* indicates required
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.  

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Seventy-seven years ago, in 1941, La Crosse police chief Herman Rick and traffic sergeant Lyle Gilbert said traffic lights would stay on 45 seconds before changing.  The old time had been 33 seconds for a red or green light.  The idea was to give pedestrians more time to cross the street, as well as reducing rear-end collisions. 

Modern 1940's technology may have put washing machines into people's homes, but plenty of folks still used a wringer and a clothesline to get their duds dry.  A new Speed Queen washer at Kroner Hardware on Pearl Street sold for $60, including the wringer.  Ideal for squeezing water out of the laundry before it gets hung on the line...and for inflicting pain, if you get your hand caught between the rollers.

The Wisconsin Badgers won the NCAA men's basketball title, 39-34 over Washington State.  It would take the Badgers 74 years to get back to the title game again, but they won in 1941, yesterday in La Crosse.


In early 1982, the La Crosse School District was considering more school closings because of declining enrollment.  Two elementary schools on the north side, Roosevelt and Franklin, were targeted for shutdown, and 14-hundred people responded by signing petitions to keep them open.  Each building was expected to have fewer than 200 students the following fall.  School board members did not respond to comments about the proposed closings, saying they wanted to keep their minds open...which led to accusations that the decision was already final.  The two schools actually stayed open well into the 21st century, until they were replaced recently by La Crosse's new Northside School.
The Equal Rights Amendment for women was still being debated around the U.S., as a passage deadline of June 30th approached.  The amendment was still three states short of becoming part of the Constitution.  Meanwhile, a state ERA for Wisconsin passed in the Senate in Madison by a vote of 28 to 4.  Among the opponents was Republican Senator Walter Chilsen, who argued that an equal rights amendment might open the door for more abortions in Wisconsin.
And evangelist Billy Graham filled a three thousand seat hall in Blackpool, England, preparing for a series of crusades in Britain...36 years ago, 1982, yesterday in La Crosse.

During the race for mayor of La Crosse in 1939, candidate Donald Lyden used the word "amuck" to describe the city's taxing practices.  He was one of six people running for mayor, and they all wanted lower taxes.  That April, incumbent mayor C.A. Boerner was voted out, in favor of former mayor Joseph Verchota, who won by about 1200 votes.  Boerner finished second, and Lyden was third.

The chief justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Marvin Rosenberry, was making news during his re-election campaign by not bothering to campaign.  Rosenberry had been on the high court for 23 years, and said the court's work was "unusually heavy," so he didn't have time to do campaign events.  He went on to win the election, and remain as chief justice for another 11 years.

The Leithold Piano Company in La Crosse was selling a radio that could fit in your hand for only $7.  Meanwhile, two of the biggest radio stars of the 30's, Jack Benny and George Burns, pled guilty to buying jewelry from a smuggler for their wives, Mary Livingstone and Gracie Allen.  Both men were fined thousands of dollars...but maybe even worse for Jack Benny, he had to admit in public that he wasn't really 39, but 45.  As Benny might say, "Well!"  That was 1939, yesterday in La Crosse.


In March of 1991, the La Crosse County courthouse and jail was getting crowded.  The building had been open only 26 years.  It replaced a 60-year-old courthouse which was torn down to make way for a Montgomery Ward store, which had been vacant for years by '91.  A county committee was looking into the need for a new law enforcement center, which might need to be at least 20-thousand square feet larger than the existing courthouse.  La Crosse County had four judges at the time, and predicted they might need six courtrooms within 10 years.  When the current courthouse opened in 1997, it was built with spaces for six courtrooms.
Viroqua astronaut Mark Lee and his wife, Jan Davis, had been chosen as the first married couple to fly in space.  They would fly together aboard the Endeavor space shuttle in 1992.  Before that flight, NASA had an unwritten policy against letting married astronauts serve on the same mission...and apparently, the Lee-Davis flight has been the only exception to that rule.
In March Madness that year, the Lady Popes of Milwaukee Pius High School won the WISAA girls' basketball tournament for the 10th year in a row...and they were building up a 92-game winning streak in 1991...27 years ago, Yesterday in La Crosse.



Page 1 of 254