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Yesterday in La Crosse

The store with a “K” was on its way, 56 years ago

Brad Williams



In the summer of 1964, an Ohio developer predicted that a new K-Mart would be open on Losey Boulevard by the following spring. Some city aldermen were accusing Stephen Baytos of putting economic pressure on them to approve the box store, which he denied. Baytos said a K-Mart wouldn’t work downtown, but it would be the best option for the corner of Losey and State Road, to replace the Krause Kabin Kourt. The K-Mart wouldn’t actually open until September of ’65.

The British Invasion of rock and roll bands, led by the Beatles, was in full force in the summer of ’64. The song “A Hard Day’s Night” was #1 in early August, and the Rolling Stones had just appeared on the “Hollywood Palace” TV show. But the Oscar-winning song from earlier that year was definitely old school: “Call Me Irresponsible.” Wisconsin Democratic Senator William Proxmire joked to an audience at La Crosse’s Hotel Stoddard that the song “Call Me Irresponsible” ought to be about Barry Goldwater, who had just won the Republican nomination for president. Proxmire warned that replacing President Johnson with Goldwater could lead to a nuclear holocaust. As for polls showing Goldwater trailing LBJ…well, polls have been known to be wrong, Proxmire said. Call him unelectable? Politics in 1964, 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.