The Great River Road

Old Man River, Father of Waters, “body of a nation,” Big Muddy—by any name the mighty Mississippi cuts a mythic figure across the American landscape.

Prairie du Chien

Named by early 19th-century French voyageurs, Prairie du Chien (pronounced “duh-SHEEN”) could be re-christened Prairie du Kwik-Stop or Prairie du Pabst by the modern traveler cruising along the GRR on downtown’s West Blackhawk Avenue. The town’s main attraction is the posh Villa Louis (608/326-2721, daily May-Oct., $10), which embodies the wealth that could be made in the fur trade back when every European dandy’s head sported beaver-pelt hats. Built by the state’s first millionaire, the house boasts one of the finest collections of domestic Victoriana in the country; signs point you here from all over town.

 

Villa Louis (521 N. Villa Louis Rd.)

Prairie du Chien