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LaCrosse History

Sitting on the Western edge of the rich Palouse soil and the channeled scablands of the Ice Age Floods, the first know settlers of the area were residing outside of LaCrosse city limits in 1862. LaCrosse's population begin to boom in 1888 upon the competition of the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company line that ran from Riparia to LaCrosse. This line connected from Portland to Spokane, with LaCrosse being a stopping point along the way. Despite always being named LaCrosse, an intentional error in the post office paperwork in1889 led to the town not officially being  recognized as LaCrosse until 1896. 

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Del, Harvey, and Ervin Reiber running a combine with 32 animals on the Herb Camp Farm 1938. 

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It didn't take long for word to get out that the land around LaCrosse and the nearby communities of Pampa and Hay was sufficient for growing wheat and for grazing sheep.  Small family farms quickly turned into large ranches requiring a great deal of labor, especially during harvest or shearing. Between the need for railroad labor and farm labor, the communities flourished. 

Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company Map

For many years, LaCrosse was able to support multiple hotels, meat markets, grocery and hardware stores. There were automotive shops, implement dealers, furniture stores, and a movie theater. Despite the fires and floods that ravaged all small towns of the day, LaCrosse was able to rebuild itself multiple times.  

As use of the railroad gave way to driving automobiles, travel through LaCrosse by train was reduced as was the work forced needed to operate and maintain the track. Larger tractors and self-propelled combines eliminated the need for large families and extra laborers. For the last 30 years, LaCrosse’s population has hovered around 315 people.  These are dedicated, kind, and helpful folks who care deeply about their community, their history, and their future.  We are proud of these projects we’ve taken on and would love to see you enjoy our local attractions

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Main Street LaCrosse between 1910-1919

Main Street LaCrosse during the 1960's

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