Winter in La Crescent

The Railroad Depot
from the Archives

In 1873, all railroads in Houston County were owned by the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company.

The first La Crescent depot was a 2-story building with the depot business on the first floor and the top floors rented as living quarters.  They shipped many things such as apple baskets, lumber, cement, fuel oil, strawberries, tomatoes, pipe for gas lines, telephone poles, and the products manufactured in La Crescent.  There was once a stock yard by the depot and many times cattle were shipped.

Ed Hurley became the agent/telegrapher in 1907.  He was here until 1955.

The first depot was destroyed in a December 1938 fire, which destroyed the entire building, all the village records for the previous 12 years (Hurley was also the village clerk), and 12 sacks of westbound mail.  No one was at the station when the blaze occurred, but the family who had lived upstairs had moved out a few days prior.  After the fire, railroad officials said that an old caboose would be used as a temporary station until a new building was erected.The second depot did not include living quarters.

At one time there were passenger trains from Savanna, Illinois to Dubuque, IA to La Crosse.  These quit in 1953.  Apparently, one sleeper car tagged along with the freight train on trips to Austin (Minn.) as sales people from Hormel found it an easy way to get back and forth to do business.  This passenger service ended in 1958 with one last run to Austin.

Bob Kies took over from Hurley in 1955 and remained until 1976.  The station closed in 1977.Joe Ready purchased the depot building around 1986.  The restored building was moved it to its present site by 1989.

If you have more information about the depot’s history, please give us a call or email us at lahs1857@gmail.com

Oral History Project Underway

We are interviewing elders in the La Crescent area about their lives.
Watch for more news about this vital effort.

Heritage House & Apple Museum
Over the winter we do not have “open” hours; instead, we are working to get the House ready to open again in the spring.
Please call us at 895-1857 to arrange a tour or to donate items.


We will be recognized and respected for preserving the cultural heritage of the La Crescent area. Our collection of artifacts and documents will be historically significant and accessible to the public. We will have the financial and material resources needed to house our collection. Our activities and events will involve many active volunteers, young and old, in collaboration with area businesses and organizations.