Sunken Civil War era steamboat gets official holiday in La Crosse

The La Crosse Historical Society held an event for War Eagle Day at the Riverside Museum on Saturday.

The museum was open free of charge and featured steamboat exhibits, a talk from a diver who recovered War Eagle artifacts and more.

The War Eagle could hold more than 300 people and helped carry troops, weapons and supplies during the Civil War.

An accident involving petroleum barrels and a lantern led to five deaths and the sinking of the War Eagle in 1870.

“The dock, the warehouses along the shore, the railroad station, the train and the grain elevator all burned up in the short period of about one hour, and it changed, forever, the front door of La Crosse,” said Robert Taunt, a War Eagle Day coordinator.

La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat was at the event to proclaim May 11 ‘War Eagle Day’.

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