DescriptionWhen the railroad was laid a mile south of Neshonoc in 1858, the village's population of Easterners and Norwegians packed up and moved to West Salem near the tracks. Thomas Leonard, West Salem's founder, had offered the railroad free land if it would build a station in West Salem rather than in one of the neighboring towns. The railroad accepted Leonard's offer, ensuring the town's growth. Historic Salem, 99 Jefferson St., is Leonard's 1859 home.
This farm trade center became best known for its creamery, capable of producing a million pounds of butter annually. Emerging from this rural environment was one of Wisconsin's foremost authors, Hamlin Garland, born here in 1860. Deeply influenced by his childhood on the frontier, Garland set his autobiographical “Middle Border” books and some dozen short stories in the coulee area around La Crosse.
Things to SeeHamlin Garland Homestead