521 N Villa Louis Rd
Prairie du Chien, Crawford County, Wisconsin, 53821
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 was inhabited by American Indian tribes, especially the Mound Builders, as is evidenced by the large mound upon which later structures at the site. Later the land was occupied by Fort Crawford.
After the Indians were removed from the area, the land was purchased by Hercules L. Dousman, a frontier entrepreneur. He began construction on the estate in the 1840s.
Although the Dousman family had left the Villa Louis estate by 1913, they continued to own the property. Over the following decades, they rented the mansion for use as a boarding school, among other things.
In the 1930s, two of Louis Dousman's children, Violet and Virginia, began to restore the estate to its 19th-century appearance. They then transferred the property to the city of Prairie du Chien, so that the mansion could be operated as a historic house museum. In 1952, the site was acquired by the Wisconsin Historical Society, and became the organization's first historic site.
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