Odd Wisconsin Archive
The Great La Crosse Toboggan Run of 1885
This month's record snowfalls have sent lots of us outside skiiing, sledding, and skating. In the winter of 1885-1886, so much snow fell in La Crosse that a group of local guys formed a toboggan club and built a 25-foot wide run in a marsh by the river. It was three stories tall and illuminated by electric lights so it could be enjoyed at night.
All winter long, local residents used it by the thousands. Private parties rented specific runs on it and sometimes stayed until midnight. One of its founders recalled that, "often, when members of the club closed the place for the night and walked to the Cameron House to get a lunch before going home, we found the thermometer registering from 25 to 32 below zero."
The club lost money on it, though, and the experiment was not repeated the next winter. You can see the La Crosse Toboggan Club of 1885-86 here, and more recent pictures of tobogganing at Wisconsin Historical Images.
:: Posted in on December 20, 2007