Yesterday in La Crosse

Did students still want to see plays? The question, 56 years ago

In April of 1963, the La Crosse State campus newspaper, the Racquet, reported on a rumor that the speech department was only planning to stage two plays a year, instead of the usual three. The paper asked ‘Do most students on this campus want to see plays?’ Within a few years, the college expanded its […]

A shooting uncovers a strange criminal case on French Island, 14 years ago

The situation started on a Friday afternoon in April of 2005.  A young kid on French Island told his parents that a neighborhood man had hit him and grabbed his bicycle, for riding too close to the man’s house.  The parents went to talk to the neighbor, who ended up shooting the dad in the […]

A burning police car got national attention, 28 years ago

Video of a police squad car on fire in downtown La Crosse made news in April of 1991, as a symbol of what became known as the Coon Creek riots. The cop car was tipped over in the Pearl Street area, and one man was arrested for starting the fire. More than 60 people were […]

Last orders at the Chop House, 39 years ago

The Chop House was a popular restaurant on 3rd Street in April of 1980, and had been in business since the late 40’s. But the First Bank of La Crosse owned the building, and planned to tear it down, so April 20th was announced as the last day of operation for the Chop House. Restaurant […]

April 22nd was ‘Environmental Day,’ 49 years ago

A day set aside for concern about ecology in 1970 quickly became known as ‘Earth Day.’ But at first, politicians weren’t sure what to call that red-letter day.  La Crosse Mayor Warren Loveland issued an ‘Environmental Day’ proclamation, in which he said the nation must find adequate and feasible solutions to overpopulation, and air and […]

The snowiest winter ever in La Crosse included April snow, 57 years ago

When La Crosse got 3 inches of snow on this date in 1962, that amount set a new record for the highest snowfall in the city during one winter. The official record of 78.7 inches beat the previous mark set only three years earlier…and beat it by just four-tenths of an inch. The closest we’ve […]

More attention for Elmer’s artworks, 12 years ago

Galesville sculptor Elmer Petersen was the subject of a magazine article in the spring of 2007.  The Danish Immigrant Museum of Elk Horn, Iowa highlighted “The World’s Largest Buffalo,” a 26-foot high sculpture located in Jamestown, North Dakota.  Petersen’s work was being displayed in a museum art exhibit honoring Danish-American artists.  He’s well known in […]

Three men running for mayor had different ideas for La Crosse, 46 years ago

In 1973, La Crosse had a three-way race for mayor between incumbent W. Peter Gilbertson, WKTY sales manager Phil Dyer, and St. Francis Hospital staffer James Michael.  All of them agreed that the city bus system could be run better.  Dyer wanted downtown businesses to clean up their storefronts.  Michael called for more parking downtown […]

The chief calls it a career, 13 years ago

In early 2006, Pete Stinson was retiring after a decade as La Crosse’s fire chief and more than 30 years as a firefighter. The chief told reporters that when he started, all you needed to become a La Crosse fireman was a high school diploma…and you had to be breathing. But modern firefighters were more […]

How much could you afford for a spring break, 46 years ago?

In 1973, students at UW-L were offered an eight-day Easter break bus trip to Florida. For just $120, the vacation included deep-sea fishing, and a $10 ticket to Disney World. The UW-L theater department was running spring trips to see Broadway shows in New York. The plays being performed in New York in early ’73 […]

‘Every bathroom needs a light’…advice for homemakers, 50 years ago

In early 1969, the La Crosse Tribune told readers that proper lighting could ‘spice up the bath,’ and add ‘decorating flair’ to a bathroom. Lighting options could include overhead fluorescent lamps, or multiple bulbs in the style of a theater dressing room mirror. Or, how about a small crystal chandelier for a ‘crowning touch of […]

Would you vote for a president named Mo?

Arizona Congressman Morris ‘Mo’ Udall was running for president in the 1976 election, and he made an early campaign visit to La Crosse in late 1975. Udall came three months after former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter made a La Crosse stop. Udall called himself the ‘most believable candidate.’ He told local Democrats that they would […]

A new high school opens in southern Minnesota, 52 years ago

In April of 1967, the new La Crescent High School opened its doors, with the Minnesota state education secretary brought in as keynote speaker. One reason La Crescent built a new school was a ruling from La Crosse four years earlier, not to accept Minnesota students in Wisconsin public schools. The Miss USA pageant for […]

Getting ready for a new courthouse, 57 years ago

In 1962, La Crosse County was showing off plans for a new courthouse to replace the one which had stood between State and Vine Streets since the turn of the century. Hackner Schroeder and Associates designed a new three-story structure to be built just north of the Sawyer Auditorium. The south wing of the building […]

If it’s April, it must be time to blow out the phone lines…33 years ago

On the 1st of April in 1986, listeners to one La Crosse radio station were advised to put bags over their telephone receivers.  According to an announcement, the phone company was going to blow air through the lines to clean out dirt, and the bag over your phone would collect that dirt.  It may have […]

Another dimension of adult entertainment, 46 years ago

Submitted for your approval…exotic dancing for both men and women, in an out-of-the-way place known as ‘The Twilite Zone.’ Duane’s Twilite Zone night club between La Crosse and La Crescent had its reopening in early 1973. Especially for the men, Duane offered Miss Marie, displaying ‘exotic femininity.’ And the ladies could enjoy Mister Billy Anderson […]

Family vacations were the tourism trend for Wisconsin, 50 years ago

In March of 1969, the state’s lieutenant governor, Jack Olson, spoke to the La Crosse Tourist Activities Corporation about ways that the Badger State could attract more visitors from other places. Olson said there should be a stress on family activities, rather than taking a fishing trip where Dad goes fishing while Mom and the […]

MTN stood for Move Traffic Now, 40 years ago

In March of 1979, La Crosse residents were about to vote on a referendum to prevent the widening of West Avenue for two years. But a citizen group called M-T-N wanted the north-south street to be widened by about 20 feet between King and Adams Streets. Both that group and the N-P-A, the Neighborhood Preservation […]