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La Crosse in La Crosse County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Spence Park

 
 
Spence Park Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Keith L, June 23, 2008
1. Spence Park Marker
Inscription.  Because of the fertile soil and lush woodlands on the river shores, the Winnebago Indians settled in this area in 1772. Sixty years later they ceded these lands to the U.S. Government. In 1842, Nathan Myrick, the first white settler in La Crosse, built his log cabin and trading post on this site. It was designated a public boat landing in 1851.

This was the most strategic Mississippi River port on the western boundary of Wisconsin. Boats traveling north and south docked here, and wagons traveling west crossed the river on ferries from this place. La Crosse thus became known as the Gateway City.

The Indians made this a neutral ground and met on the prairie east of here only in peace, and competed in athletic contests. Their most notable game was la crosse, from which the city derived its name.

In 1903 the city named this park for Thomas H. Spence, a pioneer businessman and civic leader, who gave this land to the people.
 
Erected 1978 by the Wisconsin Historical Society. (Marker Number 242.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic
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lists: Native AmericansPeaceSettlements & SettlersSportsWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Wisconsin Historical Society series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1772.
 
Location. 43° 48.891′ N, 91° 15.285′ W. Marker is in La Crosse, Wisconsin, in La Crosse County. Marker is at the intersection of State Street and Front Street North, on the right when traveling west on State Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: La Crosse WI 54601, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Front and State (a few steps from this marker); First Building in La Crosse (within shouting distance of this marker); La Crosse Players (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Sidewheel Riverboat War Eagle (approx. ¼ mile away); 4th and Main (approx. ¼ mile away); The Cobbler Shop (approx. 0.4 miles away); Greek Revival House (circa 1850s) (approx. 0.4 miles away); Gideon Cooley Hixon (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in La Crosse.
 
Also see . . .
Spence Park Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Keith L, June 23, 2008
2. Spence Park Marker
 Historic Downtown La Crosse. (Submitted on June 25, 2008.)
 
Additional keywords. Riverside Park
 
Spence Park Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Keith L, June 23, 2008
3. Spence Park Marker
Time Capsule image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Keith L, June 23, 2008
4. Time Capsule
Nearby Mississippi River image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Keith L, June 23, 2008
5. Nearby Mississippi River
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 30, 2019. It was originally submitted on June 25, 2008, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 2,115 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on June 25, 2008, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 23, 2024