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Yesterday in La Crosse

No parking ramps downtown? Hard to believe, 62 years ago



In 1956, a parking ramp, or a deck, was unheard of in La Crosse. But a Citizens’ Committee for a Greater La Crosse was asking for a “yes” vote on a ramp referendum. The proposed Market Square ramp at 4th and Jay would be financed by revenue bonds, and eventually paid off by the nickels and dimes used to feed meters in the ramp. More than 300 cars could park there. But Alderman Don Colby said a ramp wasn’t needed, because surface lots were only about half full. The ramp referendum was defeated…but a Market Square ramp eventually would be built in the early 60’s.

There was a shortage of camping sites in La Crosse County. Visitors who stopped at an information booth at 3rd and Cass were told that the county didn’t have real campgrounds…and tourist officials wanted to establish some campsites, to follow a national trend.

That fall, “I Love Lucy” was in its final season as a weekly show. The Monday night line-up on CBS included Lucy, George Burns and Gracie Allen, “December Bride,” Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts, and Robin Hood. And there was a new big-money quiz show that fall on NBC, called “Twenty-One”…which would later figure into a national game-show rigging scandal. It was a new hit 62 years ago, 1956, 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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