I took the picture below as I passed by on a paddleboat cruise in 2004. I explored the ruins in 2006. At least some of the caves referred to below are still there. Nate in his "Nate on the River Blog" says he is spending a few days in Trempealeau as part of his Mississippi River canoe voyage.
The temperature stayed at 44 degrees the year around; in all the underground caves.
The excavations are still to be seen. The largest one running back into the hill to the alley in the middle of the block. At the rear it is 35 feet below the surface. These caves were 7 to 8 feet high and were connected by passages created by widening a natural fault in the sandstone. The two larger ones were ventilated by shafts dug down through the earth and rock above. All these were dug with pick and shovel from solid sandstone. The entire building except the wooden addition has large cellars beneath it. In fact, the place has, including the caves more capacity underground than above.
On the ground floor was a bar room and dance hall. Ywo living rooms as well as a dining room, parlor, kitchen nd family bedroom. Upstairs were 16 rooms for guests.The engine room and brew room occupied a long stretch of ground floor frontage.
Melchoir's was the first brewery in Trempealeau County or this section of the state, being opened in 1861 Melchoir Lager Beer made Trempealeau famous long before Schlitz of Milwaukee put that city on the map. The tavern was known far and wide because of its river frontage. All types of people came and stopped at Melchoir's: wheat growers, loggers, landscapers, raftsmen, carport crews, traders, trappers, hunters and immigrants. "