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Yesterday in La Crosse

A near record spring snowstorm, and a deadly crash, 50 years ago

In April of 1973, the immediate La Crosse area received 16 inches of snow in just 36 hours. It was the third biggest snowstorm on record in the city, behind snowfalls in 1959, and 1971. In Prairie du Chien, three cars collided on snow-covered Highway 18, near the Old Rock School. Six people from the […]

Men on the moon, money in the bank machine, 54 years ago

“Everybody gets to go to the moon” was part of the lyric of a popular song in 1969, but only three men actually got to take the trip. The first manned landing on the lunar surface happened on July 20th, 1969, a Sunday. Neil Armstrong took those first steps on the lunar surface during the […]

The U.S. suddenly had a new leader on Nov. 22, in 1963

Nov. 22 in 1963 marked the last time that Americans woke up with a president who would not be alive by the end of the day.  President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie had gone to Texas on a political trip when the president and Texas Gov. John Connally were shot while riding in […]

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 […]

No 29th this February, but Leap Day has had memorable music

It may be an Olympic year, but it’s not a leap year.  February 29th in history has been memorable on occasion.  On that day in 1940, “Gone With the Wind” won the Oscar for best picture…and a big band hit was number 1 on the charts:     On February 29th, 1940, ”In the Mood” […]

Central High at the state basketball tournament was low-scoring, 97 years ago

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

Where you could find a good restaurant, 32 years ago? How about the airport?

In early 1990, Amelia’s restaurant opened on the upper level of the new terminal at the La Crosse Municipal Airport.  Owner Jerry Kulinski said nothing on the menu was over $5.  The name Amelia’s might remind people of pioneering female pilot Amelia Earhart…while some of the sandwiches served there included an “Orville and Wilbur burger” and […]

Remember when Bob Dole marched in the Maple Leaf Parade, 33 years ago?

The Maple Leaf Parade of 1988 in La Crosse fell just a month before a presidential election, and it drew a frequent presidential contender. Republican Sen. Bob Dole walked with several Wisconsin members of his party in the parade, including Senate candidate Susan Engeleiter, who was running to succeed retiring Democrat William Proxmire. Dole had […]

The president took a lap around the La Crosse County speedway, one year ago

A week before the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump held a late afternoon campaign rally at the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway in West Salem. Then-candidate Trump rode around the track in his limousine before the Oct. 27 speech, where he called challenger Joe Biden “soft” and “weak” and accused the Democrat of wanting to delay […]

Peshtigo goes up in flames, 150 years ago

You’ve heard of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871…but there was another large fire, in Wisconsin, on the same day, yesterday in La Crosse.    October 8th marks 150 years since devastating fires caused death and destruction in Chicago…and in the woods of northern Wisconsin, at Peshtigo.  Strong winds have been blamed for causing small […]

Dinner at the Tivoli, then a movie at the Rivoli…still possible, 51 years ago

In 1970, the Tivoli Restaurant off Highway 35 and the Rivoli Theater downtown were both busy places in La Crosse.  The Rivoli was celebrating 50 years in business in 1970.  As for the Tivoli Gardens, that’s not around any more.  It was on the George Street extension between La Crosse and Onalaska, about where you’d find […]

The future of the city might depend on building a parking ramp, 65 years ago

During the summer of 1956, a committee planning a ramp on Market Square met at the Hotel Stoddard, and was told that a lack of downtown parking was keeping customers away from city businesses.  The panel heard that shoppers from Black River Falls and Whitehall were going to Eau Claire instead of La Crosse, and […]

Making the roads safer in Minnesota, 18 years ago

In 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 bridge that […]

Holy Moses! Fighting over the 10 Commandments, 36 years ago

In the summer of 1985, Madison’s Freedom from Religion Foundation launched its first effort to have a 10 Commandments marker removed from La Crosse’s Cameron Park. It was the most prominent complaint anyone had made about the stone monument since it was installed in to honor volunteers who battled the 1965 flood. About 800 people […]

Pig races were a big attraction at Riverfest, 11 years ago

During La Crosse’s Riverfest in 2010, a Missouri company called Swifty’s Swine featured hogs racing around a track.  Race watchers could cheer for their favorite animals, with names like Brad Pig and Kevin Bacon.    The Puttin’ on the Lips competition at Riverfest was back, after a year off.  The lip-synch event based on a popular TV show […]

Opening day for the new City Hall, 51 years ago

Saturday, July 4th, 1970, La Crosse dedicated a 6-floor City Hall, which is still La Crosse’s main office building today.  It replaced the City Hall that stood for nearly 80 years at the corner of 6th and State, now part of the post office parking lot.  La Crosse’s oldest living mayor, 86-year-old Gus Boerner, cut […]

Two murder cases competing for headlines, 27 years ago

In June of 1994, O.J. Simpson was arrested for a double murder after the infamous “white Bronco” chase in California. The Simpson case broke the same week that a triple-murder trial began in La Crosse for James Frydenlund, a Twin Cities man accused of killing his estranged wife, Suzzette, and her parents, Leroy and Celia […]

Those pesky bugs returned for the summer…mosquitoes, 50 years ago

In June of 1971, the La Crosse city council was back to debating the best way to control mosquitoes.  Aldermen voted down a plan to resume the long-time practice of sending fog machines out on summer nights, and proposed an April referendum to let voters decide whether to continue fogging.  A Tribune editorial predicted that […]