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Yesterday in La Crosse

Murrow reports from London about the war, 77 years ago

Brad Williams



“This…is London” was a familiar opening to Edward R. Murrow’s radio reports from England during 1942.  Murrow and other CBS reporters, including Charles Collingwood and Eric Sevareid, kept American listeners up to date on World War II, and went on to do news for CBS in the early era of television.  

La Crosse had a department store named Barron’s downtown at 5th and Main in 1942.  Barron’s later changed its name to Herberger’s, and years later, Herberger’s moved to Valley View Mall.    Another popular store downtown in ’42 was Terry’s Music at 307 Main Street.  You could get 5 cents for your old 10-inch or 12-inch records, when most hit records were 12 inches across, and were played at 78 rpm.  The building is now the site of the Verve Credit Union.  

During the war, La Crosse County had a council of defense, headed by Ray Dwyer.  The council provided wardens for air raids, when people were asked to pull their blinds so the lights in your home wouldn’t be noticed by enemy planes.  It was easier to block out the lights in those days, because many homes had window shades made of dark green paper, in 1942, 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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