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Yesterday in La Crosse

Thursday, August 8th, 1974…not just any day on the calendar

Brad Williams



Americans would crowd around TV sets on the night of August 8th in 1974, as the two-year Watergate scandal was about to come to an end.    President Richard Nixon spoke at 8 o’clock, La Crosse time, saying he didn’t have enough political support in Congress to remain in office. The La Crosse city council paused its regular monthly meeting to watch Nixon’s address.  Mayor Peter Gilbertson wasn’t happy about the resignation, because the impeachment charges against the president had not been voted on yet by the House.  Gilbertson thought that former New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller might have plotted the scandal, as revenge for losing the presidential nomination to Nixon in 1968.   

Nearly 200 students graduated from the technical school that Thursday night, during a ceremony at the Sawyer Auditorium.  At the Vogue tavern on George Street, some customers wanted to watch a pre-season football game instead of the Nixon speech.  An International Mime Festival was wrapping up at Viterbo College that week.  And the Monroe County Fairgrounds in Tomah was hosting the National High School Rodeo.   

On the radio, WKTY picked up the syndicated John Doremus show.  Doremus was known for playing a medley of hit songs tied together by a common theme.  His show had been heard on the easy-listening WWLA-FM until that summer, when the station switched to a top-40 format and was nicknamed LA-93, in 1974, 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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