About This Place
La Crosse is a city in and the county seat of La Crosse County, Wisconsin, United States. The city lies alongside the Mississippi River.
The 2011 Census Bureau estimates the city had a population of 51,357. The city forms the core of, and is the principal city in the La Crosse Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of La Crosse County and Houston County, Minnesota, with a combined population of 133,665. La Crosse is a college town and is the home to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Viterbo University, and Western Technical College.
La Crosse was incorporated as a city in 1856, but its history dates further. The first Europeans to see the site of La Crosse were French fur traders who traveled the Mississippi River in the late 17th century. There is no written record, however, of any visit to the site until 1805, when Lt. Zebulon Pike mounted an expedition up the Mississippi River for the United States. Pike recorded the location's name as "Prairie La Crosse". The name originated when he saw the Native Americans playing a game with sticks that resembled a bishop's crozier or la crosse in French.