© Photographed June 13, 2015
Prairie du Chein, Crawford County, Wisconsin
The Fur Trade Museum is located on St. Feriole Island, at Villa Louis State Historic Site, at the intersection of North Water Street and Bolvin Street, Prairie du Chein, Wisconsin 53821.
Villa Louis: Fur Trade Museum
National Register of Historic Places Inventory -- Nomination form: Astor Fur Warehouse / American Fur Company Warehouse
Located at the southeast corner of Bolvin and Water Streets on St. Feriole Island, the old fur warehouse is a two-story, rectangular, gable-roofed building, built c. 1828 by Joseph Rolette on the site of an earlier log structure. It is a sturdy structure, little altered since its days as a warehouse, and now restored and converted to museum use.
Apparently there were previous structure son this site. One reference states that a wooden building of the American Factory System on that site was remodeled in the second decade of the 19th century. An October 1829 drawing of Fort Crawford and neighboring buildings shows a structure on this site, but it appears to have a somewhat different shape and orientation than the present building, unless it was remodeled. The State survey of historic structures and the WPA guide to Wisconsin both date the building as 1835. However, Mr. Don Munson, Curator of the Astor Warehouse, reported that c. 1781-1827 a large log structure was located at this site until it burned, and that c. 1828 a fur warehouse for the American Fur Company was built by chief agent Joseph Rolette there.
The property is a National Historic Landmark (one of only 42 in Wisconsin).
National Register Number: 66000800
Statement of Significance (as of designation - October 9, 1960):
Constructed c. 1828, this stone building, one of the American Fur Company's principal establishments, recalls the Astor empire and Prairie du Chien's prominence as a fur trading center. The warehouse was flooded in 2001.
The west side of the building (that faces the Mississippi River).
The south and east sides of the building.
Nearby train . . .
With the Mississippi River visible in the background.