Dousman Hotel

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Dousman Hotel
Dousman Hotel is located in Wisconsin
Dousman Hotel
Location Fisher St. and River Rd., Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin
Coordinates 43°3′14″N 91°9′35″W / 43.05389°N 91.15972°W / 43.05389; -91.15972Coordinates: 43°3′14″N 91°9′35″W / 43.05389°N 91.15972°W / 43.05389; -91.15972
Built 1864
Architectural style Mid-Victorian
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 66000122
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966[1]
Designated NHL October 9, 1960[2]

Dousman Hotel is a historic hotel located at the intersection of Fisher Street and River Road in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. The hotel was built in 1864-65 to serve railroad and steamboat travelers through the city. The hotel was named after Hercules L. Dousman, an early Wisconsin fur trader and land speculator. The hotel operated until the 1920s; it was later converted to a meatpacking plant and has since been reopened as a hotel. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960.[2][3]


The Dousman Hotel is a three-story brick building with a Mid-Victorian design. Due to additions and neglect, many of the building's decorative features are no longer intact. The brick quoins at the corners and arched moldings around the windows are the most prominent remaining elements of the original design. The hotel once had a square cupola and a bracketed cornice; both have been removed, though the cupola was eventually replaced. The building's original front porch, which ran along the center block of the front facade, is also gone. The hotel's original interior included fifty-one guest rooms and a dining room, though these were later gutted.[3]


The Milwaukee and Mississippi Railroad built the Dousman Hotel next to its train depot in 1864-65. The hotel was named for fur trader Hercules L. Dousman, who had interests in both the steamboat and railroad industries; he was then regarded as Prairie du Chien's most prominent resident. Travelers on both the river and the railroad frequented the hotel, which was considered the most luxurious of the city's hotels at the time; in addition, the hotel's proximity to the Milwaukee and Mississippi station made it a convenient choice for rail travelers. The hotel was a financial success and remained in operation through 1925. After its closure, meatpacking plants occupied the hotel from 1939 to 1952; during this time, several additions were placed on the hotel, and its original interior was destroyed. The hotel was used for storage by other businesses after 1952, but by the 1960s it had been abandoned and became derelict.[3] The building has since been restored, and a hotel once again occupies the space.[4]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ a b "Dousman Hotel". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  3. ^ a b c Blanche Higgins Schroer (Undated) National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Dousman Hotel, National Park Service and Accompanying 4 photos, exterior, from 1975.
  4. ^ "The Dousman House". Retrieved April 19, 2015. 

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