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Yesterday in La Crosse

Opening day for the new City Hall, 51 years ago

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Saturday, July 4th, 1970, La Crosse dedicated a 6-floor City Hall, which is still La Crosse’s main office building today.  It replaced the City Hall that stood for nearly 80 years at the corner of 6th and State, now part of the post office parking lot.  La Crosse’s oldest living mayor, 86-year-old Gus Boerner, cut the ribbon to open the new building. One woman visiting City Hall thought there were too many windows for city workers to look out of, and she thought the view outside would prevent them from getting work done.  This summer, most city meetings are happening at community centers elsewhere in La Crosse, because the city council chambers are getting a makeover, partly so the asbestos that was already in City Hall when it opened can be removed.  

There was no Riverfest yet in La Crosse, but Washington had a big celebration for the 4th, called ‘Honor America Day,’ hosted by Bob Hope, and featuring Billy Graham, Pat Boone, and Kate Smith. The event, attracting 250,000 people, took place at the Lincoln Memorial. The party reportedly was arranged by supporters of President Richard Nixon, to counter protests of the Vietnam War.

The Tivoli Gardens were still in business in 1970, on the George Street extension, about where you’d find Nutbush City Limits today.   

Also in July of 1970, a long-time TV news team broke up, when the last “Huntley-Brinkley Report” aired on NBC after 14 years.  Chet Huntley was retiring to his home state of Montana, and David Brinkley continued in TV for many more years.  Good night, Chet, 1970, 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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