A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from U-W-La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. Brad writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. He's been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.
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 pie" or "cheese pie" to America.
Pizza probably was big at final exam time on campus. The spring semester at La Crosse lasted until the end of May, and some tests were given on Saturday...but no tests were given on Memorial Day, which still occurred on May 30th every year.
The owner of John's Bar on 3rd Street, John Urbanek, was acquitted of selling beer to a 17-year-old customer. The underage drinker showed up at John's with three older friends, and their ID's were all accepted. Police learned about the deception when one of the older guys was caught driving drunk.
And a station manager for Delta Air Lines in Louisville wasn't happy with his new phone number. Bert Smith complained that you could dial the first three digits of his number...8-9-2...by dialing the initials of a different airline, TWA. Fifty-six years ago, 1961, Yesterday in La Crosse.
The roller-skating carhops will be out today at Rudy's.
Accused of stealing money from more than a dozen cash boxes
David Kilpatrick is returning to Iowa.
In 1974, the La Crosse School District was talking about ending its long-time policy of not sending students to regional music contests. The unwritten policy dated back at least to the late 50's. The cost of traveling to out-of-town contests seemed to be the sticking point, keeping La Crosse kids from those competitions.
Senator Ted Kennedy declared that he would not run for president in 1976, citing family responsibilities. The youngest Kennedy brother was 42. Both of his brothers, John and Robert, were in their early 40s when they campaigned for president. Ted eventually did run in 1980, and almost kept Jimmy Carter from being re-nominated by the Democrats.
Among the popular performers booked at the Sawyer Auditorium in 1974...Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the Lettermen, and country singers Johnny Paycheck and Jeanne Pruett. Tickets for the Lettermen cost as little as four dollars, 43 years ago, Yesterday in La Crosse.
La Crosse's mall now has a very big space to fill.
In 1961, Russia had sent a man around the earth. The U.S. didn't put a man into orbit until the next year, but a monkey named Enos did make two orbits in '61. The "chimp-o-naut" was on a diet of 200 banana pellets a day, but also earned oranges and apples as a reward.
Doerflinger's Department Store was a booming La Crosse business in 1961, and the Tribune put the spotlight on Doerflinger's in a "business of the week" feature. The store opened in 1881 on 4th Street as Doerflinger and Bosshard, in the building now occupied by Designing Jewelers. In '61, the store had 120 employees and a payroll of half-a-million dollars.
La Crosse's three AM radio stations all carried live Sunday church services. Those services were broadcast from Trinity Lutheran Church, First Congregational, and a Presbyterian church...56 years ago, 1961, Yesterday in La Crosse.
Restoring the zoo, itself, could cost $13 million.