Brownsville Boathouses

After La Crosse, we made our way down to Brownsville where there are several groups of boathouses. Boathouses are houses that float, differentiated from houseboats which are mobile.


We were fighting into a headwind all the way down to Brownsville and the choppy waves were splashing up on deck.


The Brownsville boathouses are divided up into a few different groups, north and south of town.  We went to the marina at Lawrence Lake where Kim the new owner of the marina treated us very decently. He tucked us into a quiet corner so we could be oblivious to the crazy of Steak Night.


Boathouses stretched over a half mile of shoreline along Lawrence Lake.



That night we were dinner guests of Ken and Sara Lubinski. Ken works at the USGS research station north of La Crosse and was one of the folks I interviewed. Sara is a former botanist and a talented artist who paints river landscapes.

Also at dinner was Marti Phillips, friends of Ken and Sara and author of The Floating Boathouses on the Upper Mississippi River: Their History, Their Stories, a book I’d used as a reference before our trip and one I’d included on our river reading list.

For me, it was an amazing dinner awash with overwhelming excitement about the river, its people, and the geography of the region.


The next day, we worked our way down to the collection of boathouses below Brownsville. We tied up to Marti’s boathouse. Our shantyboat and her boathouse had a chance to talk to each other in creaks and groans, what is apparently the language of floating homes.


Some of the boathouses still had boat wells, their original purpose, kind of a garage for your boat.


In other news, the Queen Anne’s lace is beautiful and alien.

2 comments for “Brownsville Boathouses

  1. marti phillips
    August 19, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    Wes and Kai,
    It was great to meet and talk with you at Brownsville, and I hope your stay at my boathouse gave you the special Brownsville POV on boathouses. Maybe you’ll resume your trip beginning at Brownsville next summer?
    I’ll send you the book names and references we talked about Sorry I was on such a tight schedule and only had a little time there with you-

Leave a Reply