Piece of downtown La Crosse history lost after fire destroys building dating to 1898

La Crosse library archives manager cites rich history of downtown La Crosse building

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — A person would need a photo to see what existed before a fire brought down the India Curry House early Thursday morning.

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People stood by the aftermath to catch a final glimpse of what’s left of the building. The building is not an official historic building, but it carries a rich history in La Crosse dating back to 1898.

“It looks like it’s gonna be a disastrous loss,” said Anita Doering, archive manager at the La Crosse Public Library.

“I found there’s actually two buildings that were put together,” Doering said. “They were built by two brothers.”

Building History

Doering found archived evidence in the form of tax records and a couple of old photos that show brothers Otto and Emil Mueller created this place.

“They kept it in their family all the way into the ’60s at least,” Doering said.

The reason it doesn’t carry a historic designation is because of the changes numerous owners made over the years.

“It’s lost a lot of its original detail and decoration,” Doering said.

Downtown La Crosse Fire

Most people will know the building as a former Chinese restaurant.

“The Hunan Chinese restaurant was probably the longest tenant,” Doering said.

It may not carry the official historic title, but imagine the stories these former walls could have told.

“They have survived that long,” Doering said.

These places mean a lot to a town that invests in preserving its historic architecture.

“It’s very much a point of pride, and we’re very happy that we can help out in any way,” Doering said.

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The building now is  part of the past. Doering hopes whatever stands here next holds the spirit of what is lost.

“Or at least make it look like it wasn’t as lost as it is,” Doering said.

The building’s total value is about $400,000, according to La Crosse County tax records.

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