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La Crosse Center considers War Eagle riverboat mural on exterior wall



Downtown La Crosse might soon get another historic mural, possibly on the outside walls of the La Crosse Center.

The Center Board has been asked to consider putting a large image of the sunken riverboat War Eagle on an exterior wall of the building.

Local riverboat historian Bob Taunt said a painting of the War Eagle on the Lackore Electric building near the bridges “became an icon” downtown, until the building was demolished five years ago.

The proposal for a new image on the La Crosse Center calls for a digital artwork, rather than a painting. The Center Board voted Tuesday to study the idea before committing to putting a picture on the building.

Taunt told the board that such a work of art could become a new downtown landmark.

“You can say, ‘I’ll meet you at the La Crosse Center,'” Taunt said, “but people from out of town might not know where it is. If you say, ‘I’ll meet you under the big steamboat picture,’ it could be a gathering point.”

The War Eagle was active for 16 years, until it caught fire and sank in 1870. The wreckage remains underwater.

The Center Board did vote to accept a donated painting of the War Eagle, to be displayed inside the building.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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1 Comment

  1. Sunbeam

    August 18, 2023 at 1:10 pm

    “but people from out of town may not know where it (La Crosse Center) is…”

    Ummm, I think it’s the building that says “La Crosse Center” in big letters on the front. See picture accompanying article.

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