About Prairie du ChienDating from 1673, when Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet reached this site at the confluence of the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers, Prairie du Chien is the oldest community on the Upper Mississippi River. Traditionally, the name of Prairie du Chien came from the French for “prairie of the dog,” a Fox chief who lived on the prairie. The oldest part of the town is on St. Feriole Island along the Mississippi.
Prairie du Chien became a flourishing fur market soon after the French explorers' visit, attracting Native Americans from the remote upper reaches of the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers, as well as traders and settlers. From 1685 to 1831 four forts were built and occupied at various times by French, British and American forces. It was at Fort Crawford that Jefferson Davis and Zachary Taylor were stationed.
The Prairie Villa Rendezvous, in mid-June, features reenactors who portray the fur traders who once populated the area.
Prairie du Chien is the southern terminus of an especially scenic route that follows the Mississippi River. The route consists of SR 35 running north to La Crosse, then northwest along the Mississippi River to Prescott.
Visitor Centers Prairie du Chien Area Chamber of Commerce 211 S. Main St. Prairie du Chien, WI 53821. Phone:(608)326-8555 or (800)732-1673
Things to Do Fort Crawford Museum
Prairie Du Chien, WI
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