Powell Place

Powell Place, 200 Main St.

Tribune file photo

At the foot of Main Street in downtown La Crosse is Powell Place, one of the city's most storied landmarks.

The ornate building where Main Street meets Second Street originally was named Healey's Block after logger and businessman Benjamin Healey developed the property in 1876, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Valued in 1881 at $45,000, Italianate architectural details include cornice, arched windows hoods, Corinthian columns and brick walls two feet thick, according to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Murphy Library archives. Early tenants included clothing and glassware retailers, a brewery and law offices. The Boston Store filled most of the ground floor in the mid-1880s, according to the La Crosse County Historical Society.

Frank Powell, a physician and friend of William ìBuffalo Billî Cody, moved his practice to the second floor in 1884. He patented medicine that claimed to cure warts, cancer and baldness, and was first elected La Crosse's mayor in 1885. He preferred the name "White Beaver" and served as the chief doctor for the local Winnebago Indian tribe.

The Yahr-Lange Corp., a wholesale drug company, owned the building for 1944 to 1982, according to the La Crosse County Historical Society.

Developers renamed the building Powell Place in 1982 and restored it over the years to include space for specialty shops, a restaurant and offices, according to Tribune archives. Installed in the ceiling inside the Main Street entrance is a stained glass skylight saved from the La Crosse County Courthouse razed in 1965.

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. The mini-mall has housed a host of businesses over the years.


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