Yesterday in La Crosse

The energy crisis was hitting the region, 45 years ago

Rising fuel prices and many shortages led to some changing habits around America late in 1973.  A fuel cutback was blamed for the cancellation of two regular weekend flights between La Crosse and Chicago by North Central Airlines.  The national average price for a gallon of gas went from 39 cents a gallon in ’73 to […]

A student activist group wasn’t welcome on a local campus, 52 years ago

In December of 1966, La Crosse State president Sam Gates decided not to give a charter to the SDS…Students for a Democratic Society.  The FBI was suspicious of the group, with J. Edgar Hoover saying it was part of the ‘new left.’  The American Legion and a local group of World War One veterans announced […]

One decade wasn’t enough for Mayor Pat, 34 years ago

Around Christmastime of 1984, La Crosse Mayor Pat Zielke launched another re-election campaign, finishing up 10 years in the 6th floor office at City Hall.  Zielke said he was hoping to get a new hotel built downtown, in place of the vacant Sawyer Auditorium on Vine Street. Municipal Judge John Perlich was interested in moving […]

The old year of 1955 was making way for ’56, yesterday in La Crosse.

The holiday season of 1955 had featured a La Crosse presentation of “The Messiah,” directed by David Mewaldt from the music department at La Crosse State.  Some of the gifts that holiday season were a Schwinn corvette bike for $74.95 at Smith’s bicycle shop…$5 leather gloves from Newburg’s men’s wear…a pressure cooker from Tausche’s hardware […]

Bad week for Harborview, 42 years ago

 At Christmas-time of 1976, the head of La Crosse’s redevelopment authority, Charles Parrott, resigned to take a similar job in Colorado.  Parrott had been hired by La Crosse in 1965, at a salary of $11,000.  After eleven years, his salary had tripled…but critics said Parrott didn’t have much to show for his recent work, specifically, […]

The odd-even parking system gets a start, 59 years ago

The habit of alternate side parking was adopted by La Crosse in 1959…during the summer. And it lasted year-round. In the first month, city police gave out an average of 200 warnings a night, to let drivers know about the new system. When it actually took effect, only 69 tickets were handed out for the […]

Franklin and Roosevelt were on the hit list, 36 years ago

In early 1982, the La Crosse School District was considering more school closings because of declining enrollment. Two elementary schools on the north side, Roosevelt and Franklin, were targeted for shutdown, and 14-hundred people responded by signing petitions to keep them open. Each building was expected to have fewer than 200 students the following fall. […]

Minnesota makes highway plans for the area, 15 years ago

In December of 2003, the Minnesota DOT had a public meeting in the La Crescent area to discuss long-range transportation plans. One project high on the local list was a plan to make the Dresbach interchange safer. Some deadly crashes had occurred over the years at the intersection of Highway 61 and I-90, near the […]

The Bush family has made plenty of trips to the Coulee Region

The two U.S. presidents named Bush both came to La Crosse while they were in the White House. The older Bush, number 41, spent Halloween night of 1992 at the old Holiday Inn on the pike. After being interviewed live on CNN from the former J.C. Penney building downtown, Bush flew from the La Crosse […]

Spock draws a crowd on campus, 48 years ago

An audience of 1700 people gathered at Mitchell Hall on the La Crosse State campus in 1970 to hear a famous speaker named Spock…and we’re not talking about “Star Trek.”  Baby doctor Benjamin Spock visited the campus that December.  Spock had become an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War, which he described as a “land […]

Kids had “Santicipation” at Christmas, 56 years ago

Around Christmas of 1962, the La Crosse Tribune reported “Santicipation” among local children who were lined up to see Santa Claus inside his trailer parked downtown.  For the ladies, the Barron’s department store was offering slacks, culottes, skorts, and a new product called “panti-legs”…later called pantyhose. In time for the holidays, the Exchange State Bank […]

Bob Dole was on a roll, 22 years ago

Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, a former candidate for vice president, got plenty of support in 1996, as he campaigned for the Republican nomination against President Bill Clinton. Texas Senator Phil Gramm said he wanted Republicans to be united and “committed to beating Bill Clinton and changing America.” Dole got the GOP nomination, but Clinton […]

Where did you shop for Christmas, 53 years ago?

Christmas of 1965 marked the first holiday season that K-Mart was open in La Crosse, at Losey Boulevard and State Road. The big box store had ‘giftarama’ discounts, advertising the new Beatles album ‘Rubber Soul’ and closeouts on toys related to the ‘Man from UNCLE’ TV show. Bell Discount on the Causeway had a ‘fantabulous’ […]

No parking ramps downtown? Hard to believe, 62 years ago

In 1956, a parking ramp, or a deck, was unheard of in La Crosse. But a Citizens’ Committee for a Greater La Crosse was asking for a “yes” vote on a ramp referendum. The proposed Market Square ramp at 4th and Jay would be financed by revenue bonds, and eventually paid off by the nickels […]

TWA almost flew to LSE, 40 years ago

In the fall of 1978, La Crosse’s airport was considered for a route by one of the country’s larger airlines, TWA. But airport manager Curtis Tripp doubted that the airline would ever serve the city. And he was right…it never did. North Central was the only major airline at the La Crosse airport in ’78. […]

John Paul becomes a bishop in La Crosse, 50 years ago

In May of 1968, the Catholic Diocese of La Crosse named Monsignor John Paul its temporary administrator, while Bishop Frederick Freking was recovering from an illness. Paul was rector of St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral at the time. He was an Aquinas graduate, and a former principal at Eau Claire Regis High School. The church […]

Sixteen inches of snow in early April…would we lie to you?

On April 8th and 9th of 1973, La Crosse saw one of its biggest snowstorms on record to that time. The 16-inch total easily beat the previous record for April snow in the city, set 21 years earlier.  The total of 17 inches for the entire month remained an April record in La Crosse until […]

The manager of the new city auditorium didn’t last long, 63 years ago

In November of 1955, Joe Givens resigned as the boss of La Crosse’s Mary E. Sawyer Auditorium, claiming that he could not perform his duties as manager under existing conditions. Givens had only been on the job for five months, and the Sawyer had opened that August with the “Holiday on Ice” skating show. Givens […]