Main Hall/LaCrosse Normal School

1724 State St | Nationally Designated 3/14/1985 | Locally Designated 11/13/1997

Local Designation of Historic Structure
National Register of Historic Places Nomination

House 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. 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. 

Historical Notes can be found on Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory.

Additional information can be found on the National Register of Historic Places.