La Crosse, WI


The sternwheel steamboat JULIA BELLE SWAIN (#3180) was designed and built by Capt. Dennis Trone at Dubuque Boat & Boiler Works being the last steamboat built there in 1971. The steam engines came off the steam ferry CITY OF BATON ROUGE (#1050) which can still be seen in Le Claire, IA, as landing boat for the riverboat TWILIGHT. The JULIA BELLE SWAIN is equipped with a steam calliope.

The boat has been located at La Crosse’s Riverside Park for many years, offering overnight cruises and local dinner cruises in summer, until 2008. After several attempts to renovate the boat and get her back to business, she’s still laying on idle – potentially on the Black River near Copeland Park with little hope for a happy end …


The paddlewheeler LA CROSSE QUEEN is located at the north end of Riverside Park (west end of State St) providing excursion cruises from May til October.

La Crosse Queen

La Crosse Queen Paddleboat Cruises

Riverside Museum

The nice little Riverside Museum on the north side of Riverside Park is concentrating on the Mississippi River and its importance to the area. Exhibits range from prehistoric artifacts to a large collection of birds and fresh water clams. A video of the history of La Crosse is shown and artifacts of the steamboat WAR EAGLE (#5691) are on display. Within a walking distance from the boat landing.

Riverside Museum

Murphy Library, University of Wisconsin

The Murphy Library hosts the largest collection of steamboat photographs started by Ralph DuPae. Copies are available. Researchers should call ahead.

Murphy Library, University of Wisconsin
Special Collections & Area Research Center

Granddad Bluff

Granddad Bluff is a 600 ft. high bluff and city park overlooking the city of La Crosse and the Mississippi River valley and the tri-state area of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. Be sure to have a day with clear air and good visibility.

Follow Main St which becomes Bliss Rd as you ascend the bluff. Turn right at Granddad Bluff Rd.