted each year in June. The flourishing outpost attracted Hercules Dousman, who made a fortune in the fur trade and real estate. His son, Louis, built the famed Villa Louis mansion, a Victorian estate recently restored to its 1890s splendor. The Carriage Classic is held on its grounds.

Before the Villa Louis was built, Fort Crawford stood on the Indian mound that now is the site of the mansion. Here, Dr. William Beaumont conducted his groundbreaking medical studies. After the original fort was destroyed by floods, the second Fort Crawford was built in 1829 and it was here in 1832 that the famed Sauk warrior Black Hawk surrendered, ending the Black Hawk War.

Today, Prairie du Chien is a city of 6,000 and is the largest community in Crawford County. It is also the county seat. It offers numerous attractions, a variety of lodging and dining establishments, shopping, unique annual events, and unlimited recreational choices.

For further information, contact the Prairie du Chien Chamber of Commerce/ Tourism Council at 1-800-732-1673 or visit

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Whether for a weekend, a week, or longer, you’ll enjoy your stay in Driftless Wisconsin. Love using our map while exploring the Driftless? Leave us a Google 5-star review!

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