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Yesterday in La Crosse

Richard Nixon rides in a La Crosse parade, 60 years ago

Brad Williams



You don’t necessarily see many candidates riding in the back of a open car any more, but Richard Nixon did that in La Crosse, in the fall of 1960.  The vice president came to town for a rally that October, and he sat in the back seat of a convertible along with Republican candidates for governor and Congress.  Nixon’s wife Pat didn’t make the trip, but young Republicans from the state teachers’ college rode on a float to toss 60 pounds of candy kisses to the parade watchers in Pat’s honor.  While speaking at the Sawyer Auditorium, Nixon said challenger John Kennedy’s farm program would destroy the American farmer’s way of life, leading to black markets and mass slaughtering.  Nixon was given local cheese and apples to take home to Washington, in 1960.