I’ve written before about my enthusiasm for architectural walking tours and my preference for the in-person experience. Nonetheless, online tours can be a helpful resource especially as they become more sophisticated in presentation.
As someone who has visited La Crosse only briefly, and then spent my time mostly downtown, it was a revelation. The district includes some impressive examples of domestic architecture and I was especially taken by the number of Prairie Style houses. Many are by Percy Dwight Bentley, a La Crosse architect with whom I am familiar, and several are by Otto Merman, a name new to me.
For example, I recently took a virtual tour of the Cass-King Residential District in La Crosse. The upsides of online tours include the level of detail, the chance to see historical images, and moving at my own pace. The downsides are that there is no context for the settings of individual buildings and I will not catch nuances that emerge when standing in front of a place.
Perhaps I am biased because I give walking tours myself for the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation. Still, the virtual tour has its place. Having visited La Crosse on the Web, I am more likely to drive there and check out the Cass-King District in person so I can satisfy my curiosity and fill the gaps that the virtual tour can’t provide.
Next stop on the Web: Madeline Island!