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It was the worst local storm of the winter, until the next one, 61 years ago

Brad Williams



On one day in February of 1959, La Crosse got 8 inches of snow.  A front-page photo in the Tribune showed a car buried in snow, parked outside Coney Island, the Hub Loan office, and the Melody Mill Tavern on 3rd Street.  But the worst was yet to come.  On March 5th, the city was pounded with 13 inches of snow in one day–still one of the heaviest single-day snowfalls on record in La Crosse.   

The president of the UW had a “Wisconsin Idea” about young people who wanted to become doctors.  Conrad Elvehjem told a medical convention in Chicago that there are three common motivations for somebody to study medicine.  One is to save lives and ease suffering.  A second is the desire to learn more about science.  And the third motive is to make a high salary.  Elvehjem said that if a student wants to be a doctor just for the money, then he should be denied admission to medical school.   

Woolworth’s on Main Street in La Crosse was advertising “mystery voodoo bulbs”–flowers that didn’t need water or soil, and would bloom in three weeks. 

On a typical Wednesday night that winter, people could stay home and watch TV shows including “Lawrence Welk’s Plymouth Show” and “The United States Steel Hour.” Bill Cullen did double duty on Wednesdays, hosting “The Price is Right” on NBC, and then appearing an hour later as a panelist on “I’ve Got a Secret” on CBS.  A double Bill in 1959, yesterday in La Crosse.

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