La Crosse, Wisconsin
|La Crosse, Wisconsin|
Water Fountain in Downtown La Crosse
Location in the state of Wisconsin
|• Mayor||Tim Kabat (D)|
|• City||22.54 sq mi (58.38 km2)|
|• Land||20.52 sq mi (53.15 km2)|
|• Water||2.02 sq mi (5.23 km2)|
|Elevation||669 ft (204 m)|
|• Estimate (2013)||51,522|
|• Rank||US: 716th|
|• Density||2,501.0/sq mi (965.6/km2)|
|• Urban||100,868 (US: 298th)|
|• Metro||135,512 (US: 295th)|
|Time zone||Central (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||Central (UTC-5)|
|Zip Code||54601, 54602, 54603|
|GNIS feature ID||1567672|
|Airports||La Crosse Regional Airport|
|Website||City of La Crosse|
La Crosse (Hoocąk: Hįnųkwas ) is a city in and the county seat of La Crosse County, Wisconsin, United States. The city lies alongside the Mississippi River and remains the largest city on Wisconsin's western border.
The estimated population in 2012 was 51,647. The city forms the core of, and is the principal city in the La Crosse Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of La Crosse County and Houston County, Minnesota, with a combined population of 135,298. La Crosse is home to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, private Viterbo University, and Western Technical College.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Diversity
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Government and politics
- 6 Economy
- 7 Media
- 8 Education
- 9 Health Care
- 10 Tap water
- 11 Transportation
- 12 Culture
- 13 Gallery of Historic Places
- 14 Religion
- 15 Sports
- 16 Awards and rankings
- 17 Notable people
- 18 Sister cities
- 19 See also
- 20 References
- 21 Further reading
- 22 External links
La Crosse was incorporated as a city in 1856, but its history dates further. The first Europeans to see the site of La Crosse were French fur traders who traveled the Mississippi River in the late 17th century. There is no written record, however, of any visit to the site until 1805, when Lt. Zebulon Pike mounted an expedition up the Mississippi River for the United States. Pike recorded the location's name as "Prairie La Crosse." The name originated from the game with sticks that resembled a bishop's crozier or la crosse in French, which was played by Native Americans there.
The first white settlement at La Crosse occurred in 1841 when Nathan Myrick, a New York native, moved to the village at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin to work in the fur trade. Myrick was disappointed to find that because many fur traders were already well-entrenched there, there were no openings for him in the trade. As a result, he decided to establish a trading post upriver at the then still unsettled site of Prairie La Crosse. In 1841, he built a temporary trading post on Barron Island (now called Pettibone Park), which lies just west of La Crosse's present downtown. The following year, Myrick relocated the post to the mainland prairie, partnering with H.J.B. Miller to run the outfit.
The spot Myrick chose to build his trading post proved ideal for settlement. It was near the junction of the Black, La Crosse, and Mississippi Rivers. In addition, the post was built at one of the few points along the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River where a broad plain ideal for development existed between the river's bank and the tall bluffs that line the river valley. Because of these advantages, a small village grew around Myrick's trading post in the 1840s.
A small Mormon community settled at La Crosse in 1844, building several dozen cabins a few miles south of Myrick's post. Although these settlers relocated away from the Midwest after just a year, the land they occupied near La Crosse continues to bear the name Mormon Coulee.
On June 23, 1850, Father James Lloyd Breck of the Episcopal Church said the first Christian liturgy (Episcopalian liturgy) on top of Grandad Bluff. Today a monument to that event stands atop the bluff, near the parking lot at a scenic overlook.
More permanent development took place closer to Myrick's trading post, where stores, a hotel, and a post office were constructed during the 1840s. Under the direction of Timothy Burns, lieutenant governor of Wisconsin, surveyor William Hood platted the village in 1851. This opened it up for further settlement, which was achieved rapidly as a result of promotion of the city in eastern newspapers. By 1855, La Crosse had grown in population to nearly two thousand residents, leading to its incorporation in 1856. The city grew even more rapidly after 1858 with the completion of the La Crosse & Milwaukee Railroad, the second railroad connecting Milwaukee to the Mississippi River.
During the second half of the 19th century, La Crosse grew to become one of the largest cities in Wisconsin. At that time, it was a major economic center in the state, especially of the lumber industry, for logs cut in the interior of the state could be rafted down the Black River toward sawmills built in the city. La Crosse also became a center for the brewing industry and other manufacturers that saw advantages in the city's location adjacent to major transportation arteries, such as the Mississippi River and the railroad between Milwaukee and St. Paul, Minnesota. Around the turn of the 20th century, the city also became a center for education, with three colleges and universities established in the city between 1890 and 1912.
La Crosse remains the largest city on Wisconsin's western border, and the educational institutions in the city have recently led it toward becoming a regional technology and medical hub.
La Crosse is located on the western border of the midsection of Wisconsin, on a broad alluvial plain along the east side of the Mississippi River. The Black River empties into the Mississippi north of the city, and the La Crosse River flows into the Mississippi just north of the downtown area. Just upriver from its mouth, this river broadens into a marshland that splits the city into two distinct sections, north and south.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.54 square miles (58.38 km2), of which, 20.52 square miles (53.15 km2) is land and 2.02 square miles (5.23 km2) is water.
Surrounding the relatively flat prairie valley where La Crosse lies are towering 500 ft bluffs, one of the most prominent of which is Grandad Bluff (mentioned in Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain), which has an overlook of the three states region. This feature typifies the topography of the Driftless Area in which La Crosse sits. This rugged region is composed of high ridges dissected by narrow valleys called coulees, a French term. As a result, the area around La Crosse is frequently referred to as the "Coulee Region".
La Crosse's location in the United States' upper midwest gives the area a temperate, continental climate. The warmest month of the year is July, when the average high temperature is 85 °F (29 °C), with overnight low temperatures averaging 63 °F (18 °C). January is the coldest month, with high temperatures averaging 26 °F (-4 °C), with the overnight low temperatures around 6 °F (-14 °C).
|Climate data for La Crosse, Wisconsin (La Crosse Regional Airport)|
|Record high °F (°C)||57
|Average high °F (°C)||25.5
|Average low °F (°C)||6.3
|Record low °F (°C)||−43
|Precipitation inches (mm)||1.19
|Snowfall inches (cm)||13.0
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||9.5||7.6||9.6||10.8||11.0||11.0||10.8||10.4||9.6||8.3||8.9||9.3||116.8|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||8.5||6.0||4.4||1.3||0||0||0||0||0||.3||3.2||7.3||31|
|Source #1: NOAA (normals 1971–2000, extremes 1948–2001)|
|Source #2: The Weather Channel (extreme temps)|
Neighborhoods and districts
La Crosse has 17 voting districts (wards). Neighborhoods in the city include:
- Historic Cass & King
- Historic downtown
- Northside (Upper and Lower) and Old Towne
- Hungary Point
- Mud City
- College Park (UW–La Crosse campus district)
The first Southeast Asian refugees to arrive in La Crosse came in 1974. It was a Vietnamese family of five. Then in 1975, the first Cambodian family (of three) settled in this area. The first Hmong refugees arrived in June 1976. During the next few years, the number of refugees from Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam continued to increase. By 1982, there were approximately 800 Southeast Asian refugees in La Crosse.
To meet the needs of the increasing refugee population, the La Crosse Area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association (HMAA) was formed and incorporated as a non-profit, tax exempt agency in December 1982. Such agencies assisting other races are not tax exempt, or prohibited by law.
According to 2008-2010 ACS estimates, the median household income was $36,728 and the median family income was $54,604. Males had a median income of $35,713 versus $28,283 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,408. About 14.3% of families and 24.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.8% of those under age 18 and 10.2% of those age 65 or over.
At the 2010 census, there were 51,320 people, 21,428 households and 9,691 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,501.5 per square mile (965.6/km²). There were 22,628 housing units at an average density of 1,102.7 per square mile (425.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.8% White, 2.3% African American, 0.6% Native American, 4.9% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.4% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.0% of the population.
There were 21,428 households of which 19.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.6% were married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 54.8% were non-families. 37.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.86.
16.2% of the population were under the age of 18, 26.5% from 18 to 24, 23.1% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 89.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.4 males.
Government and politics
The city government employs a weak mayor form of the mayor-council system. The mayor is elected at-large, while the 17 members of the Common Council are elected per ward. The mayor is Tim Kabat, a progressive.
La Crosse is a Democratic stronghold in local, state and national politics. Both the City of La Crosse and La Crosse County have voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1988. In the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama won 69% of the City of La Crosse and 61% of La Crosse County.
In the United States Congress, Democrat Ron Kind has represented La Crosse as part of Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district since 1997. The city is almost coterminous with the 95th Wisconsin State Assembly District and is represented by Democrat Jill Billings. Additionally, Democrat Steve Doyle currently represents suburban La Crosse County in the 94th Assembly District. La Crosse is part of the State Senate District 32 and is represented by Democrat Jennifer Shilling.
- Thomas Benton Stoddard (1856)
- E. D. Campbell (1857)
- David Taylor (1858)
- James I. Lyndes (D) (1859)
- John M. Levy (1860)
- Wilson Colwel (1861)
- A. W. Pettibone (1862 – 1864)
- W. J. Lloyd (1865)
- John M. Levy (1866 – 1867)
- Theodore Rodolf (1868)
- Charles. L. Colman (1869)
- Theodore Rodolf (1870)
- Alexander McMillan (1871)
- James I. Lyndes (1872)
- Gysbert Van Steenwyk, Sr. (1873 – 1874)
- Gilbert M. Woodward (1874 – 1875)
- James J. Hogan (1875 – 1876)
- George Edwards (1877)
- David Law (1878 - 1879)
- Joseph Clark (1880)
- H. F. Smiley (1881)
- David Law (1882 - 1883)
- W. A. Roosevelt (1884)
- D. Frank Powell (1885 – 1886)
- David Austin (1887 – 1888)
- John Dengler (1889 – 1890)
- F. A. Copeland (1892)
- D. Frank Powell (1893 – 1896)
- James McCord (1897 – 1898)
- W. A. Anderson (1899 – 1900)
- Joseph Boschert (1901 – 1902)
- William Torrance (1903 – 1906)
- Ori J. Sorenson (1909 - 1910) 
- Arthur A. Bentley (1915 – 1923)
- Henry J. Ahrens (1950 – 1955)
- Milo Knutson (1955-1965)
- Warren Loveland (1965-1971)
- W. Peter Gilbertson (1971–1975)
- Patrick Zielke (April 20, 1975 – April 15, 1997)
- John Medinger (April 15, 1997 – April 19, 2005)
- Mark Johnsrud (April 19, 2005 – April 21, 2009)
- Matt Harter (April 21, 2009 - April 16, 2013)
- Tim Kabat (April 16, 2013–present)
La Crosse is the original home and international headquarters of several corporations, including:
- City Brewing Company, former Heileman Old Style brewery
- Kwik Trip, regional gas and convenience stores
- Logistics Health Incorporated, healthcare
- Trane, air conditioning company, acquired by Ingersoll-Rand in 2008
- S&S Cycle, motorcycle engines, parts and supplies
As of February, 2012 the 10 largest employers in La Crosse were:
- Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center
- Mayo Clinic Health System - Franciscan Healthcare
- Kwik Trip
- School District of La Crosse
- La Crosse County
- University of Wisconsin–La Crosse
- City of La Crosse
- Logistics Health Incorporated
La Crosse and the surrounding communities form a regional commercial center and shopping hub. In the northeastern part of the city lies the region's largest shopping center, Valley View Mall. The surrounding area includes numerous big-box stores, and many restaurants. Other shopping centers in the La Crosse region include Three Rivers Plaza, Marsh View Center, Shelby Mall, Jackson Plaza, Bridgeview Plaza, and the Village Shopping Center. Downtown La Crosse has continued to grow in recent years, providing shopping, farmers' markets, hotels, restaurants, specialty shops, and events at La Crosse Center on the Mississippi River.
The La Crosse Center is a 10,000 seat multi-purpose indoor arena built in 1980 in downtown La Crosse on the Mississippi River. It is also a convention center offering 21,600 square feet (2,010 m2) of exhibit space, a 45-foot (14 m) ceiling height, a 60-by-40-foot stage, two locker rooms and three dressing rooms. There is also a 14,935-square-foot (1,388 m2) North Hall which can open up to be used in combination with the arena, and a 38,740-square-foot (3,599 m2) South Exhibit Hall. The three venues total 75,275 square feet (6,993 m2) of exhibit space. The complex also contains 9,432 square feet (876 m2) of meeting room space in five meeting rooms, which can be divided into nine meeting rooms.
While both exhibit halls and the arena are used for trade shows, conventions, meetings and banquets, the arena is also used for sporting events, concerts, circuses, ice shows, and other events.
La Crosse's largest newspaper is the daily La Crosse Tribune. The Second Supper, a free weekly tabloid with material of interest to the under-30 demographic group, is also published in the area, as are two shoppers, the Foxxy Shopper and the Buyer's Express. The Racquet is the University of Wisconsin La Crosse's free weekly paper.
Coulee Parenting Connection is a magazine serving families in the La Crosse area.
The major network television affiliates in La Crosse are: ABC affiliate WXOW; CBS affiliate WKBT; Fox affiliate WLAX and PBS affiliate WHLA. Also two NBC affiliates; WEAU, from Eau Claire and KTTC from Rochester, Minnesota. An independent station, KQEG-CA, is also in La Crosse.
- KZSE TRANSLATOR FM 88.1
- WLSU FM 88.9
- WHLA FM 90.3
- KXLC FM 91.1
- KNXR TRANSLATOR FM 92.3
- WIZM-FM 93.3
- KCLH FM 94.7
- WWIB TRANSLATOR FM 93.7
- WRQT FM 95.7
- WXYM FM 96.1
- WCOW FM 97.1
- WTPN TRANSLATOR FM 97.9
- KQYB FM 98.3
- WVCX FM 98.9
- WKBH-FM 100.1
- KHME FM 101.1
- WFBZ TRANSLATOR FM 101.9
- KQEG-FM 102.7
- WLXR FM 104.9
- WFBZ FM 105.5
- WQCC FM 106.3
- KQYB TRANSLATOR FM 107.9
The La Crosse area is served by the School District of La Crosse, with an enrollment of 7,012 students in 2009, making it the 16th largest school district in the state. The district has 19 elementary, middle, high and charter schools. La Crosse Central High School and Logan High School are the two public high schools serving the La Crosse area. The La Crosse School District has 631 teachers.
Private schools in La Crosse include Waldorf School Three Rivers School, and La Crosse Aquinas Catholic Schools, a Roman Catholic school district affiliated with the Diocese of La Crosse, is centered in the city and includes Aquinas High School, and Aquinas Middle School. Another Roman Catholic school, the Providence Academy, is independent from the district and has no affiliation with the Diocese.
La Crosse is the home of three regional colleges and universities, the public University of Wisconsin–La Crosse, Wisconsin's top comprehensive university, Western Technical College, and the Roman Catholic Viterbo University. The Health Science Center is a combined effort of all the La Crosse medical centers, universities and government agencies to advance students in the medical fields.
Two major regional health care facilities are located in La Crosse: Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center and Mayo Clinic Health Systems - Franciscan Healthcare Medical Center, a Mayo Clinic affiliate.
Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center is a regional health care facility located in La Crosse that is also an ACS nationally certified Level II Trauma Center. It is the primary hospital associated with the Gundersen Clinic medical group and the location of the Western campus for the University of Wisconsin Medical School. The Gundersen Lutheran Health System, headquartered in La Crosse, manages 23 locations throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa with nearly 6,000 employees. Since 2005, the system has annually been ranked by Thomson Reuters Healthcare in the Top 100 National Hospitals, as well as received HealthGrades 2011 5-star rating award.
Franciscan Skemp Medical Center is an affiliate of Mayo Clinic. Franciscan Skemp, which was the first western Wisconsin hospital to open its doors in 1883 as St. Francis Hospital, was started by the Catholic Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, who still are associated with the medical center. In 1995, Franciscan Skemp merged with Mayo Clinic Health Systems in Rochester, Minnesota, located only 60 miles away. A new trauma and emergency department, helicopter pad, and surgery wing recently opened in 2007.
The Health Science Center, located on the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse campus, is a combined effort of both medical centers, UW–La Crosse, Viterbo University, Western College, the School District of La Crosse, and various government educational groups. The purpose was to prepare and train students for advancement in the medical field.
La Crosse's tap drinking water, which is raised from a deep underground Artesian aquifer, won the best natural tasting water award in September 2007 in a statewide tasting competition hosted by the Wisconsin Water Association. The city competed against groundwater and surface water utilities from Algoma, Appleton, Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee, Pell Lake, Shawano, Shawano Lake and Watertown at the annual meeting of the association. La Crosse’s drinking water is pumped from deep ground wells to a distribution center and is treated with chlorine and fluoride; some wells are also treated with polyphosphate.
The La Crosse Regional Airport provides direct scheduled passenger service to Minneapolis, Detroit, and Chicago through Delta Air Lines link Endeavor Air, as well as American Airlines link Envoy Air. Sun Country and Xtra Airways provide charter service to Laughlin, Elko, Nevada, and other destinations. The airport also serves general aviation for the La Crosse region. In 2012, the City of La Crosse was the first city in Wisconsin to pass a Green Complete Streets ordinance. This ordinance requires that when roads are reconstructed the needs of stormwater management and the safety of bicycles and pedestrians are taken into account in the new design. The city is served by several major highways and Interstate, including Interstate 90, U.S. Highway 14, U.S. Highway 53, U.S. Highway 61, Wisconsin State Highway 35, Wisconsin State Highway 16, Wisconsin State Highway 33.
The Mississippi River Bridge, also known as the Cass St. bridge and the newer Cameron Street bridge (photo with blue arch) both connect downtown La Crosse with La Crescent, Minnesota. These two bridges cross the Mississippi River, as does the Interstate 90 bridge located just northwest of La Crosse, connecting Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Railroad tracks owned by Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) pass through La Crosse providing freight service. The former Milwaukee and La Crosse Railroad/Milwaukee Road/Soo Line and now Canadian Pacific Railway runs through the city as well. It provides the track on which the La Crosse Amtrak station is located, and is a stop for the Empire Builder providing cross-country passenger rail service.
La Crosse has over 30 active arts organizations. The Pump House Regional Arts Center hosts visual arts exhibits throughout the year plus its own series of jazz, folk, and blues performers. The La Crosse Symphony is the city's regional orchestra and the La Crosse Community Theater has won both regional and national acclaim. The city is home to the Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps, a Drum Corps International member corps. Other arts sites include Viterbo University Fine Arts building, UW–La Crosse Art Gallery and Theater, and the La Crosse Center, which hosts national performers. Local sculptor Elmer Petersen has created sculptures that are exhibited throughout the downtown area, including La Crosse Players and the Eagle in Riverside Park.
Bars and clubs
La Crosse has many bars and nightclubs in the downtown central business district, as well as many neighborhood bars and grills. 3rd Street in downtown La Crosse, WI is known nationally for having the most bars on a single street in the entire US.
- La Crosse Oktoberfest
- La Crosse Riverfest
- Freedom Fest
- Great River Jazzfest
- Irish Fest
- Downtown Mardi Gras
- Downtown Cameron Park Farmers Market
- Historic Downtown La Crosse Days
- Winter Rec Fest
- New Years Eve Celebration with The Skyrockers
- Hmong New Year Parade
- Rotary Lights Display
- La Crosse Labor Day Parade and Celebration
- La Crosse Storytelling Festival
Gallery of Historic Places
La Crosse is the episcopal see for the Roman Catholic Diocese of La Crosse. The Cathedral of Saint Joseph the Workman is the mother church of the Diocese. St. Rose of Viterbo Convent, the mother house of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration is in La Crosse. The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is in La Crosse.
Multiple churches of various denominations including Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, Vineyard, Presbyterian, independent and non-denominational.
The Congregation Sons of Abraham is in La Crosse.
Islamic Society Othman Bin Afaan is the city's Islamic mosque.
La Crosse has multiple semi-professional sports teams. The La Crosse Loggers of the Northwoods League, play at their home field at Copeland Park on the north side of La Crosse in the summer months. In the past, La Crosse has been home to the Catbirds and the Bobcats of the CBA, as well as the River Rats of the IFL, the Spartans of the IFL and the Night Train of the NIFL.
La Crosse is also home to the NCAA Division III University of Wisconsin–La Crosse (UW–L) Eagles. The university's 10,000 seat Veterans Memorial Field for football (turf field) and outdoor timed track opened in the 2009. The stadium will continue to host the WIAA Wisconsin high school outdoor track and field state championships in June.
In the winter season, the Coulee Region Chill is a team in the North American Hockey League that began playing in September 2010 at the Omni Center in Onalaska. In September 2014, the Chill moved their home arena to the Green Island Ice Arena. Additionally, Mt. La Crosse, the areas only ski hill which opened in 1959 provides eighteen slopes and trails in the winter months. The ski hill is home to Damnation!, Mid-America's steepest trail.
Hunting and fishing are very popular all seasons of the year, and the Mississippi and other rivers, sloughs, creeks, lakes, the Upper Mississippi River Wildlife Refuge, and hilltops and valleys with public woodlands are available to sportsmen and families.
Awards and rankings
- 2002 - National Trust for Historic Preservation Great American Main Street Award
- 2003 - Milken Institute Best Performing Cities of the 96 Smallest Metros (20th Overall)
- 2005 - Inc. magazine's 4th Best Small City for Doing Business
- 2005 - Inc. magazine's 15th Best City in America to Do Business
- 2005 - Forbes 25th Best Place 
- 2006 - 7th Safest Metropolitan Area in the Nation - Morgan Quitno Press
- 2006 - Kiplinger's Personal Finance ranked La Crosse 16th "Smartest Place to Live in U.S.
- 2007 - Country Home magazine ranked La Crosse 12th Best Green City in America and second among small cities, behind Corvallis, Ore.
- 2009 - U.S. News ranked La Crosse 6th best place to live in the country.
- 2009 - Farmers Insurance Group ranked La Crosse - Winona, MN area the 20th most secure place to live in the United States among small towns.
- 2010 - Most Secure Places to Live in the US (Small Towns) - Sperling's Best Places
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2014)|
- Stephen Jerzak, professional musician
- George Addes, founder of United Auto Workers
- John Ake, professional baseball player
- Wendell Abraham Anderson, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin
- Elmer E. Barlow, Wisconsin Supreme Court justice
- Charles S. Benton, U.S. Representative from New York
- Raymond Bice, Sr., businessman, state assemblyman and senator
- Fred Biermann, U.S. Representative from Iowa
- Thea Bowman, Roman Catholic, religious sister and educator
- Ruth Boynton, physician and educator
- Orville Buckner, professional boxer
- Raymond Burke, Cardinal Prefect of the Vatican's Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura
- Timothy Burns, Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin
- Chris Bury, Nightline correspondent
- Ole Amundsen Buslett, author
- Angus Cameron, U.S. Senator
- James Cameron, civil rights activist
- Erasmus D. Campbell, Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin
- William W. Cargill, founder of Cargill
- Ebenezer Childs, Territorial legislator
- Frank P. Coburn, U.S. Representative
- Elijah Fox Cook, Michigan and Wisconsin State Senators
- George Dahlgren, NFL player
- Charles G. Dawes, Vice President of the United States
- Alexa Demara, model, actress
- James Devitt, Wisconsin legislator
- Charles Dierkop, actor
- Chip Dunham, cartoonist
- Minnie Dupree, actress
- John J. Esch, U.S. Representative
- Bob Fitzke, NFL player
- Paul Fitzke, baseball player
- George A. Garrett, U.S. diplomat
- Tony Ghelfi, MLB player
- Gerald Greider, Wisconsin state assemblyman
- Adolph Gundersen, physician
- Tim Gullikson, professional tennis player
- Tom Gullikson, professional tennis player
- Tom Hanneman, sports broadcaster
- Hal Hanson, NFL player and head coach
- Gottlieb Heileman, founder of G. Heileman Brewing Company
- Gideon Hixon, businessman, state assemblyman and senator
- Chuck Hockenbery, MLB player
- Wayne J. Hood, Executive Director of the Republican National Committee
- Merlin Hull, U.S. Representative
- William Hull, lawyer and legislator
- Hugo Jan Huss, orchestra conductor
- Don Iverson, professional golfer
- Matt Joyce, NFL player
- John Azor Kellogg, U.S. military leader and state senator
- Mark Kellogg, reporter
- Ron Kind, United States House of Representatives
- Tom Klawitter, MLB player
- Milo Knutson, mayor of La Crosse and state senator
- Ed Konetchy, MLB player
- Edward C. Krause, Wisconsin State Assemblyman
- Arthur Kreutz, composer
- Robert E. Kreutz, composer
- Ty Loomis, volleyball player
- Joseph Losey, film and theater director
- Patrick Joseph Lucey, Governor of Wisconsin, U.S. diplomat
- Paul Lundsten, Judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals
- James T. McCleary, U.S. Representative from Minnesota
- John H. MacMillan Sr, businessman, President of Cargill
- Paul Marcotte, businessman and former member of the Kentucky House of Representatives
- John Medinger, former Mayor of La Crosse and former member of the state assembly
- John Mengelt, NBA player
- Curt Michel, NASA astronaut, professor
- Damian Miller, MLB player
- Robert Moevs, composer (1920–2007)
- Thomas Morris, Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin
- Leland E. Mulder, member of the state assembly
- John Mulder, state assemblyman
- Eddie Murphy, Olympic medalist
- Tom Newberry, NFL all-pro guard
- Mike O'Callaghan, Governor of Nevada
- Paul Offner, educator and member of the state assembly and senate
- John Oestreicher, lawyer and member of the state assembly
- Jim Omerberg, member of the West Virginia House of Delegates
- Charles M. Palmer, organizer of the Associated Press
- John Joseph Paul. Roman Catholic bishop
- Oscar S. Paulson, Wisconsin legislator
- George Wilbur Peck, newspaper publisher, humorist, mayor of Milwaukee, Governor of Wisconsin
- James D. H. Peterson, member of the state assembly
- Augustus Herman Pettibone, U.S. Representative from Tennessee
- George Poage, Olympic medalist, first African American to win an Olympic medal.
- Brandon Ratcliff, actor
- Nicholas Ray, film and theater director (1911–1979, a.k.a. Raymond Nicholas Kienzle)
- Edwin W. Rice, President of General Electric
- Walter Ristow, head librarian of the Library of Congress
- Scott Servais, MLB player
- Philip Saunders, NBA coach
- Rudolph Schlabach, lawyer and legislator
- John Shuman, Army Distinguished Service Medal recipient
- Frank Skaff, MLB player and manager
- Thomas Benton Stoddard, first mayor of La Crosse; member of the state assembly
- Ford Sterling, actor
- William H. Stevenson, U.S. Representative
- Woodrow Swancutt, U.S. Air Force Major General
- Jim Temp, NFL player
- Clark W. Thompson, U.S. Representative from Texas
- John Toland, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
- Clarence Tommerson, NFL player
- James Trane, co-founder of Trane
- Reuben Trane, co-founder of Trane
- Danielle Trussoni, author
- Dave Umhoefer, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
- Dolly Vanderlip, All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player
- Gysbert Van Steenwyk, Sr., businessman, Mayor of La Crosse, member of the state assembly and senate
- D. Russell Wartinbee, educator and member of the state assembly
- Cadwallader C. Washburn, Civil War General, Wisconsin Governor, U.S. House
- Jarrod Washburn, Major League Baseball Player, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
- John Wilce, member of the College Football Hall of Fame
- George Williams, MLB player
- Levi Withee, lumberman and Wisconsin state senator
- Gardner R. Withrow, U.S. Representative
- Gilbert Motier Woodward, U.S. Representative
La Crosse has town twinning relationships with six foreign towns and cities:
- Bantry, Ireland
- Dubna, Russia
- Epinal, France
- Friedberg, Bavaria Germany
- Førde Norway
- Luoyang, China
- City Brewing Company
- G. Heileman Brewing Company
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