LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Bill Bruring was digging in the yard of his property along King Street in La Crosse one day in 1985 when he struck something hard.
He soon discovered it was more than a rock, but rather a foundation for a building. After some more unearthing, he learned it belonged to a building dating back to the Civil War era.
On that same piece of land Friday Bruring added another chapter to his story that started in 1985. He unveiled two historical signs that tell the story of the two houses that once belonged to him, and long before him two of La Crosse's most notable figures.
Robert Looney and John J. Cole built two houses near the intersection of 6th Street and King Street in 1857 and 1865, respectively. Only the former stands today, and has been remodeled both inside and outside to accommodate new tenants.
Bruring, along with current property owners Daniel Franzini and Elizabeth Franzini, were among those standing at the foot of the structures as the signs were unveiled.
Bruring, 89, restored the signs and shared stories of what it was like to find the property. He also talked about what it means now to have a symbol of their historical importance visible for everyone to see.
"It's pretty cool that he found the foundation for the original house underneath here when he was planting," Daniel Franzini said. "That probably never would have been found if he wasn't just digging at the right place at the right time. It would have just became a parking lot. There's a lot of people that are interested in that, and it's good to know really."
The Franzini siblings have owned and maintained the properties since the mid-1990s. They realize the work Bruring did for many years to keep the more than 100-year-old buildings, and said they are striving to keep them in shape for another 100 years.
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