History

What We Do

 

Businesses pay to join and participate in activities organized by the Chamber of Commerce.  As a non-profit business organization, the La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce serves more than 775 member businesses that employ 25,000+ area professionals in the La Crosse metro area. We deliver educational programs, seminars, networking events, and opportunities for exposure, promotion and involvement. These are the components of our theme, connect.grow.advocate.

As a nonprofit, our vision and direction is determined by our member investors serving on our Board of Directors. At the core of our vision is the same question as when our founding businesses formed in 1868, “How can we as businesses help grow other businesses?” The answers determine our programs and services. Our member investors volunteer on our committees, which are supported by our staff. Together we connect.grow.advocate for our business in the La Crosse area.

Diamond Sponsors

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Our Foundation

In 1989, the La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce’s only twice-serving chairman of the board passed away. Lyle Anderson was known throughout the community for his banking ties. He loved the Chamber. As a memorial, the family of Lyle Anderson including his wife Norma donated money to establish the Greater La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

In 2015, the Anderson family’s dream of providing education to area businesses was realized when the Chamber purchased a new building at 601 7th Street North, La Crosse, WI, that included a room large enough to host up to 250 people.  It is with pride that we host events in the Lyle & Norma Anderson Education Center.

Chamber History

1836

First Settler

There was dispute between Mr. H.B Coons and Col. N. Myrick on who settled first.

Read the Story

1841

Nathan Myrick

Myrick settles in La Crosse to trade with the Native Americans.

Read About His Adventures

1842

Dutch Doc Arrives

Dr . Snow (known by “Dutch Doc” arrives with Philip Jacob, James Ismon and Asa White. Construction by H.J.B. (Scoots) Miller includes:

  • A barn on the corner where the Cameron House later stood
  • A warehouse, later replaced by the Bellevue House, and
  • A blacksmith-shop on the corner of Front and State Street

“Dutch Doc & Phillip Jacob build a house on the corner of Front and Vernon Streets while Asa White builds near Front & Vernon.

1844

New Arrivals

The year sees the arrival of the first:

  • lumberman, Jacob Spaulding
  • physician, Dr. B. Bunnell (with his wife, son, and widowed daughter Van Rensselaer)
  • farmers (between State Rd. and Mormon Coolies): John & Charles Nagle

Three years later, Dr. Bunnell would his Mt. Vernon and Division street land to Peter Cameron, moving with only his wife back to New York.

1845

Myrick Marries, Steamers Arrive

 

Nathan Myrick built a small home, traveled home to Westport, NY to marry and bring home Miss Rebecca E. Ismon, and three small steamers begin traveling to La Crosse regularly.

1848

Post Office

The first post office is created, with H.J.B. Miller serving as postmaster. Letters would arrive at his store, but he still ran his business so stored the letters in his hat, requiring people to find “Scoots”. Miller resigning in 1848 to run his businesses. H.E. Hubbard was appointed in his place.

The Mormons re-arrived (after leaving a few years earlier because their lifestyle did not suit the pioneers), settling in Mormon Cooley (as it was spelled back then). They left a few years later due to the leader finding the weather too cold.

Schools and churches still did not exist.

1846-7

Growth

  • First bowling alley created by Myrick & Miller at Vine & Front Streets.
  • First frame house between Prairie du Chien & Red Wing was built for Levy & Snow, usin git as a hotel.
  • First frame tavern at the corner of Pearl & Front Streets
  • Population of the County was 20 people.
  • First birth to H.J. B Miller, a daughter Martha.
  • There were no trees or shrubs from the river to the bluffs.
1850

First Politician Arrives

The  native Irishman Hon. Timothy Burns visited in 1847. Per The History of La Crosse County (1881) In 1850, he removed to La Crosse, which he foresaw was destined to become one of the leading cities of the State, investing largely in land. At one time, he owned one-quarter of the original town site. Read about his short but illustrious career.

Read More

1854

City of La Crosse Incorporated

Population: less than 3,995 (1856)

Read a Fun Fact >>

1857

La Crosse County Boundaries Set

Land was downside over time to allow for the creation of Jackson (1953), Trempealeau (1954), and Monroe (1954)

 

1868

Board of Trade Formed

When the City of La Crosse had only about 5,800 residents, the few business owners formed a Board of Trade . Their goal was to create a thriving environment for businesses. This goal remains true for the organization today.

See early reports on the community held at the Wisconsin Historical Society and UW-La Crosse’s Murphy Library

See Our First Reports

1878

Fun Fact: West Salem's Painted Cave

Paintings in this cave in West Salem showcasing Western Wisconsin’s roots.

Read About the Cave

1891

Membership Grows

The Board of Trade celebrates 207 members.

1912

US Chamber Starts

As the U.S. Chamber of Commerce formed in Washington D.C., the La Crosse Board of Trade began transitioning to a Chamber of Commerce. In 1916, La Crosse became the 156th Chamber of Commerce in the entire United States.

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