In July of 1943, the Second World War was raging on several fronts. Just on the front page of the La Crosse Tribune, the Secretary of the Navy said the Japanese had taken a “damned good licking,” losing six of their ships at Kula Gulf. The Germans were fighting on the Russian front at Orel and Kursk. The U.S. and Britain were bombing an Italian air base on the island of Sicily.
The weather service said more water in the Mississippi flowed past La Crosse in June than in any other June on record. The average river stage for the month was 11.6 feet, almost flood stage.
La Crosse did not have a public incinerator, so families had to sort their garbage carefully. The city health officer said glass had to be kept out of the regular garbage, which was taken away to be fed to the hogs.
A divorce was granted to Lieutenant Commander William Harrison Dempsey of the Coast Guard reserve, after a court referee decided that the commander’s wife had cheated on him with a former boxer. It was front-page news because Commander Dempsey was better known as former heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey.
The ladies of La Crosse could buy fur coats at Montgomery Ward, even in wartime. Okay, so many of the coats were made from coney, rabbit fur, but the coneys were dyed to look like mink or sable. In 1943, yesterday in La Crosse.