The East Wing of the Mons Anderson House was the first stone built house, built with locally quarried stone, in La Crosse, WI between 1854-1855. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 6th, 1975, and has received multiple awards for architectural significance and historic preservation.
The house was originally built for a stonemason named Andrew W. Shepard, but was purchased by Norweigan immigrant Mons Anderson in 1861. Mons Anderson during his lifetime became one of the most prominent merchants in La Crosse, and was known as the "Merchant Prince". He was the leading supplier of boots and clothing to lumberman among the area and played an important role in the economic development of La Crosse. He continued to add on to the house in 1878, to what we see today as the Gothic Revival, and Italian Villa style home. Following his death, it was then again sold, this time to the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) in 1906. Where it was then sold again in 1920, and 1982, when it was completely refurbished by Robert Poehling, costing 1.2 million dollars to restore from deterioration. It was then sold again in 1997 for $415,000 to Joan Lambert Smith who turned it into a Bed & Breakfast called Chataeu La Cross.
In October 2008, the house went on the market again, and was sold to the current owners Timothy and Eva Ewers who have restored the house to it's original historical charm where it became the restaurant Le Chataeu, and features a speakeasy downstairs in the original wine cellar and winter kitchen, called Le Cave.
Knowing our love for historical landmarks as well as for good food and drink, Chris brought me to Le Chataeu after a recommendation to cross the river into Wisconsin for a trip to La Crosse - only an hour and ten minutes from Rochester, MN. When we arrived to the historic Mons Anderson House, I was so excited that we were going to be dining in such a beautiful and historic place in La Crosse. It was the perfect spooky season stop,where we could feel as though we were dining in a haunted mansion, although I would recommend visiting any time of year just for the experience.
We made our way down the spiral staircase into the original wine cellar and winter kitchen, Le Cave. It was beautiful, the walls surrounding made of stone, the intimate seperated spaces with bar tables, and the wine cellar. We sat down at the bartop center to a gorgeous vintage ceiling lamp that lit the bar's bottle variety. The bartender handed us the menu and listed were an array of seasonal cocktails, this time named after famous pieces of art. I ordered a smoked cocktail, called Flaming June but substituted Rittenhouse Rye with Laphroaig Scotch for a smokey addition to the pumpkin spice, ginger, apple, and coffee flavors; It was a true taste of perfectly mixed fall flavors. Chris also ordered one of their smoked cocktails, The Fumé Old Fashioned.
Before the kitchen opened for full dining, we decided to start off with something from the small plates menu - Escargot. A first for us both we were excited to try this well known European delicacy.
If you've never experienced Escargot for yourself, I highly recommend it, especially for fans of seafood, as it's the closest food I can compare the taste and textures to.
For our main courses Chris ordered the Bone-In Elk Loin accompanied with chive whipped potatoes, grilled asparagus, wild ramp, and mushrooms with a demi-glace. Chris described the Elk as full flavored, and less gamey than expected, but delicious, and that the meat was tender.
Chris' only suggestion, (and at no fault to the chef), Chris typically requests most meats rare, but suggests that for ease of access to the meat, to fall off the bone, a higher temperature is probably ideal, so he suggests medium rare/medium.
I decided on the Campanelle Pasta with sauteed wild mushrooms, asparagus and almond pesto topped with a lobster tail and shaved parmesan. I loved this dish because many places who serve pasta dishes offer thick sauces and very little lighter options. This pasta had a light coating of pesto, just enough to give it flavor without being overdone, and the mix of sautéed asparagus and wild mushrooms made for the perfect combination. I added a lobster tail as a protein so that I wasn't solely feeding my body carbs, but some protein as well. The lobster was a perfect size for the meal and delicious with a side of clarified butter.
For dessert, Chris ordered himself a mocha, and I delighted in a simple vanilla creme brûlée topped with Chantilly, citrus, and a nice thick whip. There we so many interesting and delicious dessert options to choose from such as a Bavarian Mousse and pistachio sponge cake topped with a light raspberry mousse, a lime and basil tart made with an olive oil crust topped with strawberry sorbet, a pecan crusted coconut cheesecake topped with mangoes and coconut ice cream, or the twist on the creme brûlée - a lavender butterfly pea flower infused with rose creme and berries.
So whether you're going in for drinks at Le Cave, or planning an evening dinner at Le Chateau you're sure to have a hard time choosing between the changing seasonal beverages, the delectable entrees, or the many dessert options.
If you have time, take a tour of the upstairs where youll find a beautiful library, and dining room, and if you head up the stairs you'll find the tower where you can request a private dining experience.
You can also book their 2 bedroom apartment through AirBnB for an overnight stay if you're traveling in.
The Mons Anderson House is listed on my
"Visit a Haunted House"
While I recommend a visit to anyone looking for some sort of Haunted Mansion experience, please note that the Mons Anderson House is not known for being haunted and is not advertised as such, I just personally felt that due to it's historical significance, and being over 168 years old that it may be likely that one would feel a presence of some sort of the houses numerous past lives over the years.
Haunted or Not, The Mons Anderson House was just the type of experience I was looking for, and I hope for those of you nearby, you'll take the chance to visit it too! I will definitely be making another visit before we relocate!
Have any haunted house recommendations anywhere else in the U.S? Comment below!