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Wednesday - July 11, 2018 8:43 am

The area's first shopping "mall," 54 years ago

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The La Crosse area already had shopping centers like the Village and Jackson Plaza in 1964, when Winona announced a proposed "miracle mall,' using the name "mall" to describe it.  It would be built near Highway 61 and Gilmore Avenue, where you'd find a Hy-Vee store today.  The tenants of the mall would include Montgomery Ward and the Tempo department store.

Such a mall might sell "chic togs for chubby girls."  That was the headline of a newspaper article promoting clothes "especially designed for the chubby figure."  The story said a little girl who is overweight needs to feel fashionable, too...otherwise, "her charm has no chance to develop."

Wally's Knotty Pine in Onalaska promoted itself as the only night club in town with two bars.  It was featuring music by the Ken Bye Quartet.  And La Crosse's only McDonald's, on the northeast corner of Losey Boulevard and Ward Avenue, advertised more than 1 billion hamburgers sold.  The company mascot was not a clown named Ronald, but a cartoon character named "Archy McDonald," who had golden arches where his stomach should be...54 years ago, 1964, yesterday in La Crosse.


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Brad Williams

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from U-W-La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area.  Brad writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse.  He's been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.  

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