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Yesterday in La Crosse

Who needs a $2 bill any more? Jefferson gets phased out, 53 years ago

Brad Williams



Thomas Jefferson was getting the boot from the U.S. Treasury in 1966, deciding to retire the $2 bill, but not the nickel.  The Treasury said there was a lack of demand for the 2…except, perhaps, among people betting on horse races.  

A visit by Abraham Lincoln to the Wisconsin State Fair, in 1859, was remembered at the ’66 fair.  A plaque was unveiled to commemorate Lincoln’s 1859 address to the Wisconsin Agricultural Society.  That was a year before he was elected president, and somebody noticed that the plaque depicted the bearded Lincoln speaking to that 1859 crowd.  Some spoilsport pointed out that Honest Abe didn’t grow his beard until after his election.  

Ronald Reagan was running for governor of California that fall.  The former movie actor and TV host of “Death Valley Days” was being criticized by Democrats, and a former mayor of San Francisco chided Reagan for his Hollywood background.  Reagan won that election, and the rest is history.

The Party House, on the south side of La Crosse, featured a go-go dancer named Lorie.  Downtown, the Surf Lounge presented Allen DiBlasio, billed as ‘the world’s lousiest pianist.’  In 1966, 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.