‘Hear Here’ explores La Crosse’s lesser-known history

28 signs are posted at historic spots throughout downtown

Twenty-eight red signs have been set up in downtown La Crosse as part of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse history project, “Hear Here.”

Each sign represents a historic spot and there is a phone number on the sign which people can dial to learn more about that area’s history.

Sharon Dawindowski and her husband John make a point to learn the history of any place they travel to.

“We travel a lot, and when we do travel we tend to look into historical facts of the cities and towns, wherever we go,” Dawindowski said.

The two live in La Crosse and said they don’t explore this area’s history in the same way.

“It’s something you tend not to do so much when you are in your own home town,” Dawindowski said.

They are hoping to change that, though, by participating in the launch of “Hear Here.”

“We just think it’s a fabulous way of bringing together history and the stories and the architecture that goes along with it,” Barbara Kooiman, president of preservation alliance of La Crosse.

“You call the 1-800 number, it’s a toll free number, on your phone and it will prompt you to say which story you want to listen to, on the signs they say the location and story, so you type in those stories and you just listen to it on your phone,”Callie O’Conner, a UW-L student said.

The eleven UW-La Crosse students who created the project wanted to focus on histories that aren’t already known.

“One is going to be dealing with a mural on the side of the Pump House. A woman, Wendy Madison is going to be dealing with going through the creation of that,” O’Conner said.

The events will touch on tougher topics too.

“We have three stories that deal with homeless experiences downtown,” O’Conner said.

Dawindowski said she hopes to eventually listen to all the unique stories.

“It seems that these are stories from others, not just the persons we are already aware of the Hixons, the Myricks, the Powells,” Dawindowski said.

The signs will stay up for five years. The creators of the project hope to expand the amount of stories they have, and are open to anyone who would like to share their past experiences in La Crosse.