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Architecture and History Inventory
1725 STATE ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Main Hall / La Crosse State Normal School
Other Name:UW-La Crosse, Graff Main Hall, LAC 0001
Reference Number:29574
Location (Address):1725 STATE ST
County:La Crosse
City:La Crosse
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1908
Additions: 1980
Survey Date:19962011
Historic Use:university or college building
Architectural Style:Neoclassical
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Architect:Van Ryn and DeGelleke
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: Main Hall/La Crosse State Normal School
National Register Listing Date:3/14/1985 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
Additional Information:A 'site file' exists for this property. It contains additional information such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, or historical information. It is a public record and may be viewed in person at the Wisconsin Historical Society, State Historic Preservation Office. HOUSED ALL EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES FOR THE SCHOOL'S FIRST 11 YEARS. CONSTRUCTION COST WAS $260,000. BUILDING NOW HOUSES THE OFFICES OF THE CHANCELLOR AND ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF, A 600 SEAT AUDITORIUM, APPROXIMATELY 35 CLASSROOMS AND SPECIALIZED INSTRUCTIONAL AREAS. PHOTO CODE SF STANDS FOR STATE FACILITY.

A restrained entablature composed of cornice and parapet is visually supported by engaged pilasters in the central entrance bays in the facade and side elevations and in the massive piers projecting at the ends of the structure; short octagonal tower projects from the west elevation; contrasting white masonry belt courses divide the structure horizontally; segmental arched window groups with articulated keystones; segmental arched doors with ornament similar to the windows.

Using Classical Design sources typically associated with public and institutional building in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Main Hall is the most architecturally significant example of historic educational architecture remaining in La Crosse. Constructed in 1908-1909 as the State Normal School, Main Hall is significant as the original structure associated with the present University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

This was the first building built for the new State Normal School at La Crosse in 1909. Long dreamed of and worked for by the leaders of La Crosse, the school was finally acquired when State Senator Tom Morris, of La Crosse, pushed an enabling bill through the Wisconsin Legislature. The grounds were purchased for $25,000 ($10,000 in state funds, $15,000 from the city) and the building erected for $260,000.

Main Hall is important in the educational development of La Crosse. The establishment of a State Normal School at La Crosse made the city into a regionally important educational center, over time, grew to become an important part of the La Crosse local scenery.

Building constructed by the Sterling Engineering and Construction Co. of Milwaukee.
Bibliographic References:(A) A. Sanford and H. Hirshheimer, A History of La Crosse, WI, 1841-1900 (La Crosse: La Crosse County Historical Society, 1953; p. 238). (B) Dr. L. Crocker, Dept. of Art UW-La Crosse. (C) GEORGE R. GILKEY "LACROSSE, A HALF-CENTURY OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN WISCONSIN'S COULEE REGION (1909-1966)". WALKER WYMAN ED. HISTORY OF THE WISCONSIN STATE UNIVERSITIES, 1968, P. 275. (D) "UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-LACROSSE CATALOG", AUG. 1972, P. 5. A. LA Crosse Leader Press, 16 July 1907. B. La Crosse Chronicle, 11 June 1908. C. La Crosse Tribune, 11 November 1909.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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