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Yesterday in La Crosse

George Washington used to have a holiday all to himself, 57 years ago

Brad Williams



In 1962, there was no such holiday as “President’s Day” in the U.S.  Officially, that February holiday still is called “Washington’s Birthday,” but before 1971, the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were both observed as government holidays, 10 days apart.  Usually with stores conducting holiday sales.  On George’s birthday in ’62, Kresge’s in La Crosse was “giving prices the ax,” and Fantle’s gave away a cherry pie every 30 minutes.  

The new Market Square parking ramp opened that February…much smaller than the one now on the corner of 4th and Jay.  It was a two-level deck, to hold 380 cars, and cost half-a-million dollars to build.  

And the old Central High School on Cass Street had a new piece of equipment…an elevator which went from the basement to the third floor.  The elevator was installed to insist handicapped students who had been forced to take classes in another building.  That elevator was installed in 1962, 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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