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.

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RSS Upcoming Chamber Events

  • 10/19/2021 - Servant Leadership Certificate Program: Fall 2021
    Servant leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enrich the lives of individuals, builds better organizations, and ultimately creates a more just community and a caring world. We’re proud to partner with Viterbo University to offer you a renowned servant leadership certificate program. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn servant leadership skills […]
  • 10/20/2021 - 2021-2022 La Crosse Area Community Leadership
    Unlike any other leadership program you have experienced, the La Crosse Area Community Leadership Program introduces you to the core aspects of our economy, connects you with local leaders, and infuses your leadership style with a powerful perspective of community interdependence. As a member of the La Crosse Area Community Leadership class, you will: Gain […]
  • 10/20/2021 - Young Professionals Education: Tour of Kwik Trip SEIT Building
    October Education & Tour of Kwik Trip Don't miss this unique opportunity for lunch and an insider tour of Kwik Trip's SEIT Building. The SEIT Building houses Kwik Trip's Store Engineering and Information Technology services, including Information Technology (85 workers), IT Retail Services - ITRS (55 workers), and Network Services (30 workers). The SEIT Building […]
  • 11/03/2021 - Young Professionals Education with Tom Thibodeau
    Join us for lunch as local speaker, Tom Thibodeau, presents an engaging session on the power of vulnerability in leadership. Tom will challenge the common corporate mindset that tells us not to take things personally in the workplace, and share insights on how taking certain things personally can actually make us better leaders. Lunch is […]

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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.

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[et_pb_vertical_timeline title=”Chamber History” line_color=”#006699″ _builder_version=”3.12.2″][et_pb_vertical_timeline_item title=”First Settler” timeline_label=”1836″ use_read_more=”on” read_more_text=”Read the Story” read_more_url=”https://www.lacrossechamber.com/?p=29645&preview=true” animation=”off” _builder_version=”3.0.105″]There was dispute between Mr. H.B Coons and Col. N. Myrick on who settled first.
[/et_pb_vertical_timeline_item][et_pb_vertical_timeline_item title=”Nathan Myrick” timeline_label=”1841″ use_read_more=”on” read_more_text=”Read About His Adventures” read_more_url=”https://www.lacrossechamber.com/1841-nathan-myrick-arrives/” animation=”off” _builder_version=”3.12.2″]Myrick settles in La Crosse to trade with the Native Americans.
[/et_pb_vertical_timeline_item][et_pb_vertical_timeline_item title=”Dutch Doc Arrives” timeline_label=”1842″ use_read_more=”off” animation=”off” _builder_version=”3.12.2″]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.
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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.

[/et_pb_vertical_timeline_item][et_pb_vertical_timeline_item title=”Myrick Marries, Steamers Arrive” timeline_label=”1845″ use_read_more=”off” animation=”off” _builder_version=”3.12.2″] 

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.
[/et_pb_vertical_timeline_item][et_pb_vertical_timeline_item title=”Post Office” timeline_label=”1848″ use_read_more=”off” animation=”off” _builder_version=”3.12.2″]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.
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  • 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.

[/et_pb_vertical_timeline_item][et_pb_vertical_timeline_item title=”First Politician Arrives” timeline_label=”1850″ use_read_more=”on” read_more_text=”Read More” read_more_url=”https://www.lacrossechamber.com/1847-first-politician-arrives/” animation=”off” _builder_version=”3.12.2″]

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.

[/et_pb_vertical_timeline_item][et_pb_vertical_timeline_item title=”City of La Crosse Incorporated” timeline_label=”1854″ use_read_more=”on” read_more_text=”Read a Fun Fact >>” read_more_url=”https://www.lacrossechamber.com/la-crosse-cross-game/” animation=”fade_in” _builder_version=”3.12.2″]Population: less than 3,995 (1856)
[/et_pb_vertical_timeline_item][et_pb_vertical_timeline_item title=”La Crosse County Boundaries Set” timeline_label=”1857″ use_read_more=”off” animation=”off” _builder_version=”3.12.2″]Land was downside over time to allow for the creation of Jackson (1953), Trempealeau (1954), and Monroe (1954)

 
[/et_pb_vertical_timeline_item][et_pb_vertical_timeline_item title=”CC Washburn Arrive in La Crosse” timeline_label=”1861″ use_read_more=”on” read_more_text=”Learn More about C.C. Washburn” read_more_url=”https://www.lacrossechamber.com/c-c-washburn-profile/” font_icon=”%%171%%” animation=”off” _builder_version=”3.12.2″]Cadwallader C. “C.C.” Washburn is arguably one of the most famous businessmen in La Crosse ever. As founder of Gold Medal Flour, former Wisconsin Governor, mill owner, Civil War major general and congressman, he is credited with making the Twin Cities what is it now. His impact reached libraries, schools, neighborhoods, orphanages, observatories and Edgewood College and High School.
[/et_pb_vertical_timeline_item][et_pb_vertical_timeline_item title=”Board of Trade Formed” timeline_label=”1868″ use_read_more=”on” read_more_text=”See Our First Reports” read_more_url=”http://digitalcollections.uwlax.edu/jsp/RcWebBrowse.jsp;jsessionid=3A68EC94808D6F94C8E2B776A22128B8?browse_cid=bb620107-9ea7-44fd-87b4-6b571fc743d3&browse_start=0″ font_icon=”%%171%%” animation=”off” _builder_version=”3.0.105″]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
[/et_pb_vertical_timeline_item][et_pb_vertical_timeline_item title=”Fun Fact: West Salem’s Painted Cave” timeline_label=”1878″ use_read_more=”on” read_more_text=”Read About the Cave” read_more_url=”https://www.lacrossechamber.com/1878-west-salems-painted-cave/” animation=”off” _builder_version=”3.12.2″]Paintings in this cave in West Salem showcasing Western Wisconsin’s roots.
[/et_pb_vertical_timeline_item][et_pb_vertical_timeline_item title=”Membership Grows” timeline_label=”1891″ use_read_more=”off” animation=”off” _builder_version=”3.12.2″]The Board of Trade celebrates 207 members.
[/et_pb_vertical_timeline_item][et_pb_vertical_timeline_item title=”US Chamber Starts” timeline_label=”1912″ use_read_more=”off” animation=”off” _builder_version=”3.12.2″]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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