This small township and unincorporated village benefited from its location on the north bank of the Wisconsin River, at least in the early years. This is primarily a residential community today and you won’t find much reason to stop, unless you need to fill your gas tank.
Direct your questions to the Prairie du Chien Regional Tourism Center (800.732.1673)
When James and Samuel Gilbert arrived here in 1826, they made Bridgeport the first settlement in Crawford County outside of Prairie du Chien. Seth Hill and Francis La Pointe operated a pole ferry across the Wisconsin River along the old military road beginning around 1838.
Thomas Marsden opened a large limestone quarry in 1863. Stone from his quarry was used to build the Wisconsin state capitol, the Prairie du Chien county courthouse, and some bridges in Minneapolis. Ferry service was essentially killed in 1857 with the completion of a covered bridge over the Wisconsin River. That bridge was razed in 1931 after a new highway bridge was completed. The railroad arrived in 1857 and turned the sleepy village into an important shipping point for products from southeast Wisconsin, including livestock and grains.
Bridgeport is included in these products:
Getting Out on the River
The Captain’s Cove Motel (13389 US Highway 18; 608.994.2860), just south of Bridgeport, has canoe and kayak rentals from Memorial Day to Labor Day; they specialize in routes on the Wisconsin River.
The Captain’s Cove Motel (13389 US Highway 18; 608.994.2860; closed December–March) has eight simple, clean rooms, some of which have microwaves and refrigerators.
Heading upriver? Check out Prairie du Chien.
Heading downriver? Check out Wyalusing.
© Dean Klinkenberg, 2009