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Yesterday in La Crosse

Ich bin ein La Crosser? JFK comes to visit, 60 years ago

In the month before the 1960 presidential election, both major candidates campaigned in La Crosse.  Vice President Richard Nixon spoke at the Sawyer Auditorium one day after one of his TV debates with Sen. John Kennedy.  Two weeks later, Kennedy campaigned at the La Crosse airport, claiming he had campaigned in Wisconsin’s 3rd House district […]

Where to put ice, ice, baby, 40 years ago

In 1980, a group headed by former UW-L hockey coach Lloyd Dresen planned to build an ice rink for the campus and community, for just $750,000.  That was not long after a $2 million campaign for a rink at the university fell short of funding.  There were already plans to build an indoor rink at Green Island, […]

Ray Bice was concerned about vice, 33 years ago

In 1987, retired State Senator Ray Bice of La Crosse spoke out about gambling as a guest on the local public radio show “Newsmakers.”  Bice and a minister for the Wisconsin Conference on Churches discussed efforts to bring dog racing and a lottery to the Badger State.  Although Bice said he didn’t think bingo was […]

Needing a new arterial through town, 63 years ago

In 1957, city engineer Zenno Gorder told the La Crosse Businessman’s Club that the community needed a second arterial street to take some of the load off Rose Street.  The master plan involved connecting Lang Drive to George Street by way of a bridge over the north-side railroad tracks, and a re-alignment of Lang Drive […]

The fur was flying over feral cats, 15 years ago

In 2005, a La Crosse area man was asking the Wisconsin DNR for permission to shoot stray cats, if they could be defined as an ‘unprotected species.’  Mark Smith’s proposal would be put to the state’s Conservation Congress, held every April.  Cat defenders quickly rose to object to the shooting plan, including a group called […]

Meet the beetles (looking for Norwegian wood?), 56 years ago

While the band called the Beatles was conquering America in 1964, Midwestern cities were trying to fight against bugs that were spreading Dutch elm disease.  Those beetles were moving west across Wisconsin toward Minnesota, but in early June of 1964, only one case of the disease had been found in La Crosse County, in West Salem.  […]

The Longfellow principal has another problem, 43 years ago

In January of 1977, principal Myron McKee of Longfellow Junior High was back in the news.  The La Crosse school district asked McKee to explain an incident where he saw a student holding a marijuana pipe a few blocks from the school, and then took the boy back to Longfellow where he was arrested.  Because […]

La Crosse had to catch up with the Caped Crusader, 54 years ago

A superhero craze was sweeping the nation, but it was a little slow getting to the Coulee Region, yesterday in La Crosse. In early 1966, ABC showed “Batman” two nights a week, Wednesday and Thursday.  But if you lived in La Crosse, you pretty much had to get Channel 6 from Austin on cable to watch the Caped […]

No more football for Ron Kind, 36 years ago

In 1984, Logan High School graduate Ron Kind announced he would not play football during his senior year at Harvard.  Quarterback Kind said work and school responsibilities would get in the way of football.  The Harvard coaches wanted future Congressman Kind to stick it out for another year, despite some injuries.   Roger LeGrand was […]

Americans were falling in love with pizza, 59 years ago

In 1961, the Racquet newspaper at La Crosse State devoted a large article to the popularity of pizza in the U.S.  Only about 500 pizza places existed in North America in the mid-1930’s.  That ballooned to 20,000 by 1961.  World War II vets who served in Italy were credited with bringing the love of “tomato […]

What else was happening the day Elvis was born, 85 years ago?

The King of rock and roll, Elvis Presley, was born on January 8th of 1935.  Not many people would know about Presley until he started making music, some 20 years later.  George V was king of England at the time.  He would turn 70 that year, and mark his 25th anniversary in 1935 as the British […]

The district attorney’s troubles were big news in the 70’s

At the end of 1975, the La Crosse Tribune ranked troubles in the La Crosse DA’s office as the top local news story of the year.  Ed Nix had stirred up controversy in his first year as DA by dismissing charges against a defendant who had contributed to his 1974 campaign.  Nix also had clashes […]

A merger for area church schools, 20 years ago

At the start of 2000, the Catholic diocese of La Crosse announced a school consolidation plan.  La Crosse Bishop Raymond Burke said the Coulee Catholic Schools would include school buildings in Onalaska and Holmen, along with a school in Genoa.    Presidential debates were already being held by both parties, for the open 2000 election.  […]

Hollywood royalty gets a look at La Crosse, and La Crosse looks back at them, 78 years ago

In 1942, just a few months after the U.S. entered World War II, the Hollywood Victory Caravan arrived for a brief stop at the north La Crosse railroad station.  The city was on a route between St. Louis and the Twin Cities for the caravan.  During a 13-minute stop, thousands in the La Crosse crowd […]

The last day for cigarette ads on U.S. TV, 49 years ago

You could have heard the theme from “The Magnificent Seven” in ads for a certain cigarette on New Year’s Day of 1971.  But the next day, those regular ads would be banned from American TV and radio.  Months earlier, President Nixon had signed a law to ban those commercials as of January 2nd.  So, on that first […]

A lot can change in a decade

The 2010’s are coming to an end, and quite a few things about the Coulee Region were different at the end of 2009, compared to now.    Exactly a decade ago, La Crosse had a young mayor named Matt Harter.  Tim Kabat was about to become the head of Downtown Mainstreet, Incorporated, succeeding Bud Miyamoto.  […]

The state basketball tourney was low-scoring, 94 years ago

In 2017, La Crosse Central won its first state basketball championship since 1925.  The final score of that 2017 was 55-53, against Cedarburg, a very high-scoring contest compared to March of ’25, when the La Crosse High School defeated Shawano at Madison, in what one newspaper described as a game with ‘cautious playing’ on both […]

A 10-gallon limit during the energy crisis, 46 years ago

Just before Christmas of 1973, America’s new ‘energy czar,’ William Simon, asked for drivers to voluntarily limit their gasoline purchases to 10 gallons a week. He also wanted gas stations to only sell up to 10 gallons at a time to any one customer. The US was in the middle of an ‘energy crisis,’ with […]

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