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Needing a new arterial through town, 63 years ago

Brad Williams



In 1957, city engineer Zenno Gorder told the La Crosse Businessman’s Club that the community needed a second arterial street to take some of the load off Rose Street.  The master plan involved connecting Lang Drive to George Street by way of a bridge over the north-side railroad tracks, and a re-alignment of Lang Drive and West Avenue.  The two streets were located about half-a-block apart at La Crosse Street in ’57.    

The battle to succeed the late Senator Joseph McCarthy was on in Wisconsin.  McCarthy, best known for his campaign against Communism in the U.S., had died in May.  Nine candidates were running for the seat that summer.  They included two incumbent House members, recently retired governor Walter Kohler, Lieutenant Governor Warren Knowles, and the runner-up in the previous election for governor, Democrat William Proxmire.  It was Proxmire who would eventually win the seat.  

More supervision was needed at wading pools around the city.  The park board decided to appoint matrons to monitor those pools for 8-and-a-half hours a day, and to allow only kids under 10 years old to be in the pools, to discourage “roughhousing and rowdyism.”  The rules covered four wading pools, at Myrick, Houska, Trane, and Copeland Parks.  For TV watching in ’57, you could see Lawrence Welk, Vic Damone, Jimmy Durante, Dragnet, Playhouse 90, or a sitcom called “Mr. Adams and Eve,” starring the real-life couple Howard Duff and Ida Lupino, yesterday in La Crosse. 

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