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La Crescent, Minnesota is primarily located in Houston County, although a portion extends into Winona County. The city is about three miles across the Mississippi River from Onalaska, Wisconsin and the northern part of La Cross, Wisconsin. Winona, Minnesota is just over twenty miles north of La Crescent. The terrain of the city includes several bluffs. The bulk of the city is on the side of a large bluff, while other large hills are elsewhere in the city. Native Americans have resided in the area for thousands of years and, when white settlers first came into the area, it was inhabited by the Dakota Sioux and the Winnebago. One of the early white explorers of the area, after the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, was Nathan Boone, the youngest son of Daniel Boone. La Crescent was founded in 1851 by Peter Cameron, and the settlement was first known as Camerons. At one point, Peter Cameron tried to change the flow of the Mississippi River so that it would flow nearer to La Crescent and bypass La Crosse, Wisconsin. However, he died ten weeks before its scheduled completion in 1857, and the canal was never finished, although it can still be seen in aerial photographs of the city. The settlement’s second name was Manton, but it wasn’t long before its name was changed again, this time by the Kentucky Land Company. Seeking a more romantic name, they decided on La Crescent, after the bend of the Mississippi around the town. The town was incorporated as La Crescent in 1857. In 1858, John S. Harris came to La Crescent, and experimented with planting apple trees until he derived a variety hardy enough to withstand the severe winters. He planted thousands of trees, and hundreds of varieties, at least half of which were failures. Due to his efforts, the city became known as the Apple Capital of Minnesota, and inspired the annual Applefest event. La Crescent experienced a slight decrease in population at the 2010 census but has otherwise grown larger each census year since 1880.


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