In the fall of 1975, McDonald’s opened a downtown location in La Crosse at 4th and Main, across the street from Doerflinger’s department store. The golden arches took the place of the Man-Lay Garden, a sunken garden developed after the Linker Brothers building burned at that site in the 1960’s. McDonald’s on Main Street closed in 1995, on the 20th anniversary of its opening. It now houses Howes Diamond Jewelers.
Ponderosa also was in business in 1975, at Bridgeview Plaza, offering ribeyes for $1.39 on Tuesday, Family Night. It’s now the home of North Country Steak Buffet. Nearby you could find the Embers restaurant, serving two eggs, hashbrowns, and toast for 89 cents. A Walgreen’s store stands where Embers used to be in 1975.