Pontoon Bridge

© Photographed June 13, 2015
Prairie du Chien, Crawford County, Wisconsin
Google Map

The completion of the Milwaukee and Prairie du Chien railroad in 1857 brought John Lawler as the railroad agent challenged by the need to transport grain, pork and passengers across the Mississippi. Lawler experimented for years until devising a pontoon bridge. In 1874 the floating bridge rose and fell with the river. Opened for river traffic and maintained stability when crossed by massive locomotives, the engineering wonder brought fame and fortune to John Lawler who further distinguished himself as a philanthropist. The waterfront part is named for him. In 1896  the Lawler Estate sold the pontoon bridge to the railroad which controlled it until the dismantled it in 1960-61.
The marker is located along the east bank of the Mississippi River, at Lawler Park on St. Feriole Island, and is accessible from southbound North Water Street, between Bolvin Street (to the north) and Fisher Street (to the south), Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin 53821.

Prairie du Chien Wisconsin: History

Milwaukee Journal, February 24, 1891: John Lawler is Dead
Fatal Termination of an Attack of Paralysis. An Honorable Life.

With the Mississippi River in the background.

Screenshot of vintage postcard provided by CardCow.com
Pontoon Bridge and Raft, Mississippi River
Postmarked 1909 Oct-20

CWC marker on nearby breakwater.

The marker is adjacent to the North Water Street parking lot.

 The marker is located in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.

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