An artesian well was located near De Soto. It was clearly marked along Highway 35 on the right-hand side going north by a pipe sticking out of the ground. Water ran continuously from the hills, but I really didn’t understand artesian wells and springs at that time. We kept our eyes out for barges on the Mississippi River.
From our farm at night, we could see the towboat spotlights sweeping the hills and bluffs. We would spot a shaft of light as it illuminated fog and low clouds. Sometimes, if conditions were just right, we could hear the foghorn from a towboat. The next community north was Stoddard, named after Thomas B. Stoddard, the first La Crosse mayor. Stoddard had studied law under Aaron Burr. Burr killed Alexander Hamilton, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, in a gun duel on July 11, 1804. We read about the duel in our school lessons. On the southern outskirts of La Crosse, we spotted the impressive Holy Cross Seminary and its spacious lawn that spread out to Highway 35. We passed houses, factories, and apartment buildings. Dad parked the car in the lot near the La Crosse Tribune on Fourth Street.