Are you new to the Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, area? Use the links below to find important information that will assist you in making your transition to our community a pleasurable experience. The City of Prairie du Chien, Welcomes You!

City Hall: (includes the Clerk’s Office, Treasurer’s Office, Mayor’s Office, Planning, Zoning, and Building Department, Assessor’s Office, Billing Clerk, Parks & Recreation Department, and Community Room) - Downtown at 214 East Blackhawk Avenue. For your convenience there is drop-box in the City Hall parking lot for utility and tax payments. 

Police Department: 228 North Beaumont Road next to the County Courthouse. 

Crawford County Courthouse: 220 North Beaumont Road 

Department of Motor Vehicles Service Center: Located at 65 Riverside - 7 a.m.-5 p.m. - Tuesday, Thursday.

U.S. Post Office: 120 South Beaumont Road; 326-6914

Water & Sewer Service: Water & sewer are provided by the City of Prairie du Chien. To establish sewer & water service at a site that is already connected, contact City Hall at (608) 326-6406. 

Electricity: Electricity is supplied and distributed by Alliant Energy. Contact (800) 862-6222 for information on getting electric service. 

Natural Gas: Natural gas is supplied and distributed by Prairie du Chien Gas Company (Madison Gas & Electric). Contact (608) 326-2417 for information on getting gas service. 

Telephone: Local phone service is supplied by CenturyTel. Contact (800) 201-4099 for information on getting residential phone service and(800) 201-4102 for business phone service. 

Garbage and Recycling: Garbage and recycling services are provided by the City of Prairie du Chien through a contract with Town & Country Sanitation. Contact (800) 626-1915 for information on getting garbage & recycling service.

Cable Television: Cable television service is provided by Mediacom under a franchise with the City. Contact (608) 326-7180 for information on getting cable television service.

Prairie du Chien Visitors Center: The Visitors Center offers a wealth of information about the City, the region, and Wisconsin. 211 South Main Street. 326-2241. 

Newspaper: The Courier Press (bi-weekly)

Local Television: Public Access Channel 6.
Broadcasts City Council and School Board

Local Radio: WPRE -- AM 980/WQPC,
Q94 – FM 94.3/WPRE-FM -- 104.3 FM

Emergency & Medical Help Information:
For any medical emergency or to report a
fire or crime, call 911. 

Other Contacts: Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital, 705 East Taylor Street, (608) 357-2000

Prairie du Chien Police Department222 North Beaumont Road, Non-emergency (608) 326-2421. 

Prairie du Chien Fire Department 720 East Blackhawk Avenue, Non-emergency (608) 326-4365. 

Ambulance - Interstate EMS - Prairie du Chien Inc - 1109 South 13th Street - (608) 326-5422

Registering For School Information: 
Public (Website)
Prairie du Chien School District, District Office, (608) 326-8451
Senior High School, 800 East Crawford Street, (608) 326-8437
Bluff View Intermediate, 1901 East Wells Street, (608) 326-0503
B.A. Kennedy Elementary, 400 South Wacouta Avenue, (608) 326-8451
Echoes Charter School, Eastman, (608) 874-4011

Private (Website)
Catholic Parochial Schools
St. Gabriel's Pre-School, 515 North Beaumont, (608) 326-8624
St. Gabriel's Grade School, 515 North Beaumont, (608) 326-8624
St. John's Middle School, 720 South Wacouta, (608) 326-4400

Dog and Cat Licenses

A license is required for all dogs and cats 6 months or older. The procedure for obtaining a dog or cat license is as follows: 

Obtain a Rabies Vaccination Certificate. This is issued by a licensed veterinarian clinic and is necessary before a license can be issued. 

Make application for a license at the office of the City Treasurer at City Hall. The costs for the licenses are as follows: 

$8 for an unneutered male dog or cat
$8 for an unspayed female dog or cat
$3 for a neutered male dog or cat
$3 for a spayed female dog or cat 

Licenses must be renewed annually, on or before January 31. The vaccination certificate must be presented at the time of making the application. Tags go on sale December 15. 

Exceptions to dog or cat licensing are as follows: 

a) No license or permit shall be required of any humane society, municipal animal control facility, or licensed veterinary clinic.
b) License fees shall not be required for seeing eye dogs or governmental police dogs under their control; licenses for the above shall be issued without charge. 

Kennel Licenses 

The term “kennel” means any establishment wherein dogs or cats are kept for the purpose of breeding, sale, or sporting purposes. Any person, firm, or corporation granted a kennel license shall pay an annual fee as follows: 

a) $35 for a kennel of twelve (12) or fewer animals in excess of 6 months of age.
b) The regular license fee stated at top of page shall apply for each animal 6 months of age or older in excess of twelve (12).

Prairie du Chien is the county seat of Crawford County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 6,018 at the 2000 census. Referred to as Wisconsin's second oldest city, Prairie du Chien was established by French voyageurs in the late seventeenth century. The city is located near the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers, a strategic point along the Fox-Wisconsin Waterway that connects the Great Lakes with the Mississippi. Early French visitors to the site found it occupied by a group of Fox Indians led by a chief whose name, Alim, meant "Chien" in French, or "Dog" in English. As a result, the French explorers named the location "Prairie du Chien", French for "Dog Prairie". The English pronunciation is "prairie doo sheen". Originally this name applied only to the plain upon which the settlement is located, but it was later extended to mean the city as well. The city of Prairie du Chien is located between the Town of Prairie du Chien and the Town of Bridgeport. Prairie du Chien has five National Historic Landmarks and nine sites on the National Register of Historic Places. The five National Historic Landmarks were the first designated in the state. Its close proximity to Wyalusing State Park in Wisconsin and Effigy Mounds National Monument and Pikes Peak State Park in Iowa, along with its rich history and location alongside the Mississippi River make the city a popular destination. In 2001, Prairie du Chien gained national attention for its first annual New Year's Eve celebration, during which a carp from the Mississippi River was dropped from a crane over BlackHawk Avenue at midnight. The "Droppin' of the Carp" celebration has been held every New Year's Eve since.

Graphics to the right and below courtesy of HomePages
For more information on Prairie du Chien and the surrounding area, click here for the Prairie du Chien Area Chamber of Commerce website.
To request your 2015 Prairie du Chien 64-page visitor's guide, please click on the picture above or visit the Prairie du Chien Area Chamber of Commerce website!

June 17, 1673 - The first Europeans to reach Prairie du Chien were the French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet, who reached the area by canoe while trying to discover a route to the Mississippi River. Travelers, explorers and traders moving between French Canada and the Mississippi River passed through Prairie du Chien. 
1685  - The French explorer Nicolas Perrot established a trading post in the area as part of the massive French fur trade industry. The Astor Fur Warehouse became an important building in the fur trade in Prairie du Chien. The significance of Prairie du Chien as a center of the fur trade did not diminish until the mid-nineteenth century.
1763 - Great Britain defeated France in the French and Indian War, and took possession of the French territory in North America, including Prairie du Chien. The British expanded the fur trade during their occupation of the area. During the American Revolutionary War the city was used as meeting point for British troops and their Native American allies.
1783 - After the Treaty of Paris granted the area to the new United States of America, the British and their Loyalists were slow to withdraw. Only after the War of 1812 did the city become fully American.
War of 1812 - The U.S. was slow to present any authority over Prairie du Chien, but late in the War of 1812 when the U.S. realized the importance of holding the site to prevent British attacks from Canada, it began construction of Fort Shelby in 1814. In July, the fort was captured by British soldiers during the Siege of Prairie du Chien. The British maintained control over the city until the war's end in 1815. Col. Zachary Taylor, who later became the 12th U.S. President, was the commanding officer at Fort Crawford during the Black Hawk War of 1832. Taylor oversaw the surrender of Black Hawk in Prairie du Chien. Lt. Jefferson Davis, who later became president of the Confederate States of America, was stationed at Fort Crawford at the same time. It was at this fort that Jefferson Davis met Zachary Taylor's daughter, Sarah "Knoxie" Taylor, whom he married in 1835.
1816 - Not wanting another invasion through Prairie du Chien, the Americans constructed Fort Crawford in 1816. The fort was the site of the Treaty of Prairie du Chien (1825 and 1829).
September 21, 1821 - Prairie du Chien was incorporated as the Borough of Prairie des Chiens by the secretary of the Michigan Territory. It is the only municipality in Wisconsin other than Green Bay to have been known as a borough, rather than a city, town, or village. The borough existed for a few years before the government stopped operating in 1825.
1829 - Army doctor William Beaumont carried out many of his famous experiments on digestion in the hospital of Fort Crawford. Beaumont's discoveries are still the basis of our knowledge on the human digestive process.
1849 - The Town of Prairie du Chien was created, consisting of most of present-day Crawford County.
1857 - The city was first connected to the Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad, but the width of the Mississippi River posed a challenge for further expansion of the railroad into Iowa. This problem was temporarily solved by disassembling the trains at Prairie du Chien and ferrying them across the river to be put back on the tracks on the other side.
1870 - Louis Dousman used his inheritance to construct a luxurious Victorian mansion over the site of the former Fort Shelby. When Louis died unexpectedly in 1886, his family renamed the home "Villa Louis" in his memory. The Dousman family continued to occupy the home until 1913. Nearly 40 years later, in 1952, the mansion became Wisconsin's first state-operated historic site.
1872 - The city of Prairie du Chien was incorporated. Pictured to the left is how the city looked in an 1870 lithograph.
1874 - A better solution to getting trains across the Mississippi River is created by Michael Spettel and John Lawler, who designed a permanent pontoon bridge to span the river. Lawler took most of the credit for this invention, and made a small fortune through its operation. Lawler later donated property to establish two Catholic boarding schools in Prairie du Chien, St. Mary's Institute (now Mount Mary College of Milwaukee), and Campion High School in the later part of the century. Campion High School produced several notable alumni including Vicente Fox, Congressman Leo Ryan, Governor Patrick Lucey, actors David Doyle, George Wendt, and Kevin McCarthy, and writer Garry Wills. Campion was closed in 1975.