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Villa Louis, Prairie du Chien

4.7
#17 of 45 in Historic Sites in Wisconsin
Historic Site Tourist Spot
The Villa Louis, also known as Dousman Mansion, is a National Historic Landmark located on St. Feriole Island, in Prairie du Chien, southwestern Wisconsin. The villa and estate are a historical museum operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society. The site has been restored to its appearance during the late 19th century, when it was the estate of the prominent H. Louis Dousman family.HistoryThe site was inhabited by American Indian tribes, especially the Mound Builders, as is evidenced by the large mound upon which later structures at the site (Fort Shelby, Fort Crawford, and the homes of Hercules and of Louis Dousman) have all stood. In 1814, the Siege of Prairie du Chien was fought in the area by American and British troops hoping to control Fort Shelby during the War of 1812. Later the land was occupied by Fort Crawford.After the Indians were removed from the area, the land was purchased by Hercules L. Dousman, who was a man of many trades: a fur trader, a lumberman, a land sculptor, and a frontier entrepreneur. In the mid-1840s, he began construction on the estate from which Villa Louis would be born. The location he chose was perfect due to its proximity to the Mississippi River.
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30 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, relaxing, historic sites, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, relaxing, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 3 days in Prairie du Chien & La Crosse BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in Wisconsin BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, shopping, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 15 days in Wisconsin BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 14 days in Wisconsin BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 32 days in Wisconsin BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: February, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Prairie du Chien BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 4 days in Minneapolis & Prairie du Chien BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in La Crosse & Prairie du Chien BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy
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124 reviews
Google
4.7
  • I had not been here in over 40 years and my husband not at all. We had a young gal as our guide - just for the two of us - she was extremely knowledgeable. It is so interesting seeing how people of we...  more »
  • We visited Villa Louis while en route through Wisconsin & Iowa. The house has been carefully restored to its early 20th century state and is a fascinating snapshot on the development of the trade and ...  more »
  • I have visited Villa Louis too many times to count. I never get tired of it. It is one of the first places we take friends when they visit us in SW Wisconsin. The house, the grounds, the gift shop,the...  more »
Google
  • Very professional presentation. Weather was ideal. Presenters very friendly to visit with. Appreciated the free admission for active duty military and veterans.
  • It is the most beautiful place to visit in Prairie du Chien and is absolutely worth a stop. The guides are always wonderful and you will enjoy yourself!
  • Great place to visit really enjoyed the tour
  • What a wonderful place to visit. We went on a behind-the-scenes tour and saw the adjacent office building and house. In addition to those, we saw the basement and attic within the house. The house is in great condition and the staff have gone to great lengths to make it as original as possible. In the attic, there were a few other pieces that weren't on display for various reasons. It was a nice bonus. On the day we toured, there was another group recreated a historical Victorian breakfast so the house smelled wonderful. It would be fun to return and participate in that breakfast. Note that photography inside is prohibited. The stairs down to the basement and attic are somewhat more difficult than the main staircase. There isn't much to see in the basement, but it was still neat.
  • Very intereating to look around at all the old buildings