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Yesterday in La Crosse

Someone tried to kill Hitler, 80 years ago

Brad Williams



A La Crosse newspaper headline said “Attempt on life of Fuehrer fails.”  And there was only one Fuehrer around, Adolf Hitler.  In November of ’39, Hitler attended a celebration at a beer hall in Munich where he and other Nazis had plotted a coup attempt in 1923.  A few minutes after Hitler left, an explosion in the hall killed seven people.

In Chicago, somebody did kill Al Capone’s lawyer, Edward O’Hare.  While O’Hare was driving, another car pulled up beside him, and two men fired shots at him.  O’Hare’s car crashed into a pole.  The killers were never found.  O’Hare Airport is named after Edward’s son Butch, a flying ace in World War II.         

It was already 21 years since the end of the First World War.  The city of La Crosse put the American Legion in charge of an Armistice Day parade downtown on November 11th, starting at Cameron Park.   

The Burlington railroad was making plans to give up a train depot at 2nd and Pearl, in order to build a new station under the bluffs at 26th and State.   

Hanes was advertising men’s winter underwear, “as comfortable as a bird-dog by the fire.”  The Nelson Clothing Company sold Hanes at its store on Caledonia Street.   

La Crosse had one radio station in 1939, WKBH.  On November 9th, some of the popular shows on the air included the 6 p.m. Sport Flash, the Football Prophet, and the Major Bowes amateur hour.  Born that same day in 1939: Dick Record, who would grow up to buy WKBH and change the call letters to WIZM.  During his long career at WIZM, he also started a feature called ‘Yesterday in La Crosse.’  Happy birthday, Dick.           

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.