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La Crescent


In 1852, the year the first township settlers came, there were two roads in the area, the Military Road from Brownsville to Wabasha Prairie (Winona) and a trail from a landing spot opposite La Crosse, along Pine Creek, which led to the future site of Rushford.


The first settler built his home half in Houston County and half in Winona County, in an area which soon became known as "Pine Creek Settlement."  Six years later La Crescent Township was created on April 5, 1858.


In the early years, the Wild Kate ferry, which was pulled ashore by two horses, and later the steam-operated Honey Eye brought settlers across the river.  By 1853, oxen teams were available for rent for the journey inland.


By 1855, the stage road from St. Paul was connected by ferry with La Crosse.  The four horse teams were changed every 12 miles.  Accommodations for travelers were the Lorette House 12 miles west of La Crescent and a hotel in La Crescent built by Colonel Mercer.  Both the St. Paul to Dubuque road and the Chatfield to La Crescent road followed the ridges, entering the valley to approach the river.


When stagecoaches were discontinued, mail was transported by horseback riders to the first stop at the old settlement of Centerville, approximately 50 miles toward Chatfield.


Most of the township land is in corn, hay, oats, and pasture for Holstein cattle.  The Pine Creek Creamery, begun in the early 1900s was operated in succession by Henry Abnet, Paul Arnson and Herbert Barge, Sr.  After it was destroyed by a tornado in 1965, farmers have been served by milk company trucks.  The Pine Creek Store begun by William Weist in 1910 closed about 1960.


In the late 1940s, four townships' schools had consolidated with the La Crescent School District.  Prior to 1965, La Crescent students attended high school in La Crosse.  In that year, a high school was built.  Ready Bus Line operates a fleet of school buses to bring students from rural areas and Hokah.


In the late 1950s, Pine Creek golf course was developed by Sylvester Krajewski at Toledo, a cluster of homes on N. Pine Creek Road, once the location of a flour mill built in 1860 and a woolen mill built in 1865.  A Snowmobile Club has about 20 miles of trails.  The Sportsman's Club holds weekly target practice at its clubhouse in a valley off Pine Creek Road.


The township's natural beauty and excellent roads have resulted in the development of residential areas two or three miles outside the city.  The township has a zoning board created to avoid future problems which might occur through annexation.  In 1930, the census figure for the township was 395, growing to 1,441 in 1980.


The present township officials are:  clerk, Teresa A. Walter; treasurer, Art Stender; chariperson, Terry Harger, supervisors, Ruth Miller and Gary Oldenberg.


Submitted by Neva Auenson



1860 La Crescent Census Index


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La Crescent Evangelical Free Church

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Early Settler Surnames

  • Mercer

  • Abnet

  • Arnson

  • Barge

  • Weist

  • Krajewski

  • Wlater

  • Stender

  • Harger

  • Miller, Oldenberg