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Yesterday in La Crosse

Bands, queens, clowns in St. Paul, according to a newspaper headline 50 years ago

A 1969 story in the Tribune was about the St. Paul Winter Carnival that year. Two hundred persons from La Crosse took a train to the Twin Cities, to be in a big February parade. Oktoberfest royalty rode on the fest float. Also heading the local delegation was one fellow described as a ‘fest director’…named […]

Football fans in western Wisconsin wanted to see Ditka, 22 years ago

The Packers may have been the reigning Super Bowl champs in the summer of 1997, but there was excitement in La Crosse about the New Orleans Saints hiring long-time Bears coach Mike Ditka.  People were curious to find out when Ditka would get to La Crosse for the Saints’ 10th training camp at UW-L.  Hotel […]

Buying rings wasn’t just for Valentine’s Day, 54 years ago

Throughout the year in 1965, local stores placed ads in the La Crosse State campus newspaper, selling diamond rings and other types of rings…apparently, in case students were planning to get engaged.  One issue of the Racquet featured jewelry ads from Doerflinger’s, Crescent, and Cremer’s Jewelry.   A small ad in the Tribune asked the […]

Hoop dreams live on, 18 years ago

In 2001, it was a space oddity…the La Crosse Center had space for a professional basketball team, but no team. Early that year, the La Crosse Bobcats folded in the middle of their fifth season in town, when the C-B-A temporarily shut down. La Crosse Center manager Art Fahey spoke with the city room tax […]

It’s known as ‘the day the music died,’ 60 years ago

The La Crosse Tribune headline of February 3rd, 1959 said “3 Top Rock ‘N’ Roll Singers Killed in Iowa Plane Crash.”  Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens died along with their pilot in a small plane accident shortly after a concert at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.  They were heading to […]

Future sports stars from the La Crosse area started getting attention, 57 years ago

In 1962, the Tribune ran a photo of a sad young tennis player, named Tim Gullikson. Tim had just lost the finals of the La Crosse district tennis tournament…to his twin brother, Tom. The Gullikson twins would have many happy days on the tennis court in the future, as singles and doubles players at Wimbledon […]

Downtown might need more parking…the goal in 1982

In early 1982, La Crosse city leaders agreed to try buying the west side of the 100 block of North 3rd Street.  That’s where First Bank had planned to put up an office tower, but the bank ended up switching its site to the west half of that block.  The city eventually built the Main […]

Were you watching TV on a certain Sunday night in 1964?

Seventy-three million viewers tuned in to “The Ed Sullivan Show” on February 9th in 1964, to see a new British band…the Beatles, making their American television debut.  Other performers on the Sullivan show that Sunday were impressionist Frank Gorshin, who later played the Riddler on the “Batman” TV series…and stars of the Broadway musical “Oliver!,” including […]

Before Epinal and Dubna, La Crosse had friends in Corn Island, 44 years ago

In 1975, La Crosse area residents raised several hundred dollars to help people in Corn Island, our sister city in Nicaragua. A group of visitors from La Crosse helped the community get $1800 in X-ray equipment. The visitors included Randy Larson, James Michaels, and Gundersen Clinic doctor Ramon Gonzalez. What were La Crosse school employees […]

Putting the “no” in “casino,” 24 years ago

In 19995, a plan by the Lac du Flambeau tribe to turn the Holiday Inn on the pike into a $50 million casino was shot down in a La Crosse County referendum. Local churches were among the leaders of the anti-gambling campaign, along with restaurant and tavern owners who worried that a casino would take […]

The Marching Chiefs became Alexander’s halftime band, 50 years ago

In 1969, La Crosse State College hired John Alexander from the University of Missouri to succeed Ralph Wahl as director of the Marching Chiefs band.  Alexander, who became known as “Dr. A,” arrived in La Crosse just in time to prepare the musicians for a major trip…appearing in the 1970 Tournament of Roses parade in […]

Five choices for a new branch of court…34 years ago

The court system in La Crosse County had grown enough by 1985 to require a fourth circuit. Five candidates were running that winter for the chance to be the first judge in Branch 4. The list of candidates included Marvin Davis, Pat Heim, Maureen Kinney, John Waubunsee, and the eventual winner, John Perlich. In Washington, […]

The city almost got a professional football team, 47 years ago

In 1972, some football fans in La Crosse were trying to raise $30,000 to bring a semi-professional team to town.  The Central States Football League was considering moving its Sheboygan franchise to either La Crosse, or Joliet, Illinois.  Don Harman and Gary Davis of La Crosse were looking for investors.  The team didn’t come to […]

Ash trees were starting to come down, 7 years ago

In May of 2012, the La Crosse park board was told by tree specialists that about five thousand ash trees might have to be removed from city parks, following the local discovery of the emerald ash borer, an invasive insect that was destroying the ashes.  The park department had been warned about the spread of the bug […]

Folks still talk about the cold wave of 23 years ago

This is expected to be the coldest week in the Coulee Region since late January and early February in 1996.  After two big snowstorms a week apart, a cold front settled over the Upper Midwest, and over a period of five straight days, the temperature in La Crosse and Rochester never got above zero.  Starting with Groundhog […]

A disaster on the launching pad, 52 years ago

The Apollo program to send astronauts to the moon endured a deadly setback in January of 1967, when the crew of Apollo 1 died in a flash fire inside the space capsule less than a month before the mission. The crew included Mercury veteran Gus Grissom…Ed White, the first American to walk in space…and Roger […]

A guy named “Herb” was a national sensation, 33 years ago

In early 1986, Burger King was running an ad campaign, asking customers to watch for a fellow named ‘Herb’ at their restaurants.  According to the commercials, Herb was from the town of South Bexley, Wisconsin…which doesn’t exist.  Herb was supposed to be the only person in America who had never eaten a Burger King Whopper.  […]

Saving the Delta Queen was a mission, 49 years ago

In 1970, Congress was talking about ways to preserve the popular Delta Queen paddlewheeler, which made regular trips on the Upper Mississippi.  The boat was nearly 50 years old, and made mostly of wood, which violated a 1966 ‘safety at sea’ law requiring metal hulls on riverboats to prevent fires.  There was some resistance to […]