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Yesterday in La Crosse

The city had an airport, but was in danger of losing some air service, 91 years ago

Brad Williams



In March of 1929, Uncle Sam was threatening to take away La Crosse’s airmail service, if something wasn’t done about the airport.  Northwest Airways had the airmail contract between the Twin Cities and Chicago, and it seems the La Crosse airport wasn’t keeping its runway sufficiently clear during the winter.  But, a little shoveling by a city snow plow was enough to satisfy the airline, and the government men, and La Crosse got to keep getting airmail.  

Four candidates were running for mayor of La Crosse that spring–Mayor Joseph Verchota, Ori Sorenson, John Langdon, and Charles Lang.  A newspaper story said the candidates were planning no other speeches before the primary, so this was the only opportunity for citizens to hear them.  It was an evening meeting in the main courtroom at the courthouse, sponsored by the League of Women Voters.   

The Tribune had an end-of-winter contest, offering $10 to whoever had the closest guess of when the ice on the Mississippi would start to go out.  

A popular stage actress was endorsing Lucky Strike cigarettes.  This star said smoking a Lucky was ‘a most effective way of retaining a trim figure’–that is, having a smoke instead of eating candy.  She said Luckies never affect the voice.  The celebrity smoker was Billie Burke, best known for playing Glinda the Good Witch of Oz.  Smoke ’em if you got ’em, 1929, yesterday in La Crosse.