Universalists first gathered in the scenic bluff country of La Crosse in the 1850s. We now are the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of La Crosse and are an independent member of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) based in Boston.

  • 1850’s: Universalists meeting on an informal basis. At least one advertised in a La Crosse newspaper.
  • October 4, 1860: Universalists organize, meeting at the First Ward School. Initial document signed by 26 persons. Seth Barnes of St. Anthony Falls named pastor.
  • June 19, 1865: Universalists receive state incorporation.
  • July 1865: First Universalist Church ground-breaking, 8th & Cass.
  • August 1866: First Universalist Church completed.
  • 1870: First Universalist Church votes to rename itself “St. Paul’s Universalist Church.”
  • 1895-1905: St. Paul’s in La Crosse is the largest Universalist congregation in Wisconsin.
  • 1920’s: Declining membership leads to St. Paul’s Universalist Church being rented to the Church of Christ.
  • 1930: Universalist congregation dissolved.
  • 1951: Unitarian Fellowship organized in La Crosse under the leadership of Carroll Gundersen.
  • 1951-1960: Unitarian Fellowship holds Sunday evening meetings at the YWCA building (West Avenue & Main).
  • 1961: Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship of La Crosse organized, new name reflecting the nationwide organizational merger.
  • 1961-2004: Fellowship conducts Sunday services, at the Grandview Building (17th & Main), then at the Southside Seniors Center (1220 Denton).
  • Summer 1995: Fellowship receives incorporation in the state of Wisconsin.
  • 2004-2007: Fellowship growth led to a move to the Pump House, 119 King Street, La Crosse, WI.
  • 2007-Present: Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of La Crosse continues to grow to serve the larger community. We now meet in our own building at 401 West Avenue South, La Crosse, WI.

History taken from Universalist and Unitarian Milestones in La Crosse, by Ronald Malzer and Bill Katra. Edited and updated by Greg Dihlmann-Malzer.