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Yesterday in La Crosse

Time for a new courthouse, 60 years ago



In the summer of 1962, the La Crosse County Board okayed plans for a brand new courthouse and jail, to be built a couple of blocks up the street from the existing courthouse built 60 years earlier.  The expected cost, just over 2 million dollars.  Even at that price, the county was looking for ways to save money, deciding to have only two elevators instead of three, and eliminating plans for a fourth floor.  The courthouse was supposed to be T-shaped, but that idea was scrapped, too.  The new building opened in 1965, and they never did add a fourth floor until a few years ago, when the place was converted into apartments.

House Republicans in Washington were celebrating a vote to stop a Democratic farm bill proposed by President John Kennedy.  A newspaper picture featured three happy lawmakers, including future presidential candidate Bob Dole.  The GOP blocked the Kennedy plan because it could have imposed production limits on farmers, and reduced surpluses of farm goods. 

Movie Westerns were still big in ’62.  ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’ was playing at the Riviera Theater on Caledonia Street.  Chuck Connors of ‘The Rifleman’ was starring as Geronimo at the Hollywood Theater.  And at the Rivoli…well, the Rivoli was temporarily closed for remodeling.  That was June of 1962, 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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