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Yesterday in La Crosse

Make way for the new Queen, 55 years ago

Brad Williams

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The La Crosse Queen paddlewheeler was being introduced in 1965.  Roy Franz of the Big Indian Boat Lines said the new excursion boat could hold as many as 150 passengers.  Franz had been offering river trips in La Crosse for three years before the Queen’s first tour.  The boat would arrive in La Crosse after a 10-hour trip up the river from Prairie du Chien.    

Memorial Field might have to be moved, to allow the state university in La Crosse to grow.  A new campus heating plant was part of the expansion project, along with the physical education building, Mitchell Hall.  The La Crosse city council had been talking for some time about possibly building a new football stadium in the marsh.    

Four women had been turned down as candidates to become U.S. astronauts.  By May of 1965, only seven Americans had gone into space, with Gus Grissom the only man to do it twice.  America wouldn’t put a woman in space until the early 1980’s. In the spring of ’65, Barbra Streisand did her first TV special, and the La Crosse Tribune said “feminine viewers (would be) interested” in a fashion salon segment on the show.  Hello, gorgeous…1965, 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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