Friday - November 10, 2017 8:35 am

A historic shipwreck on the Great Lakes, in 1975

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On this day in 1975, the freighter Edmund Fitzgerald sank in 75 mph winds on Lake Superior, less than 20 miles from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.  All 29 men on board went down with the ship.  The exact cause of the disaster remains a mystery.  The story of the shipwreck became well known when Gordon Lightfoot recorded a song about the Fitzgerald the following year.

That week in '75, La Crosse was getting ready to celebrate its ranking as the #1 small city in America, according to a research firm from Kansas City.  About 1000 people would attend a banquet at the Sawyer Auditorium with entertainment including barbershop singers, and the Blue Stars drum and bugle corps. 

The manager of the La Crosse Airport was leaving after just two years in that job.  James Brough resigned to run the airport in Lexington, Kentucky.  La Crosse's airport had recently opened a new terminal, which would be used until 1989. 

The #1 song in the U.S. that week was "Island Girl," by Elton John.  Elton actually spent 6 weeks in a row in the top spot that fall.  "Island Girl" was preceded at #1 by Neil Sedaka's "Bad Blood," which featured Elton John on backup vocals...42 years ago, Yesterday in La Crosse.

 

 

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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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