Q: A number of years ago my mother ran a boarding house at 1452 Rose St. in La Crosse. Three other boarding houses were located nearby, and I'm wondering whether La Crosse had other clusters of boarding houses and where were they located?

A: A look at older city directories over the years shows most of the boarding houses (and hotels) in the city were in and around the downtown area. There were fewer on the North Side, but they tended to be near the lumber yards or railroad yards. There weren't any real clusters of boarding houses in the city.

Q: At W5565 Hwy. MM in La Crosse County there is a field stone building with key stones and beautifully designed windows. Does anyone know what the history of this structure is?

A: This building is known as the Oehler Mill and was built along Mormon Creek by Valentine Oehler in the mid-1850s. It is likely the mill served farms in Mor-mon Coulee. Valentine Oehler purchased this property in 1855, and it remained in the Oehler family until 1922. Be-cause the mill is located in a prime area for development and urban en-croachment, the Wiscon-sin Trust for Historic Preservation placed the Oehler Mill on its "10 Most Endangered Histor-ic Properties" list in 2002.

Q: Behind the residence at 3105 Ebner Coulee Road, on city-owned land that is part of Grandad Bluff, there exists remnants of some sort of youth or scout camp that included at least five cabins. All that remains today is portions of the stone hearths for the fireplaces which were in each cabin. From the scattered remains of the rest of these fireplaces, it looks like the cabins were destroyed with dynamite at some time. Does anyone have any history or facts concerning this camp? It would have been in the late 1800s or very early 1900s.

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A: The La Crosse Public Library archives don't have anything on these cabins, but library staff report it likely was not a scout camp as the Boy Scouts were not organized in this area until the 1920s. A 1906 plat map shows that the land was owned by the La Crosse Stone Co.

Q: Who was the first female hired at the La Crosse Post Office?

A: La Crosse Post-master Jim Armitage went contacted a postal historian in Washington to try to answer this question but had no luck. He said 49 of the La Crosse post office's 181 employees today are women: Two are in management, and the rest are mail processors, rural route drivers, city carriers and maintenance workers.

In cooperation with the La Crosse Public Library, the Tribune invites readers to call in or e-mail questions of local general interest. We'll try to find the answers and print them. The phone number for Ask the Trib is (608) 791-3450. To submit questions by e-mail, send them to news@lacrossetribune.com.

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