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Sunrise over frozen Lake Onalaska
Onalaska City Hall
Lake Onalaska gazebo
Onalaska Wisconsin sunfish sculpture
Great River Landing
Great River Landing
Ice fishing on Lake Onalaska
Rowe Park sign

What makes Onalaska such a special place?

Onalaska was originally founded by Thomas G. Rowe from New York, who came here in 1851. It soon became a flourishing lumber town. The name "Onalaska" came from the poem, "The Pleasures of Hope," by Thomas Campbell, published in 1799. Rowe liked the line, "The wolf's long howl from Oonalaska's shore," and decided to use the name, only with one "o". Onalaska is built on a ridge overlooking Lake Onalaska and the Black River, the Mississippi River and the Minnesota bluffs three miles away. Majestic scenery, abundant clean water, clean air, uncongested lifestyle, abundant recreational and cultural opportunities and a low crime rate contribute to the excellent quality of life in Onalaska.


  • School District of Onalaska
  • 1821 East Main Street, Onalaska, WI 54650
  • Phone: (608) 781-9700
  • Fax: (608) 781-9712
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