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Yesterday in La Crosse

Wisconsin was bullish on family travel, 51 years ago

Brad Williams



In March of 1969, the state’s lieutenant governor, Jack Olson, spoke to the La Crosse Tourist Activities Corporation about ways that the Badger State could attract more visitors from other places. Olson said there should be a stress on family activities, rather than taking a fishing trip where Dad goes fishing while Mom and the kids have little to do. Camping and snowmobiling were promoted by Olson as ways to get a family out, enjoying the outdoors.

Americans mourned the death of former President Dwight Eisenhower at age 78, following several heart attacks. The major TV networks devoted many hours of programming that weekend to recalling Eisenhower’s career in politics, and as the Allied Commander who won World War II.

Drive-in theater season was beginning in La Crosse. The North Star drive-in near I-90 opened in ’69 with four Boris Karloff monster movies. At the south-side Starlite Theatre, the opening shows were the western ‘5 Card Stud’ and the sexy space story ‘Barbarella.”

At the end of March, 1969, “Dizzy” by Tommy Roe was the #1 song in America. It would be followed at #1 by the 5th Dimension’s version of “Aquarius” from the musical “Hair,” 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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