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In the late 1870's, the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad purchased three railways: the Southern Minnesota, the Chicago, Clinton, Dubuque and Minnesota; and the Wisconsin Valley. Three to four hundred cars were handled daily by the Milwaukee Road in La Crosse alone. Because of this merging of lines, there was a need to consolidate the offices for convenience and economy. The railroad also needed more warehouse space and decided to build a new freight house which was to become one of the largest in the state. The Freight House was built in 1880 and contained the freight offices of the Milwaukee Road and handled all incoming freight.


Freight services were halted in 1955. After this, the building was used by private businesses until April 1978, when renovation began to preserve on of the few remaining 19th Century railroad depots. The restaurant opened in October 1978 and has received the Heritage Award by the La Crosse Historical Preservation Society and is a National Historic Site.


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