The Listman Mill, c. 1905

La Crosse Public Library Located on Front Street at the base of Jay Street, the…

The Listman Mill, c. 1905

Located on Front Street at the base of Jay Street, the old Listman Milling Co. was one of many industries along the river that gave this area of downtown the nickname “the Wholesale District.” The Listman Mill began operation in 1879 and became the largest producer of flour and grain in La Crosse. This photo was taken before 1907, when construction started for a larger mill that enveloped the original building. The mill closed around 1920, and the owner of the property, Kansas Flour Mills Corp., used the site as a storage facility for the next 15 years.

In 1935, the mill was destroyed after a devastating fire. Within 20 minutes of the first alarm, the fire was so intense that the roof of the 8-story building caved in, and “became a gigantic chimney, shooting flames high into the air …The sky gave off the appearance of being a huge Christmas tree,” according to the La Crosse Tribune. Luckily, the fire department had recently purchased their first motorized pressure pumpers and was able to prevent the fire from spreading to surrounding buildings.

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Anyone with more information about this photo or wishing to donate photos of the Coulee Region may contact the La Crosse Public Library Archives at 608-789-7136 or via email at [email protected].