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OUR STORY

      In 1936 things were looking up, the worst of Great Depression had passed Prohibition was over; WWII had not started. In and around Prairie du Chien, WPA workers were finishing the swimming pool, the Dousman heirs gave the Villa Louis to the city & construction on the                           Lynxville Dam had started. People complained about the drought and the riverfront                             being used as a city dump.

                                         Also in 1936 the Winneshiek was built as a bar at 210 North                                                                                      Second Street. Since it had a one-third basement it was                                                                        likely set on an old foundation. Then for a half century the                                                                                                 Winneshiek stood on historic Main                                                                                                                            Village Lot 23 just behind the St. Feriole Island Depot. 

The Winneshiek

1940's & 1950's

 People that grew up in the 4th Ward during the 40's & 50's remember when the north end                of the Winneshiek was a bar and the south end was a grocery store. Several people                                              admit they went there with their high school dates and friends.

                          Tom & Harriet Smith ran the Winneshiek until Tom's death in the summer of                                      1960. By that time the grocery store had disappeared and the bar expanded to                                   take up the entire building. Mrs. Smith leased the business for a time before                                               selling it to Leo & Florence Weber

                                         Employees from the Packing Plant located in the Dousman House from                                                            the late 30's to mid 1952 stopped and cashed their checks. They                                                                                          often ran into those from the Deck stopping after                                                                                         work.

Legendary Bars

                                                                                      The Winneshiek and the other famed 4th                                                                                                 Ward tavern; McClure's, later the Rosegarden                                                                                         were classic examples of neighborhood bars.                                                                                           Although they were not quite the Spit &                                                                                                   Whistle (Prairie du Chien's legendary tavern on South Main) they did have their charms and loyal regulars. There was always a lot of dancing at the Winneshiek. 

The Name, Winneshiek

                                                                    The name may have been for the Winnebago chief who                                                                          lived in this area.  It is just as likely that it may have                                                                                           been named for the sportsmen's paradise on                                                                                            the Mississippi known as The Winneshiek; a                                                                                          large network of islands where the highway                                                                                            crosses between Lansing, Iowa & Wisconsin.                                                                                          When the locks and dams were built and the                                                                                          time when the Winnie was built the cherished                                                                                       Winneshiek was largely destroyed.

The Weber's Ownership

Leo & Florence Weber ran the Winneshiek from the mid 1960's until they sold the property to the city part of the St. Feriole Island Relocation project in 1984. In the later years the Winneshiek was only open on the weekends. Tragically after they sold the bar, the Weber's were both killed in a plane crash with Leo as the pilot.

Moving "The Winnie"

                The current owner Blair Dillman bought the Winneshiek & floated int on a barge up                      the slough to it's present location on Frenchtown Road (County K) across from                              "The Barn" on the banks of the Winneshiek Marina, in Greymore Lake.