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Building History

The Schintgen Building

225 3rd St. No 

La Crosse, WI

Circa 1888

Frontiers Boutique is housed on the second floor of the historic Schintgen building at 225 3rd Street North.  The Schintgen Building was built in 1888 by Peter Schintgen, a mill operator, grocer, and an ice and hay dealer.  Peter Schintgen was an immigrant from Luxembourg, Germany. After finding success in La Crosse’s burgeoning economy, he commissioned the construction of the Schintgen Building for $25,000,- a considerable amount of money in that day.  It was notable design for its time with a Queen Anne style second story window and Roman arch entryway.

The Schintgen Building had 3 commercial spaces, 2 on the ground floor, and one on the second floor.  Over the years, the spaces have operated independently of each other, as well as being leased together as one business.  The Schintgen Building has seen many different kinds of businesses operating in its spaces, such as: grocery store, restaurant, millner shop (hat maker), delivery agency, Harley Davidson motorcycle sales, and a boarding house.  But there were other businesses that operated in the Schintgen Building that are much more interesting…

From 1890-1900, The La Crosse Turkish Bath Institute operated in the building.  The Turkish bath institute was moved from its previous location on Front Street by James L. Petersen.  The La Crosse Turkish Bath Institute offered Turkish and Russian baths followed by “massage” and “medical rubbing” given in private rooms.  Historically, Turkish bath houses were often thinly veiled houses of prostitution.  The La Crosse Turkish Bath Institute was eventually sold to J.C. Perkins, who was one of the first black business owners in La Crosse.  J.C. Perkins was also known as “Judge” Perkins because he “practiced law,” although he never went to law school, and was a common fixture in La Crosse court rooms for years.  

The 1920’s brought several different owners to the Schintgen Building, as it changed hands often. Following the chain of ownership becomes hard to follow during this time.  Several of the men leasing space in the Schintgen Building had rather questionable relationships with the law.  Ben Henderson ran a “soft drink company” during Prohibition which was raided several times for bootlegging alcohol.  2 years later, a man named Hugh O’Hara also ran a “soft drink company” in the building during Prohibition, which was robbed twice. Rumor has it that there were doorways that connected Dels Bar to the Schintgen Building during that time, although they are now covered over.

Probably the most notable owners/leasers of the 1920’s were Carem David and Mike Monsoor.  Both of these men were well known in La Crosse, as they owned pool halls at other addresses that were repeatedly raided for illegal gambling and alcohol sales.  An April 26, 1928 La Crosse Tribune article stated that the second floor apartment at 225 3rd Street North was raided and padlocked, after it was found that a woman named Lulu Ames (or Hayes) was operating a “house of ill fame” at the residence.  Charged were filed for all involved.

The Schintgen Building has certainly seen and been many things in the last 133 years.  After a loving restoration, the scandalous second floor is ready to begin its new life as the home of Frontiers Boutique.  The Parlor has been restored to its former glory, complete with a fireplace that was discovered behind a wall.  Original hardwood floors have been restored to a beautifully rustic glow.  Every room has original 1888 doors, trim, and wainscotting.  The beauty of the building, as well as all the stories it holds, is waiting for you.  We think the history of the building pairs perfectly with our western chic concept.  Come discover both at Frontiers Boutique.