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Yesterday in La Crosse

Look before you leap, 45 years ago

Brad Williams



In 1975, hang gliding was becoming a fad in the Midwest, with the bluffs along the Mississippi used as jumping-off spots.  A group called the La Crosse Sky Surfers had spent several months trying to persuade the city to let them take off from Grandad Bluff.  The park board was taking its time studying the idea, with one board member suggesting that hang-gliders pay a fee of at least $5 to run off the bluff top.  The money would be spent to improve the bluff.  

A UW law graduate was opening a La Crosse law office.  Milwaukee native Roger LeGrand had spent three years in India with the Peace Corps.  LeGrand has been in La Crosse ever since ’75, serving in many elected offices including district attorney, and presiding as a circuit judge.  

The Pizza Wagon on the UW-L campus offered an individual cheese pizza for just $1.30.  For the 16-inch Wagon Special, you’d have to pay just over $5.   That November, McDonald’s opened a downtown La Crosse restaurant at 4th and Main, on the site of the Man-Lay Garden.  The golden arches remained at that corner for 20 years.  It’s now Howes Diamond Jewelry.  But it was home of the Big Mac in 1975, 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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