Brad Williams

Brad Williams

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.  

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Monday - July 10, 2017 8:43 am

K-Mart was not OK, 53 years ago

In 1964, plans to build a K-Mart at Losey Boulevard and State Road were shut down by the La Crosse city council.  They halted the project to do some study and get public opinion.  Property owners in the area wanted zoning protection and buffer zones before they would let the big store into the neighborhood.  The K-Mart opened in 1965, but is now going out of business.

The Warren Commission report on the assassination of President Kennedy was released in '64.  The La Crosse Tribune offered readers a hard-cover copy of the commission's findings for only $1.50.

In the 1964 presidential campaign, Republican nominee Barry Goldwater traveled to Madison, speaking to 10,000 people outside the state capitol.  One Madison newspaper chose not to endorse any candidate for president, saying Goldwater was "not equipped mentally (or) temperamentally" for the job, while President Lyndon Johnson had a dangerous "Big Brother" attitude.

Sixty-four was a big year for the Beatles, but the Fab Four were not in the Top 10 in early July.  The Beach Boys had a #1 on the 4th of July with "I Get Around," and Johnny Rivers was right behind with "Memphis."  Fifty-three years ago, yesterday in La Crosse. 




Driver, outside of car, was pulled from 18 feet of water.


Friday - July 7, 2017 6:21 pm

Babe Weigent statue unveiled

Members of Weigent family help dedicate coach's statue


In 1990, a special ceremony took place in Vernon County, at which the state of Wisconsin formally apologized to native American tribes for the Bad Axe Massacre of 1832, during the Black Hawk War.  Tribal leaders from the Fox and Sac nations were invited to accept the apology.  Hundreds of Indian warriors, along with women and children, were chased into the Mississippi River and shot during that frontier battle.  Assemblyman Duwayne Johnsrud was among the local leaders supporting the ceremony. 

Mark Johnsrud was challenging two other candidates for the Assembly to two debates.  Johnsrud was facing David Olson in the 95th District GOP primary to go against Democratic incumbent John Medinger, and he wanted to debate both Medinger and Olson before the September primary.  Medinger went on to win his last Assembly term that fall.  He and Mark Johnsrud both later became mayors of La Crosse.

In the summer of '90, you could see the third "Back to the Future" movie, "Another 48 Hours," and the original "Total Recall" with Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Back in theaters that summer was the Oscar winner for Best Picture from '89, "Driving Miss Daisy."  Twenty-seven years ago, yesterday in La Crosse.



Forty years ago, in 1977, you could shop for groceries at the Food City Warehouse on George Street, Rich's Fairway Market on South Avenue, and the A & P at West Avenue and Jackson.  The A & P site is now the home of a Walgreen's.  The north La Crosse Walgreen's stands where the Embers restaurant was in business in '77.  And the Walgreen's on Mormon Coulee Road used to be a Sirloin Stockade in the 70's.  That restaurant later became a laundromat before Walgreen's was built there.

Plans were being made in 1977 for a new Clinton Street bridge to French Island.  The old bridge was small and rickety.  A new concrete span would cost about $1.5 million.

Among new laws being considered at La Crosse City council committee wanted to limit the number of cats in town to just two per house.  That didn't pass.  Another idea that failed would have limited households to just one rummage sale per year, and only one sign on your property could advertise the sale.  Laws that didn't happen in 1977, 40 years ago, yesterday in La Crosse.


Fifty years ago, in 1967, the president of La Crosse State, Sam Gates, announced plans for punishing students who demonstrated, or protested speakers on campus.  Gates said 11 students would be ineligible to return to L-C-U in the fall, while 92 others would be disciplined in other ways.  At the UW in Madison, students were drowning out speakers, and invading the chancellor's office...but no action was taken against them.
La Crosse's big 4th of July celebration that year was hosted by the American Legion.  The day's activities included a slo-boat race at Houska Park, water skiers, skydivers, and a watermelon-eating contest for kids.
And in 1967, New York's hottest night spot was called "Arthur," run by Richard Burton's ex-wife Sybil.  A newspaper story suggested that the club's name was inspired by a joke about the name of the Beatles' haircuts, a remark made by---and we quote---"Beatle John McCartney."  Well, of course that's wrong.  It was a line from the movie "A Hard Day's Night," spoken by George Starr...I mean, Ringo Harrison.  It was said by George.  We still couldn't tell them apart, 50 years ago, Yesterday in La Crosse.

City council committee put off voting on ban for months, to pass off to new committee 


For the third year of La Crosse's Oktoberfest in 1963, bandleader Guy Lombardo brought his Royal Canadians to the Sawyer Auditorium where 7000 people listened to the band best known for playing "Auld Lang Syne" at New Year's shows.  Lombardo and his musicians had to travel all day to get from New York to La Crosse after continuing a tradition of playing the national anthem for the Yankees at the World Series. 

A crowd of 17,000 gathered for the tapping of the Golden Keg by '63 Festmaster Ray Ping.  Meanwhile, students at La Crosse State college celebrated the opening of Oktoberfest with a German dinner that also marked the fourth anniversary of the student union, Cartwright Center, which was just replaced as the campus union in early 2017. 

Nearly 3000 people attended the Ladies' Day Luncheon, featuring the country comedy team of Homer and Jethro.  Many women were invited onstage to play games, and others won door prizes...for having the most children, for example.  Prizes included a pumpkin pie and nylons.

Somebody apparently tried to free the bears from their cage at the Myrick Park Zoo, by sticking a long plank through the fence.  The bears didn't get out...maybe, smarter than the average intruder, in 1963, yesterday in La Crosse.



Cooler waters delay the hatch which usually happens around July 4.


In 1956, the state of Wisconsin would ask voters whether sheriffs out to serve more than two consecutive terms, of two years each.  The idea was to discourage the practice of letting one person be sheriff for four years, followed by the undersheriff for four years, and then the previous sheriff coming back.  La Crosse County Sheriff Robert Scullin was in favor of the change.  Scullin had been appointed sheriff, after the death of the previous sheriff, Ivan Wright.

You could dance to Les Brown and his Band of Renown for just $2 at the Avalon Ballroom on Copeland in La Crosse.  In the 60's, Brown's band would be featured each week on Dean Martin's TV show.  Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians often performed in La Crosse, with a concert scheduled at the new Sawyer from $1.50 to $3. 

The biggest hit songs of 1956 included a peppy instrumental called "The Poor People of Paris" by Les Baxter, and a Western ballad, "The Wayward Wind" by Gogi Grant.  Sixty-one years ago, yesterday in La Crosse.