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La Crosse County Historical Society discovers, collects, preserves, and shares the history of La Crosse County, Wisconsin.

Archive Record

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Object Name Print
Catalog Number 2015.fic.364k
Description Schilling and Hogan Buildings
Collection La Crosse County Historical Society Collection
Title Schilling and Hogan Buildings
People Nudd, Chris
Search Terms Schilling and Hogan Buildings
Notes Part of a series of 15 prints by Chris Nudd "La Crosse Scenes".

Text with print:

"Ten years after Nathan Myrick built his log cabin in 1842, the first structure on the site of La Crosse, the settlement began to show its first real progress.

Front Street, which straggled from the La Crosse River nearly to Cass Street, was fairly well built up from State to Pearl Streets. As far back as 5th Avenue there were cabins of settlers.

The ground consisted of knolls and hills of sand and deep hollows. On Front Street the soil was ridged; on Second Street it was depressed. A driver with an empty wagon could hardly travel from the river to 4th Street, and one with a loaded wagon coldn't make it at all. According to descriptions in thehistory books the area around 3rd and Main where the first city hall was built was hilly and sandy.

Despite these hindrances to building and the scarctiy of building materials, the early settlers went ahead with determination.

None of the buildings constructed before 185 is atnding today. Some where torn down to make way fo rmore modern buildings and others wee destoryed in the numerous fires of the early days.

The oldest business building still standing is the "Old Stone Store" on the southwest corner of Front and Main Streets, built in 1854 for Smith and Co. by Andwer Shepard, a stone mason.

In the early 1900s the Schilling Paper Company moved into the building, a concern known in La Crosse since 1859 when the original founder, R. Schilling, established a soap factory on 9th Street, betwee Pine and Badger Streets. the business was conducted at this location until 1862, when it was moved to Division and Cross Streets. Upon the death of R. Schilling, the business was conducted by Mrs. Schilling and I. Schilling.

THe company made between 6,000 and 8,000 pounds of soap weekly and employed four men. Nearly all the soap was sold to wholesale and retail merchants of La Crosse. Besides soap, large quantities of tallow candles were amde, and the firm carried on a grocery business selling such items as flour, matches, coffee, spices, summer sausage, cheese and stoneware.

It was I. Schilling who bought the building ont eh southwest corner of Front and MainStreets, and in 1905 the Schilling family started the paper company with Gustav and Adolph, I. Schilling's two sons, then taking an active part in the business.

Harold Weisse in a study of types of architecture in La Crosse made for the Historical Society describes the Schilling Building as typical of the commerical structure of its period. Because iron and steel were not available for lintels and beams, masonry arches were used to support the walls above. The building has semicircular stone arches over the wide door and window openings on the front and flat stone lintels over the narrow openings on the side.

Hogan Building

J.J. Hogan one of the earliest businessmen of La Crosse commenced his career in 1859 as a reailer of gorceries and supplies for steamers and rafts. His first location was on Main Street. In 1864 he moved to No 12 Front Street and became a partner in the Northwestern Union Packet Compnay of which he was the purchasing agaent. This compnay furnished all kinda of supplies for steamers and did a general jobbing business.

He next moved to No. 16 Front Street, jobbing merchandise and groceries exclusively to raftsmen and ealing in raft supplies of all kinds. The yearly returns footed up to $150,000. Prices of staples included sugar 40 cents per pound; coffee, 41 to 43 cents; carbon oil, 75 to 90 cents per gallon; rope, 25 cents per pound; tea, $2.08.

In 1869 Hogan built and moved to the bulding on Front Street south of teh Schilling building, a 25 by 100-foot building erected at a cost of $7,000. In 1880 his brother-in-law, F.P. Cook, became a partner.

The Hogan building in recent years has housed the Gateway Grocery Company, a wholesale grocery business which is now located at Gateway Court in North La Crosse.

The two buildings described here are destined to be torn down to make way for hte approved Harborview Plaza urban renewal project. A new generation of buildings will emerge to take their places.