Red Cloud Park

520 Powell Street
La Crosse, WI 54601

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Park Description

Red Cloud Park was opened in 1953 and is located on the north side of La Crosse. This park is a real family park. There is a playground, shelter, tennis and basketball court, trails, and plenty of open space.

Park Amenities

  • Playground
  • Horseshoes
  • Basketball Court
  • Tennis Courts
  • Trails
  • Open Area
  • Parking
  • Restrooms
  • Shelter

Park History

Red Cloud Park started as a picnic area in 1953. A water fountain and playground was installed in 1954. In 1956, three and one half lots were acquired by the city for $1,200. On May 10th, the name of the park was changed to Red Cloud Park in honor of CPL Mitchell Red Cloud, Jr., who had died in Korea, winning the Congressional Medal of Honor. 

In May of 1957, the park was dedicated. A Wisconsin Historical Site marker was erected which reads:

This park, on the site of a Winnebago Village, commemorates a heroic descendant of those people, Corporal Mitchell Red Cloud, Jr. Fighting in Korea in 1950 as a member of the 24th Army Division, Corporal Red Cloud bravely held off an enemy attack with machine gun fire until his death, thereby saving the lives of many of his comrades. Posthumously he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Part of this area was once owned by "Buffalo Bill" Cody, famous frontier scout and his friend White Beaver (Dr. Fran Powell), who served four terms as Mayor of La Crosse in the 1880's and 1890's. Dr. Powell received the name White Beaver from Sioux Chief Rocky Bear for saving the life of his daughter. He was made Chief Medicine Man of the Winnebago Nation in 1876 after successfully treating Chief Wee-Noo-Sheik. Erected 1957.

A shelter house was built at a cost of $2,278 in materials in 1958. The Park Department put in the cement floor. A plaque on the building's fireplace reads:

Labor on this memorial building, at this historical site, was donated by La Crosse Building and Construction Trades members 1957-1958.

In 1980, tennis courts were added. Three years later, 1983, the park was officially linked to the Rabbit Trail. Just one year after that, 1984, the fencing was replaced around the parking lot and driveway.