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Yesterday in La Crosse

The new downtown hotel was open for business, sort of, 40 years ago

Brad Williams



In April of 1980, the management of the new Radisson Hotel at Harborview moved into the uncompleted building.  They had been working out of Gateway Foods on the north side of La Crosse.  The Radisson project, costing $7 million, was about three months ahead of schedule, and was aiming for a July opening.   

President Carter quoted intelligence reports which claimed that the leader of Iran, the Ayatollah Khomeini, did not want the hostages at the U.S. embassy in Tehran to be released until after the U.S. presidential election was done in November.  Carter said the ayatollah was one of many in Iran who had a “burning hatred” of America.   The hostages had already been held captive for five months.  

On April 17th, the Milwaukee Bucks were one victory away from the NBA conference finals.  The Bucks were ready to eliminate the defending league champs, the Seattle Supersonics, from the playoffs.  The Sonics came back for two more wins, and eliminated Milwaukee.   

Happy Sleeper on Ward Avenue in La Crosse had a sale on waterbeds.  Their featured bed models cost between $200 and $300, and included not just the mattress that you would fill with water, but also the bed deck, frame, liner, and heater.   

The original “Hawaii Five-O” with Jack Lord ended its 12-year run on TV that April.  “The Rockford Files” and “Barnaby Jones” also went off the air during the year.  Meanwhile, fans of another CBS show were buzzing about a cliffhanger ending.  J.R. Ewing had been shot on the season finale of “Dallas,” and viewers would have to wait until November to learn “Who Shot J.R.?”  In 1980, yesterday in La Crosse.         

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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