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Yesterday in La Crosse

Meet the beetles (looking for Norwegian wood?), 56 years ago

Brad Williams



While the band called the Beatles was conquering America in 1964, Midwestern cities were trying to fight against bugs that were spreading Dutch elm disease.  Those beetles were moving west across Wisconsin toward Minnesota, but in early June of 1964, only one case of the disease had been found in La Crosse County, in West Salem.  The La Crosse Park Department had already started spraying elm trees, and the county board was also looking at ideas for protecting local elms.  

June the 6th marked the 20th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of Europe during World War II.  But there was disagreement about how the invasion was carried out.  In a TV interview, British Field Marshal Montgomery claimed former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower didn’t understand the strategy of the charge on the beaches of Normandy.  Ike was the supreme Allied commander on D-Day.  Montgomery said the British came up with the plans, but Americans have tended to take credit for the victory.  In honor of D-Day, the Starlite Outdoor Theater in La Crosse showed “The Longest Day,” the movie drama about Normandy released just two years earlier.   

That same June, the stars of “The Lawrence Welk Show” visited La Crosse’s Sawyer Auditorium.  The touring Welk group included singers Larry Hooper and Dick Dale, Joann Castle playing honky-tonk piano, and the dance team of Bobby Burgess and Barbara Boylan.  A “wunnerful” show, 1964, yesterday in La Crosse. 

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