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Yesterday in La Crosse

A state office building, or a parking lot? A county question in 1957



In January of 1957, the La Crosse County Board narrowly turned down a plan to convert a county parking lot at 4th and Vine Streets to a six-story office building.  Some supervisors were surprised by the suggestion that a state building would be placed downtown.  Board member and future judge Peter Pappas warned that if the parking lots were converted to other uses, the former owners of the property might try to sue. 
Another future La Crosse judge, Eugene Toepel, was serving in the state Assembly.  Toepel was a local attorney, and he had just been named chairman of the Assembly Judiciary Committee. 
There was talk in Washington of a false telegram sent to Republican Party officials, apparently intended to influence the choice of a new party chair.  One GOP Senator said he hoped that loyal Republicans would be offended by the ‘fraudulent’ attempt to interfere with the selection process.  That Senator was Prescott Bush, whose son and grandson would both become future presidents. 
At Sears in downtown La Crosse, you could buy 10 lightbulbs for a dollar…a dozen wooden clothespins for just a nickel…and 15 bucks would get you enough floor tiles to cover a 10-by-12-foot room.  Sixty years ago, 1957, yesterday in La Crosse.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also 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. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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