Cass Street Bridge construction during the final stages in 1939.
Eighty years ago, on Sept. 23, 1939, the $1.5 million Cass Street Bridge over the Mississippi River at La Crosse was dedicated.
Thousands of people celebrated with great fanfare that day.
The city was dressed up to the hilt. Among the decorations along the parade route was this banner, specially made for the day. Five feet long and nearly three feet wide, it was one of dozens that hung over the city’s streets that day. The banner is made of deep blue linen and features a silk-screened yellow image of the new bridge across the center.
More than 60 of these special banners flew over La Crosse 80 years ago to celebrate the opening of the Cass Street Bridge.
The banner was provided by the Semsch Display Service, located at 127-129 Pearl St. Semsch (today, the business is known as Nelson Flag and Display) provided 60 overhead arches with banners for the parade route and additional decorations for the bridge, the review stand and Riverside Park, as well as storefront displays throughout downtown, all for $947.10.
The parade was the first of the day’s festivities, beginning at 9 a.m. It featured nearly a hundred units, with bands from the city schools, Bangor, Galesville, West Salem, Viola, Cashton, Caledonia and Spring Grove high schools, the college band and several drum and bugle corps. Parade floats built by Doerflinger’s Department Store and the town of Hokah won the $50 prizes for first place in their categories.
La Crosse Mayor Joseph Verchota, Wisconsin Gov. Julius Heil and other dignitaries spoke to 15,000 people at the dedication ceremony at the bridge approach. After the ribbon-cutting, long lines of cars crossed the bridge in both directions, led by Gov. Heil.
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Meanwhile, the old wagon bridge opened its swing span for river traffic, never to carry automobiles again. The La Crosse Plugs, a local booster organization, carried a symbolic coffin onto the old bridge and tossed it into the river. Demolition of the wagon bridge began that week.
Afternoon activities included boat races, water sports, a band concert at Riverside Park and a Native American powwow. The celebration ended that evening with a lighted Venetian boat parade and a huge fireworks exposition.
Today, the 80-year-old silhouette of the bridge on this banner is still recognizable. That profile changed in 2004, when the adjacent Cameron Street Bridge, with its high arch, was completed. The designs of the two bridges nicely complement each other, and the celebrants of 1939 would most likely approve.
Ace Telephone Association
In this 1972 photo, La Crescent Mayor Martin Miller, seated, was joined by Ace managers David Schroeder, left, and Curtis E. Bratager to demonstrate the telephone company's new equipment that provided free "direct distance dialing" between La Crescent and La Crosse. Ace was later renamed AcenTek, and today is based in Houston, Minn.
A G Cooperative
In this 1976 file photo, employees at A G Cooperative in Arcadia work on a production line. The company was acquired by Gold'n Plump in 1993 and continues to be one of Trempealeau County's largest employers.
Allen's department store
Allen's department store opened in June 1981 inside the former J.C. Penney store in downtown La Crosse. The two-story retailer, which featured clothing and a tea room, was operated by Allen Baker, who at the time operated a department store in Winona, Minn., and card shops in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The short-lived store closed in the fall of 1982.
The Alley Kat, an adult bookstore, was located 407 S. Third St. In 1978, La Crosse had three such stores — Best Buy Books was located at 2316 S. Third St. and Pure Pleasure Book Store at 611 Main St. — and the owners of these establishments were opposed to a referendum approved in 1978 that banned the distribution of pornography in the city.
In February 1969, Allis Chalmers announced it would shutter its plant in La Crosse. There were 375 employees working at the tractor manufacturer at the time of the closure. The buildings, located in the 500 block of North Third Street, were razed in late 1970 and early 1971. Today this site, just north of the La Crosse Tribune building, is a parking lot.
This train, which arrived in La Crosse at 3:45 p.m. May 1, 1971, was the first Amtrak train to come to the city. During the five-minute stop, City Council President Loren Wardwell, center, talks with Milwaukee Road passenger agent Frank Daley, left, and La Crosse Tribune assistant district sales manager Gordon T. Sims. Amtrak continues to service the La Crosse area, with two stops of the Empire Builder scheduled daily.
In this 1981 photo, 17-year-old Linda Craig, left, and her sister, 18-year-old Judy Craig, work in the kitchen at Ardie's Restaurant, 514 Lang Drive. Many members of the Craig family worked at the North Side restaurant, which today is located at 400 Lang Drive.
Arenz Shoe Co.
Arenz Shoe Co., which was located at 323-325 Pearl St., was open from 1903 to 1992. Today the location is home to Pearl Street Books, which uses many of wooden shelves seen in this 1977 photo.
In this 1985 file photo, Cleo Lisowski, left, and Karen Solberg assemble furniture at the Ashley Furniture factory in Arcadia. The Wisconsin-based company, which was established in 1945, is now the largest manufacturer of furniture in the world.
Before closing in the late 1960s, the La Crosse Electric Auto-Lite plant was one of the city's largest employers. The 520,000-square-foot complex, shown here in a 1974 file photo, spans more than a city block along Rose and Gillette streets and is now home to Central States Warehouse.
Bartl Brewery, located near the corner of La Crosse Street and Lang Drive, was torn down in October 1971 to make room for a gas station. The brewery was founded in 1904 by Austrian native Frank Bartl and his sons, Joseph and Frank.
Barney's Cheese Factory
Gerald Barney stands by a vat of cheese curds in his factory in this 1983 photo. The facility, which Gerald owned with his wife, Muriel, was located along Hwy. 56, between Viola and Richland Center.
Baus Catering Service
Jim Baus, second from right, helps his staff prepare and serve dinner in 1982 for a convention at the La Crosse Center. Jim and his wife, Karen, opened the business in 1973 at 1720 George St.
1976: Ben Franklin
A natural gas explosion destroyed the Ben Franklin store at 1201 Caledonia St. in December 1976. The store's owners, Ralph and Thelma Osborne, later reopened the store at the same location. Today, Essential Health Clinic is located on that site.
1971: Behind the Brewery Gallery
Betty and Dale Kendrick prepare to open their Behind the Brewery Gallery in June 1971. The Kendricks operated the gallery, located at 1026 S. Front St., for more than 40 years. James Cherf purchased the building and reopened it as an art gallery in 2012.
The building was torn down in 2018.
1962: Bell Discount Store
Employees of Bell Discount Store make last-minute preparations for its opening in August 1962. The 60,000 square-foot discount store employed 180 full-time employees when it opened at 322 Causeway Blvd. The store, later renamed Belsoct, closed in 1978. The site is now occupied by S&S Cycle.
1977: Bert's Magic and Fun Shop
Bert Forsythe, shown here in this 1977 photo, owned Bert's Magic and Fun Shop with his wife, Emma. The shop, which was located at 4329 Mormon Coulee Road, is now home to Mirage Sports Bar.
Blue Tiger Lounge
A fire, later determined to be arson, damaged the Blue Tiger Lounge in October 1984. Much of the building, located at 105 S. Third St., was rebuilt in 2000 and is home to That Foreign Place.
Big River Cattle Co.
Jon Schuster, shown here in 1983, opened the Great River Cattle Co. in 1980 at 716 Second Ave. N. in Onalaska. He sold the restaurant in 1989 and bought it back the next year, changing the name to Chicken Steak and Chocolate Cake. The restaurant changed hands again in 2006 and became Blue Moon, which was the name of the restaurant before Schuster's 1980 purchase.
Merlin Wangen, owner of the Big Dipper in Sparta, prepares to serve an ice cream creation in this 1981 photo. The store, which was located at 106 N. Water St., is now home to MC's Sparta Grill.
Lebanese native Assaad Maatouk, pictured in 1981, was the chef and part owner of Bon Appetit restaurant in 1980. The eatery, located at 515 Main St., was open for about a year. The location is now home to the La Crosse Olive Oil Co. Maatouk later ran the Casablanca restaurant, first in Onalaska during the 1990s and later in La Crosse.
1975: Bodega Lunch Club
The Bodega Lunch Club, pictured in 1975, was a downtown La Crosse landmark for generations. The restaurant opened in 1897 at 122 S. Fourth St. and closed for good in 1989 after a brief closure in 1984. Jeff Hotson and Michael Breckel purchased the building in 1994 and created the Bodega Brew Pub, which still anchors the corner of Fourth and Pearl streets.
1973: Book Exchange
Georgann Bohlig, then a sophomore art student at Viterbo University, worked as a manager at The Book Exchange, located at 306 State St. in this 1973 photo. The store later moved to the city's North Side. The former downtown location is now part of The State Room bar.
1923: Borgen's Restaurant
This photo, circa 1923, shows Engebret Borgen standing by the counter of his restaurant. Engebret, a Norwegian immigrant, opened Borgen's Restaurant in 1905 in downtown Westby. The restaurant was relocated several times over the years, before ending up in its current location in 1948. The eatery, later renamed Borgen's Cafe, closed in 2006. Blane and Mary Charles reopened the restaurant in 2008 after about 60 local investors bought and extensively renovated the building.
1971: Bridgeview Plaza Shopping Center
A groundbreaking was held in October 1971 for Bridgeview Plaza Shopping Center on the city's far North Side. The $2.5 million development opened with a SuperValu Supermarket, which later closed, and a Shopko discount store, which is expected to close in 2019.
Bridgeman's Ice Cream
Bridgeman's Ice Cream opened in August 1971 at 3716 Mormon Coulee Road. It was renamed Wayne's Family Restaurant in 1992 before closing.
1985: Century Telephone
Operators work in the Century Telephone office at Fifth Avenue and Jay Street. The Louisiana-based company, now know as CenturyLink, purchased the La Crosse Telephone Corp. of Wisconsin in 1971. In 2000, the company, which has grown into the third largest telecommunications company in the nation, moved into a $25 million, seven-story building at 333 N. Front St. but continues to use the Fifth Avenue building.
Circus Supper Club
Sherry and Jim Welch, owners of the Circus Supper Club, are served some of the restaurant's popular ribs by Rita Bagniefski. Pianist and entertainer Victor Borge famously stopped in the downtown landmark during a visit to La Crosse in 1974 and was one of the eateries most famous fans. Years later, Wettstein's expanded its showroom into the space before closing in 2018.
ComputerLand sales representative Rebecca J. Weber, uses an IBM business computer. The store, located at 2028 Rose Court, closed in 1998. The location is now home to Cottage Garden Floral.
Richard Roberts Jr. signals to a crane operator as he helps reinstall the Cavalier sign on the building at 115 Fifth Ave. N. The name of the lounge, which has been called The Cavalier for nearly all of its eight decades, was briefly changed to D-Rae's in the early 1980s, during which time the iconic sign was removed. Although there have been several ownership changes, the bar remains in operation today.
Henry and Leone Wright stand in front of their restaurant, The Chop House, days before it closed in April 1980. The eatery, located at 122 N. Third St., was best known for its breakfasts. That original plan was to tear down the building to make way for an expansion of First Bank-La Crosse, but the lender instead built a 10-story office tower at Second and Main streets. The former Chop House building is home to Digger's Sting today.
1979: Carriage House of Fashion
Carriage House of Fashion employees Heidi Hensel, left, and Sue Sobkowiak, steam off paint during a remodel of the 415 Jay St. store. The Carriage House was owned by Cindy Gerke, and today that location is an office for Cindy Gerke and Associates, a local real estate company.
Cheddar 'n Ale
T. Daniel Solie, owner of the Cheddar 'n Ale, samples some of his new restaurant's fare with store manager Joan Jahimiak and co-owner Beverlee Solie. The eatery was located in the same building as the Solies' other business, the Swiss Chateau, at 728 S. Third St. Today, that site is a sales lot for Toyota of La Crosse.
Clothes N' Counter
Richard Ghelfi, left, and Joe Borgen prepare merchandise for their store's 1978 opening. Clothes N' Counter was located in Menard Plaza along Lang Drive on the city's North Side. The shopping center, which opened in 1977 and included a Quillin's supermarket, was torn down in 2005 to make room for an expanded Menards.
1974: Caravel TV Sales
Richard G. Hansen of Onalaska checks the color on a television in the showroom of Caravel TV Sales, which opened in 1974 at 1730 George St.
1973: Coney Island
Richard Elsen, 17, was the winner of a hot dog eating contest in September 1973 at the Coney Island in downtown La Crosse. The first Coney Island opened in 1922 at 122 S. Fourth St. and has been there even since. The other locations are in the Village Shopping Center and the Valley View Mall in La Crosse, and Holmen. A location in Shelby Mall closed in 2003, and the Bridgeview Plaza location closed in 2018.
Coulee Golf Bowl
Coulee Golf Bowl opened in November 1964 in Onalaska, claiming the fastest ball returns in the tri-state area. The business, located 100 Green Coulee Road, has undergone several remodels and remains in business today.
Coulee State Bank opened for business on April 22, 1961, at 1520 Losey Blvd. S. The board of directors when the lender opened were, from left, V. Downing Edwards, Roy Wittenberg, Orval Nelson, Esther Domke, Roy Wasmuth, Ernie Grindler and Matt Heimermann. Coulee Bank, as it's known today, is still based out of the Losey Boulevard location, but also has locations in Onalaska and the Twin Cities.
A Coast-to-Coast store opened in February 1953 at 129 S. Fourth St. Pictured here, from left, are Donald Rahnenfuehrer, Richard Larson, Mrs. Vilas Bonsack, Roger Comeau, Bud Brendle and Lily Brendle, six of the store's seven employees. Today, that location is occupied by Visions of Light Stained Glass.
1954: Crescent Jewelers
Manager of Crescent Jewelers Sam Horwitz, left, is shown here in this 1954 photo with, from left, Marion Horwitz, Robert Hurin and Ronald N. Boettcher. The building at 429 Main St. has housed a jewelry store since 1881 when it was Irvine Jewelers, The business was purchased by Isador Horwitz in 1950.
1954: Community Camera Center
Employees of Community Camera Center, located at 506 Main St. in 1954, are shown here, from left, Mrs. David J. Marck, Robert B. Marck, Myrna Marck, David J. Marck, Ed Rendler Jr. and Larry Hackett. The business, which had several locations in downtown La Crosse, later expanded to sell computers, and was one of the region's first Apple retailers in the 1970s.
The Onalaska Cub Foods opened in 1984 at 9344 Hwy. 16 across from Valley View Mall, but increased competition was blamed for the store's closure in May 2004. Today, the space is occupied by TJ Maxx Home Goods and Old Navy.
Don's Seldom Inn
Don and Gen Schwert purchased Don's Seldom Inn, 1031 S. Fourth St., in 1958. Originally the business was called Don and Gen's, but, according to Tribune reporter Ken Brekke, a sign painter was visiting the tavern one day when Gen was tending bar and her mischief-loving husband was late for his shift. When the painter asked what name he was supposed to put on the sign, Gen snapped, "Don's Seldom Inn." The Schwerts retired in 1985, and today site is an empty lot.
Dee's Gasoline Alley
Glenn Affeldt was president of Dee's Gasoline Alley in 1984 when the car repair shop opened its Onalaska location. The business, which today is known as Dee's Auto Care Specialists, also has locations in La Crosse and Winona, Minn.
Dairyland Power Cooperative
Two technicians are reflected in the water of the holding tank as a spent fuel rod is lowered into a storage grid at Dairyland Power Cooperative's nuclear generator in Genoa. This state's first nuclear plant, located about 20 miles south of La Crosse along the Mississippi River, was shut down in 1987. In 2012, Dairyland transferred the spent fuel rods into dry casks for long-term storage. Full decommissioning of the site is expected to be completed by 2020.
Dad and Lad's
Joseph Mader, a clerk at Dad's and Lad's, helps one of the store's last customers before the store closed on Jan. 10, 1983. Mader, who sold menswear for more than 50 years, told reporter Gayda Hollnagel that "From now on, I want to take it easy. Enjoy life. That's it — period." Mader, 76, died at his home the following day. The building, located at 125 S. Fourth St., later was home to Rocky Rococo Pizza & Pasta, is now vacant.
Dayton's employee Sharon Hulse, left, assists Dave Trapp and his sons, Tom and Jon, chose a set of china for a Christmas gift. The store opened with Valley View Mall in 1980, became Marshall Field's in 2001, and was re-branded as Macy's in 2006. Macy's closed in 2016.
To read more about the early years of Valley View Mall, click here.
1982: Drugan's Supper Club
Yodeler Aase Helst and 16 musicians from Andalsnes, Norway, perform to a packed Saturday night crowd in 1981 at Drugan’s Supper Club in Holmen. Kent and Donna Drugan started the business in 1970 after they bought and renovated the former Silver Dollar Saloon. In 1973, Kent and Donna bought the nine-hole Castle Mound golf course and immediately built a new supper club there. Another nine holes were added to the golf course in 1981, and today the operation is known as Drugan’s Castle Mound Golf & Supper Club.
Danny's House of Music
Danny's House of Music closed in December 1974. Owner Daniel Lebakken purchased the store, located at 307 Main St., in 1953. The site is now occupied by Verve credit union.
Dartmouth Clothiers opened in the spring of 1973 in Bridgeview Plaza. The store, later named Dartmouth Direct Clothes, closed its location on the city's North Side in the fall of 1983.
1965: Dog House Restaurant
The Dog House Restaurant opened in September 1965. On hand for the opening were, from left, local franchise owner William Jefferson company President Ross Marino. The eatery, located at the corner of Losey Boulevard and State Road, was open 24 hours a day. Hobbit Travel now occupies the corner.
Dahl Automotive opened its Ford City showroom in 1957 at the corner of Third and Division streets. Harry Dahl founded the business in 1911 in his hometown of Westby. The dealership has since expanded its footprint on the southern edge of the city's downtown. There also are Dahl locations in Onalaska and Winona, Minn.
Ernie Tuff Museum
Members of the bluegrass group Welcome Home perform in the summer of 1982 at the Ernie Tuff Museum, which was located between Rushford and Winona, Minn., along Interstate 90 before it closed in 1995. Tuff, who is best known for the state-of-the-art engines he built that powered race cars at Daytona and other national races during the the 1960s, opened the museum in 1972.
Elite Restaurant and Candy Shop
Paul Pappas, owner of the Elite Restaurant and Candy Shop, is shown here making confections at his store at 421 Main St. The Pappas family opened the store in 1912; it closed in 2000. Today, Fat Sam's Main Street Bistro, which opened in 2012, occupies that space until it closed in 2017.
Ed and Sally Sullivan stand in front of a 1983 expansion to their Trempealeau supper club. The couple, who started the businesses in 1968, sold the restaurant in 2001. Today, Sullivan's Supper Club, as it's now known, remains a popular dining destination along the Mississippi River.
Danette Shick, daughter of Linda and David Shick, tries on a sombrero during a visit to Esteban's restaurant with her West Salem Spanish class. The restaurant opened in in February 1980 at 300 S. Third St. in downtown La Crosse and closed in January 1996. Numerous eateries have opened and closed at that location since then, and another, Lovechild is in business there today.
Les Eversole of Eversole Motors drives a Chrysler K-car in 1980 at his downtown La Crosse dealership. The dealership was first known as Eversole-Rogers Co. when it was founded in 1954. Oregon-based Lithia Motors Inc. acquired Eversole in 2006. Two years later, the dealership was purchased by Pischke Motors of West Salem, which has since expanded the business's footprint at Fourth and Cass streets.
Exel Inn opened in 1976 at 2150 Rose St., with Jon Riley, shown here behind the motel's front desk, as the manager. When it opened, it advertised rooms for $11.50 per night. It was the company's sixth location in Wisconsin. The motel became a Howard Johnson in 2008 and later adopted the Motel 6 name in 2014.
Edwards China Shop
Wrought iron is installed in spring 1974 to get the building at 204 S. Fourth St. ready for Edwards China Shop, which opened that summer. The metal work remains today on the storefront, occupied by the Twisted Skull tattoo studio. Richard and Rita Edwards closed the shop in 1978 after they purchased the Pizza Wagon, which later became Edwardo's Ristorante di Pizza. The North Side pizzeria closed in December 2015.
Embers Restaurant, a Minnesota-based chain, opened at 2620 Rose St. in December, 1973. The eatery closed in April 2004 to make room for a Walgreens, which opened at the site in November 2004.
1965: Ellickson Studio
Milton Kinney, a photographer at Ellickson Studio, 431 Cass St., receives the Court of Honor award in 1965 from John Keel, president of the Wisconsin Photographers Association. The award was for a portrait of Sally Riggs, the 3-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Myron Riggs of La Crosse. The studio moved to 511 Main St. in 1980, and it remains in business today.
Exchange State Bank
Exchange State Bank opened its new location at 1300 Rose St. in 1962. The bank had spent its previous 74 years at 800 Rose St. A merger in 1991 changed the name to Valley Bank. In 1994, the financial institution took on the M&I Bank name. In 2012, yet another merger changed the North Side bank into BMO Harris.
1954: Estell Tall Fashions
Ester MacKenzie, left, and Eleanor Armstrong, were co-owners of Estel Tall Fashion, a women's clothing store at 720 Main St. The store's name, the women told the Tribune, was arrived at by combing the names of the two owners. The store, the women said, focuses on the fashion needs of taller women. "Tall girls," Armstrong said, "shouldn't be afraid to admit their height. After all, most top models are tall."
Elfman Marine and Motors
H.J. Elfman, left, shown here with mechanic John Emmert, owned Elfman Marine and Motors at 70 Copeland Ave. The company, which offered service and accessories for boat owners, was sold in 1984 to David Pretasky, who also owned SkipperLiner Marine. The Copeland Avenue location is now an empty lot. SkipperLiner closed in 2010.
Factory Outlet Mall
The Factory Outlet Mall opened in 1984, just off Interstate 90 on French Island. The stores in the shopping center were required to sell merchandise at 20 to 75 percent below list price, according to a story that fall in the La Crosse Tribune. About five years later, the name changed to Sky Harbour Center, and today it's home to The Company Store Outlet and Liesl's Hair Design, two of the mall's first tenants, along with International Furniture, and Horse and Hound.
Farm & Fleet
Lisa Johnson of La Crosse shops at Farm & Fleet on its opening day. The Wisconsin-based retailer opened at 9438 Hwy. 16, Onalaska, in summer 1984. It replaced a Farm & Fleet store that was located at 333-337 Causeway Blvd. The Onalaska store remains in business today.
Ferris Shoe and Leather Repair
Russell Ferris, left, watches as his nephew Mike Ferris fits a new lining for a leather jacket in 1982 at Ferris Shoe and Leather Repair, 1721 George St. The business closed in 1998 when Russell retired.
1980: First Bank-La Crosse
This model of a 10-story office building was unveiled to the public in April 1980 by, from left, Pat Zielke, then mayor of La Crosse; Burton Dahlberg, executive of Kraus-Anderson Inc., the firm planning the project; and Lyle Anderson, president of First Bank-La Crosse, which was expected to occupy about one-third of the structure. The building was to be built along Third Street, between State and Main streets. Because of problems acquiring property, the project was later relocated the to the west, filling the half-block along Second Street, between Main and State streets. The design also was changed before construction began in 1982. The building opened in 1984, and US Bank, the financial institution's name after a consolidation, continues to have a branch there today.
Chad Miller, 4, pays a visit to Frenchy's Market on the North Side of La Crosse. The store — located at 2003 Charles St. and owned by Lucille (pictured) and Duane "Frenchy" La Ronge — was featured in a La Crosse Tribune story in 1978 about the last few mom-and-pop grocers in the city.
The Freight House Restaurant
Workers in the spring of 1978 work to turn the former Milwaukee Road freighthouse into The Freight House Restaurant, which opened later that year. A fire on Sept. 26, 1992, gutted the building, which had been constructed in 1880. The fire's caused was never determined. The eatery reopened on Feb. 1, 1993, and remains in business today.
First Federal Savings and Loan
First Federal Savings and Loan completed a major remodeling in 1977 at its La Crosse office at 605 State St. Later, First Federal Savings Bank was created by the 1989 merger of First Federal Savings and Loan Association of La Crosse (which was founded in 1934) and First Federal Savings Bank of Madison (which was founded in 1889). The bank's name was changed to First Federal Capital Bank in March 2003. In 2004, Green Bay-based Associated Bank acquired First Federal. Associated Bank vacated the State Street location this summer, and La Crosse County will move its administrative office into the former bank building by the end of 2016.
La Crosse was the site of the third Fastenal store, located at 727 Rose St. The company, which has its headquarters in Winona, Minn., has grown to become the largest fastener distributor in North America. The store in La Crosse had several locations over the years — including 2255 Palace St. and 47 Copeland Ave. — and today it’s located at 51 Copeland Ave.
Four Seasons Lounge
Jerry and Jack Lydon opened Four Seasons Lounge in 1974 at 111 N. Third St. The city purchased the business in 1983 to make way for a parking ramp for the planned 10-story First Bank-La Crosse development.
This photo shows the Fireside Restaurant after its dining room was remodeled in 1973. The supper club, located at 9402 Hwy. 16, was opened in 1946 by Ivan Peterson. After the La Crosse restaurant closed in May 1988, the building was demolished to make way for a Barnes & Noble Bookstore. Today, the site is home to a Walgreens.
Fitting Knit Shop
Lorraine Hurt, left, and her mother, Gertrude Fitting, shown here in 1954, operated Fitting Knit Shop, which sold yarn, thread and other sewing supplies at 105 N. Fourth St. They opened the store in the 1940s. Helen Mike and Margaret Johnson bought the business in October 1966. The business was one of several that was destroyed by fire on Dec. 30, 1979, in the former La Crosse National Bank building. That building was torn down after the fire, and the location remains green space, at the corner of Third and Main streets. Fitting Knit Shop is located today at 533 Main St.
Musician Tammy Waller was a frequent children's performer during the early 1980s at Ground Round. The North Side restaurant opened in early 1981 at 1930 Rose St. It closed in 1992 and was replaced by the Armadillo Mexi-Deli and, later, Edwardo's Ristorante di Pizza, which closed in 2015. A new Ground Round franchise opened in Onalaska in 2015; it closed in 2018.
Gantert's Furniture Co.
Albert Gantert announced in May 1981 that Gantert's Furniture Co. would close at 110 S. Third St. after 119 years in business. The store, first called S. Gantert's Furniture Hall, opened on Pearl Street in 1862. Today, the Third Street location is home to The Antique Center of La Crosse.
Gas Light Gifts, a retailer of greeting cards, candles and gifts, opened in 1973 at the corner of Third and Pearl streets. The business was run by Rita Wolfe, who the Tribune reported was a 1952 graduate of Logan High School. Today, the site is occupied by the Orange Pearl Salon.
Annette Bradstetter opened The Greenery Shop at 119 N. Water St. in Sparta with her husband, Roger, in 1973. The business, which sold flowers and gifts, was sold to Tomah Greenhouse Inc. the next year. Mike's TV, Appliance and Furniture occupies that site today.
Guys and Dolls Billiard Parlor
Guys and Dolls Billiard Parlor opened in 1972 at 203 S. Third St., replacing the Men's Club. The new downtown business, which was owned by Fred Wakeen, featured 14 pool tables.
Gerrard Realty opened its new location at Fifth Avenue and Division Street in 1968. The site was formally home to Kerr Grocery. The real estate company, which merged with Hoeschler Realty in 1991 to create Gerrard-Hoeschler Realtors, moved to 600 N. Third St. in 2011.
The Greyhound Bus Depot opened in 1958 at the corner of Fourth and Cameron streets. Today, Greyhound buses stop at Grand River Station, 314 Jay St.
Hugo H. Redlin, left, owner of Gambles North Side Store, is shown here with employees Fred Wuttke and Mrs. Redlin. The storefront, at 1232 Caledonia St, is currently vacant.
Garvalia China Shop
Owners George and Eva Garvalia, far left, are show with Garvalia China Shop employees, from left, Carol Staples, Mrs. Bert Vincent, Mrs. C.C. Thomas, Mrs. Harold Branch and Milton Blakenship in this 1954 photo. According to the Tribune, the store at 116 Fifth Ave. S., was the first in the city to offer a bridal registry. The Garvalias opened the store in 1947; it closed in 1992. Today, the site is home to Metre, a La Crosse-based advertising agency.
1948: Grand Hotel
The third floor of The Grand Hotel, located at the corner of Third and Pearl streets, is being removed in this 1948 photo. The building, which was built in 1885, was earlier known as the Eperson House and was one of the city's top hotels at the start of the 20th century. In 1948, the Tribune reported that the building had "continued to slide and gradually degenerated into something of a flop-house, offering shelter to knights of the road and other unfortunates with near-empty pocketbooks." Today, the second floor of the building has apartments, and the first floor has been home to a variety of bars, most recently Coconut Joe's, which closed earlier this year.
Happy Joe's Pizza and Ice Cream Parlor
Dave Olsen, left, owner of Happy Joe's Pizza and Ice Cream Parlor, helps employees build a 150-foot-long pizza in the parking lot of his Onalaska store in 1984. The event was a fundraiser for the Onalaska High School's athletic department. The store, part of an Iowa-based chain, opened a year earlier at 808 Oak Ave. Olson renamed the restaurant as Pizza Pros Ala Mode in 2012, but it only lasted a few months under the new name. The building was torn down to make way for a Culver's, which opened there in 2014.
1984: Hollywood Theater
Moviegoers attend a showing of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" in 1984 at the Hollywood Theater in downtown La Crosse. The theater at 123 Fifth Ave S. closed in 2005 and after falling into disrepair, was purchased in 2012 by attorney and downtown developer Phil Addis, who plans to someday reopen it.
Owner Leon Hansen, center, is shown here in 1979 at the opening of his new store at 1602 Commercial St. in Bangor. Today, the family-owner supermarket chain also operates stores in Cashton, Elroy, Neillsville, Sparta, Stanley, Westby and West Salem.
Herberger's, shown here in 1978 at its location on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Main Street, relocated to Valley View Mall in 1980. The building, which previously was home to Barron's Department Store, is home today to a variety of offices, a hair salon and a bakery. Bon-Ton Store, which acquired Herberger's in 2006, closed all of its stores in 2018. For photos from the early days of Valley View Mall,
The Hungry Peddler opened in 1976 at 3429 Mormon Coulee Road. The building, which dates back to 1910, previously housed Miller's Tavern. According to the Tribune, the Hungry Peddler's original menu featured European-style crepes. Although crepes are no longer on the menu, the business remains open today.
1972: Hoffman House Restaurant
Charles Hoffman, president of Hoffman House Restaurants, and Mary Lou Mason are served coffee in the new Hoffman House Restaurant, which opened inside the Midway Motor Lodge, 1835 Rose St., in 1972. In 1983, Ken and Jay Proksch began leasing the restaurant and renamed it Moxie's. It changed names again, in 1999, to River Jack's, and later to Black River Bar & Grill. Today it has the Moxie's name once again.
Hoeschler Drugs, which had been in the Hoeschler family since 1903, was sold in 1968 to Harold McEuen, who already owned pharmacies in Onalaska, West Salem and Bangor. Today, the downtown building houses the offices of Downtown Mainstreet Inc.
Honig's Gift and Book Shop, shown here in 1962, had a long history in downtown La Crosse before closing in 2015. Robert Funke bought the shop at 531 Main St. in 1962 from Theodora and Fred Honig. The former Theodora Kanard started the business in 1927, a few years before she married Honig, as The Gift Cellar at 518 Main St. Today the storefront is occupied by Full Circle Supply.
Henry's Drive-In — which featured a menu of hamburgers, french fries and milkshakes — opened in 1962 at the corner of Seventh and King streets. The building was torn down in 1981 to make way for Godfather's Pizza. That site is home to Pizza Doctors today.
A Holiday Inn opened in 1962 along Park Plaza Drive, just west of the Cass Street bridge on Barron Island. The complex was renamed Yacht Club Resorts in 1997, and it was divided into three separate lodging operations — a Ramada hotel, Howard Johnson Express Inn and Villager Lodge. All three were closed by 1999, and the buildings were eventually torn down. After many failed attempts to develop the site, construction has begun on Pettibone Pointe, a condominium development by Gerrard-Hoeschler.
1954: Howards Clothes
Howards Clothes employees, from left, Raymond E. Wrobel (president, general manager and part owner), Rudolph Secky, James Wagner, John McCown and John D. Desmond Jr. (secretary, treasurer and part owner) are pictured in 1954 inside their store, which opened in 1926 at 112 S. Fourth St., which is now home to Deaf Ear Record Exchange.
1954: Heraldson's Shoe Store
Heraldson's Shoe Store, 1203 Caledonia St., opened for business in 1913. In this 1954 photo are, from left, salesperson Ross Tracy, bookkeeper Lydia Burdick, owner John Heraldson and salesperson Nels Lavold. Today, the North Side location is home to an exhibit that commemorates the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo during World War II.
1952: Harmony Cafe
Louis Athnos, second from right, stands behind the counter inside the Harmony Cafe, 128 N. Third St. The cafe closed in the 1950s, and today the location is home to The State Room.
International Video and Gift
Pha Xiong, left, and Koha Xiong opened International Video and Gift in 1985 at 901 Main St. The cousins, who immigrated to the United from Laos, told the Tribune that their store rented video cassette tapes and Hmong handicrafts. Today, the building at the corner of Ninth and Main Streets houses apartments.
International Bake Shoppe
Susie Ellis, left, and Katie Moe started International Bake Shoppe in 1982 at 1127 S. Eighth St. The women moved the businesses to 444 Main St. in 1999. In 2001, Don and Mary Hennessey purchased the bakery. It continues to operate today in downtown La Crosse.
The showroom of Interior Designs in Holmen is shown here shortly after it opened in 1978. The firm remains in business at 1551 Holmen Drive.
Ken Helfrich and William Vance opened Imperial Motors in 1977 at the corner of La Crosse Street and West Avenue. The used car lot also employed mechanic Joe Huber. Today the site is home to Cool Beans coffee shop.
Donald Numsen works on equipment at the Inland Printing facility at 2009 West Ave. S. shortly after it opened in 1971. The family-owned company still has its headquarters there, but the building has been expanded numerous times. Today, the company employs about 300 people.
The Ivy Inn, which was located at 232 N. Sixth St., is shown here in 1971. After the motel closed, the building served as a residence hall for Western Technical College for 12 years before being demolished in 2013 to make way for the school's Horticulture Education Center.
1954: Ikert's Food Market
Employees of Ikert's Food Market — from left, George Carr, Richard Carr, Phillip Standiford, William Lehrke, Muriel Czarnetzkski and Everett Cilley — are shown inside the store in this 1954 photo. The food retailer, which was located at the corner of 13th Street and South Avenue, was best known for its meat counter.
Jan Walter Fabric Shop
Morris Rifkin, owner of Jan Walter Fabric Shop, is shown here in 1982 shortly before he closed his business at 320 Main St. The store opened in downtown La Crosse in 1961, and Rifkin told the Tribune the store was named after his wife, Jan, and a close friend, Walter. Today, the site is home to Gallery La Crosse.
Owner Philip Jensen, the son of the restaurant's founder, Tollef Jensen, serves customers in this 1982 photo at Jensen's Cafe in Galesville. The cafe was located on the city's square from 1902 until it closed in 1992.
Johnnie's Aloha Service
Hawaii native Johnnie Kaio owned Johnnie's Aloha Service at 1606 George St. The business closed when Kairo retired in the late 1990s. Now a vacant lot, the site at the corner of Gillette and George streets was later home to Craig's Towing & Repair.
Iris Poellinger opened the Jewel Box in 1978 in Bridgeview Plaza. Poellinger, a native of India, immigrated to the United States in 1966.
Jolivette Cleaners and Laundry
Almina Heisz, who owned Jolivette Cleaners and Laundry with her husband, William, is shown here in this 1974 photo. The company had many locations throughout the years in the La Crosse area. Scott and Roxanne Suhr purchased the business in 1995 and later changed the name to Hangers to Hems Dry Cleaners & Laundry.
Jeffrey's, a clothing store at 409 Main St., opened an outlet in 1972 in the alley between Main and Jay streets behind what is now Chances R tavern. According to city directories, the outlet was in business for less than two years. The building, originally used as a stable for the Tausche hardware company, is now housing.
1970: Johnson's Junior Miss Shop
Owner Marian Johnson is shown in 1970 inside Johnson's Junior Miss Shop. The store, located at 2311 State Road, is now home to Java Vino.
1957: Jackson Plaza
This is the cover a special section of the La Crosse Tribune marking the 1957 opening of Jackson Plaza on the South Side of La Crosse. Although the businesses have changed many times over the years, the strip mall remains at 19th and Jackson.
Minnesota-based Kelly Furniture had a store in La Crosse in 1954 at 228 Main St. Shown here, from left, are Richard Carlson, Elmer Hougan, Theresa Yost, Joanne Johnson, Dalton Noel and store manager Harley Carlson. The La Crosse store opened in 1943. Today the site is occupied by The Old Crow bar and restaurant.
Edgar, left, and Bill Kroner are shown here in 2004 inside the family-owned Kroner Hardware, which has been at operating at 319 Pearl St. since 1868.
Kids Port USA
Manager Susan Smith sets up a display before the 1985 opening of the Kids Port USA store in Onalaska. The children's clothing store, located in the East Towne Plaza shopping center along Hwy. 16, closed in 1990.
1984: K&G Costumes
Ken Konzen and Louanne Greene, co-owners of K&G Costumes show off some of their popular Halloween costumes in 1984. The pair started the La Crosse business in 1984; it closed in 2000.
Thomas Berger works as a manager at the Kwik Trip distribution center that opened in 1978 at 2306 Commerce St., when it served just 29 stores. The company, which opened its first store in Eau Claire in 1965, today operates more than 400 locations in three states.
Lloyd Miller, manager of the lawn and garden center at Kathan Lumber, is shown here in 1978. The store was located on Hwy. 35 in Onalaska. In 1989, the business was purchased by brothers Gary and Rodney Braund, and they renamed it Braund's Building Center. The building was torn down to make way for an ongoing waterfront redevelopment.
Kentucky Fried Chicken
A new Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant opened in 1972 at 2001 Rose St. This was the second KFC in the city; the first was near the corner of Losey Boulevard and Mormon Coulee Road. Both locations remain in business today.
1972: King Cinema
People fill the lobby for the opening of King Cinema in 1972. The movie theater, located at 222 S. Seventh St., showed "The Biscuit Eater" on both of its screens on its first night. The facility, which later added a third screen, showed its final film, "Wimbledon," before closing in 2004. Today, the site is home to a two-story building that houses Social Security offices.
1971: Kewpee Lunch
Owner Arthur Grathen is shown here in 1971 shortly before his restaurant, Kewpee Lunch, closed. It was best known for its hamburgers. Grathen opened the restaurant at 314 S. Fourth St. in 1938 with his brother-in-law Harry Vokel, when burgers sold for 5 cents. The price gradually increased over the years before peaking at 20 cents. Today, the storefront is occupied by Designing Jewelers.
La Crosse opened its first Kmart store in 1965 at the corner of Losey Boulevard and State Road. It was the discount retailers 98th store. The La Crosse Tribune reported that the store opened with 10 checkouts, an automotive service center and a snack bar. The South Side store closed in September 2017. A second Kmart store opened in 1982 on Hwy. 16 near Valley View Mall, but it closed in 1995.
1964: Kerr's Grocery
From left, Ollie Kerr (widow of the late Warren E. Kerr), and her sister, Marjorie Hougen, are shown here inside Kerr's Grocery, 604 Fifth Ave. S., shortly before it closed in 1964. In a story about the closing of the 50-year business, Kerr told the Tribune that the store was once considered the elite food store in La Crosse. The grocery store was torn down to make way for an office building that today houses the offices of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the 7 Rivers Region.
The La Crosse Tribune published this special section to mark the 1957 opening of a Kroger supermarket in the Village Shopping Center. The food store became a Quillin's supermarket in 1971. In 2011, the 35,000-square-foot building was razed to make way for a Festival Foods that opened later that year.
Kaybee Store, a family apparel business, was located at 514 Main St. in 1954. Shown here, from left, are bookkeeper Mildred Hanon, sales clerk Shawna Buros and manager Robert D. Collins. At that time there were 80 Kaybee stores operating across the United States. Today the site is owned by the La Crosse Diocese as part of the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman.
Kratt Lumber employees, from left, Joseph Kratt, Ralph Orcutt, James Scott, Edward Baker and Richard Kratt, stand in front of the business at 1714 S. 16th St. The business, which opened in 1948, remains in business there today.
La Crosse Tribune
Construction of the La Crosse Tribune building at 401 N. Third St. is shown here in this 1972 photo. The paper moved the following year from its old home at Fourth and Cass (now the Bimbo crouton factory). For more about the Tribune's history, dating back to 1904,
Linda Anderson is shown inside her West Salem bakery in this 1983 photo. The business has roots in the village that date back to 1926, when it was known as Salem Bakery. Today, Linda's is owned by Marc and Sue Anderson at 190 E. Hwy. 16.
1982: Lorillard building
Patricia Poser, who worked for real estate developer Robert Stephan, stands inside a new North Side condo in this 1982 photo. The four-story brick building at 1501 Rose St. was built between 1916 and 1919 by Lorillard Tobacco Co. as a warehouse. Later, the building was used as storage by the La Crosse Garment Co. In 1982 it opened as Old North Port, a condominium and office development that still stands today.
1982: Leithold Music
Longtime La Crosse radio DJ Lindy Shannon is shown here inside Leithold Music in 1981 after the downtown store announced it was closing its record department. The store, which was founded in 1888 and is located at 116 S. Fourth St., still sells and repairs instruments and offers music lessons.
Lakeview Foods is shown here in 1979 shortly after it moved into its new location on Hwy. 16 on the east edge of West Salem. The business was founded in 1945 by Robert and Helen Anderson. The supermarket closed in 2002, and the building was home to Lakeview Furniture. Today, the site is occupied by Jolivette Family Farms.
1978: La Crosse Answering Service
Roberta Fischer, owner of the La Crosse Answering Service, is shown here shortly after her business opened in 1978. The business, located at 217 S. Seventh St., had previously been named Madonna's Answering Service. In 2007, the business was purchased by Bruce and Laurie Torvik. It has since closed.
1978: Lenny's Shoe Repair
Lenny Matiak is shown inside his store, Lenny's Shoe Repair, in this 1978 photo. Matiak, who told the Tribune he he has been in the shoe business since he began shining shoes at age 15, continues to operate his business at 721 Clinton St.
1972: Louie Bantle's Restaurant
Louis and Lialys Bantle raise their glasses in a toast to the new owner of Louie Bantle's Restaurant, Max Kottmer, right. Louis started his restaurant career in 1944 when he became part owner of Fifth Avenue Buffet. Then, in 1947, he purchased La Conga at 312 S. Third St. and renamed it Louie Bantle's Restaurant. Today, the La Crosse Professional Plaza is located at that site.
La Crosse Furniture
Eve and Bernard Perlmutter are pictured inside La Crosse Furniture in this 1966 photo. The Perlmutters opened their first furniture store at the corner of Second and Main streets in 1951. The business later moved to the corner of Third and Pearl streets before it found a home at 116-118 S. Third St. The store, which was operated in later years by son Bruce, closed in 2005. Today, the space is shared by Polito's Pizza and Big Boar BBQ.
La Crosse Rubber Mills Co.
The La Crosse Rubber Mills Co., which began in 1897, manufactured rubber horseshoes before switching to making rubber-coated fabrics and raincoats and, eventually, canvas and rubber footwear. It constructed the first of several concrete buildings in 1913, launching a series of expansions across its 10-plus acres. By 1930, it was the city’s largest employer, with 2,000 workers. In 1983, the company was producing 2.2 million pairs of shoes a year. Sales reached $30 million a year later and an all-time high of $108.3 million in 1994. Renamed LaCrosse Footwear Inc. in 1987, the company closed the facility in 2001, moving its headquarters to Portland, Ore. It was sold to Tokyo-based ABC-Mart Inc. for $138 million in 2012. After remaining idle for four years, the buildings on St. Andrew Street have enjoyed a renaissance since The Fenigor Group LLC bought the complex in 2005.
A display of bedroom furniture is seen in this 1963 photo inside Leath Furniture. The store at 207 Fifth Ave. S. closed in 1991 after 60 years in business in La Crosse. Charles and Marjorie Collins donated the building in 1996 to be used as the site for the Children's Museum of La Crosse.
1955: La Crosse Beauty School
From left (standing) student Dale Twedt, instructor Gene Harding, student Bea Anderson and instructor Ravenhall Stevens work on the hair of students, from left, Ardyth Eagon and Elizabeth Mezera, at the La Crosse Beauty School in this 1955 photo. The school opened at 718 Main St. in 1952. Today, the building is home to Treasures on Main.
1954: Lottie's Ready-to-Wear Shoppe
Lottie Klandrud, right, owner of Lottie's Ready-to-Wear Shoppe, shows off new styles with two of her employees, Miriam Scheppke and Alice Aaness, in this 1954 photo. Klandrud and Aaness worked at the shop until 1973 when they both retired at age 83. Klandrud opened her store in one second-floor room at 109 N. Fourth St. in 1923. She quickly expanded to occupy a larger spot at the corner of Fourth and Main streets. Today, that storefront is occupied by Kate's on State.
Bob and Irene Allen, shown here just before their retirement in 1984, opened the Maid-Rite Cafe in 1947 at 1117 Caledonia St. The restaurant, which was best known for its loose-meat sandwiches, closed in 2016.
Jim Pappas, one of the owners of Michael's Cerise, is shown here in this 1984 photo. The Cerise Club first opened in 1959 at the corner of 32nd and Fairchild streets by Gerald Heberlein; it was destroyed by a fire in 1964. Heberlein reopened the club in 1967 at 1815 Ward Ave. Heberlein sold the restaurant to the Pappas family of Rochester, Minn., in 1976. The Pappas family closed the restaurant in 1993 and briefly reopened before closing for good the following year. Today, the site is home to the Hmoob Cultural and Community Agency.
In July 1976, the Cerise Club was the scene of the shooting deaths of Paul Whipple, a night bartender at the club, and his friend Theresa Schneider. The suspect in the case, David A. Leyden shot and killed himself the next month in Sioux Falls, S.D.
David Platz holds a gray cockatiel in 1984 inside Marineland at 412 Oak Forest Drive in Onalaska. The store remains open today.
Mississippi Valley Airlines
Sallie Bailey, the in-fight service director for Mississippi Valley Airlines, stands at the back of a mock-up of a 30-passenger plane in this 1979 photo. The company, originally known as Gateway Aviation, was a La Crosse-based airline that began operation in 1968 with flights from La Crosse to Milwaukee and Chicago. The company moved its headquarters to Moline, Ill., in 1982; it merged with Air Wisconsin three years later.
Mai-Tai Supper Club
The Mai-Tai Supper Club is shown here in 1978, the same year the restaurant at 1539 Rose St. was sold by Rachel Skoug to Glenn Addis. In January 1983, Addis sold the property to Arthur Lucas, who renamed the restaurant Arthur's Restaurant; the restaurant closed five months later. Later that year, Lucas was convicted of first degree-murder. According to news reports, Lucas shot Theodore and Carlene Ann Buschkopf in a Winona, Minn., hotel room; Theodore Buschkopf died from his injuries. Investigators later discovered that Arthur Lucas and Carlene Ann Buschkopf had planned the hit in order to collect life insurance money to fund the restaurant's reopening. The building was razed, and today the land is a parking just south of the Subway restaurant on the city's North Side. Carrie died in custody in 2010. Arthur was released in 2013 after serving nearly 30 years in prison.
In 1977, Menards opened its store on Lang Drive in La Crosse. The home improvement store was at the south end of a new shopping center, Menard Plaza, that also featured a Quillin's supermarket. The Menards closed in January 2005, and the entire shopping center was demolished to make way for a larger Menards store, which would occupy the entire site when it opened in March 2006. The Eau Claire-based retailer also operates a store along Hwy. 53 in Onalaska that opened in 1996.
Mr. D's Donuts
Darrell and Rosie Kluever, owners of Mr. D's Donuts, show off their new location shortly after the restaurant moved to 1146 State St. in 1976. The Kluevers' first Mr. D's restaurant, opened in 1969, was located next door. Art Lotz took over as owner in 1979, and the restaurant closed in 2006 to make room for a widening of West Avenue.
When the Linker Building was razed in 1962 as a result of a fire, a large hole remained on the site at the southwest corner of Fourth and Main streets. It was an eyesore, and began to be referred to by residents as the hole, according to research by the archives department of the La Crosse Public Library. The land stood vacant until 1966, when efforts by local businesses, organizations and individuals built a sunken garden. An agreement was made with Ben Marcus, the landowner, whereby the chamber would coordinate development of the park, but Marcus would retain full rights and if he decided to build or sell the property, the city would remove the park. Part of the agreement was that filling the hole was not permitted, so the sunken garden was planned. Debris was cleared by Boy Scouts and other volunteers, and a fountain was installed. A name-the-hole contest was held, and the winner was Phil Dyer with his entry Man-Lay Garden. The name was symbolic of the cooperation of management and labor in this project. A commemorative plaque, which included before and after pictures of the site, was placed in the garden in July 1967 in honor of the firms and individuals that donated materials and labor. In 1974, Marcus sold the land for $75,000, and one year later it was announced that a McDonalds restaurant would be built. It was built so the garden could be partially retained. A 32-foot bridge was built from the sidewalk on Fourth Street over the garden to the walkway. The fast-food restaurant closed its location in 1995. In 1998, the property was remodeled for a Brueggers Bagels, and the Man-Lay garden east of the building was filled in to create six parking spaces by fall 1999. The bagel shop closed in 2004. Today the site is home to Howe's Jewelers.
This photo shows the young juniors department days before the new Montgomery Wards department store opened in downtown La Crosse. The retailer occupied the entire block bound by Third and Fourth streets and Vine and State streets, which had been the site of the La Crosse County Courthouse. Wards closed in 1986, and the building was demolished. The site was a county-owned parking lot until 2014, when La Crosse developer Don Weber purchased the property to build a $68 million complex of offices, stores and apartments.
Major Rexall Drug
Major Rexall Drug, which opened in 1957 in Jackson Plaza, is shown here five years later after a major expansion. The names of two of its pharmacists — the MA from Marc Arneson and and the JO from Jess Ondell, along with the R from Rexall — was how the store got its name. The pharmacy later became Quillin's Major Drug, which closed in 1998.
Mount La Crosse
Workers put the finishing touches on the lodge of Mount La Crosse shortly before its 1960 opening. Owners Ted and Susan Motschman invested in snow-making equipment to ensure the 200-acre site off Hwy. 14 could be skied all winter. Boasting the largest vertical drops in the Midwest, Mount La Crosse hosts Wisconsin's state high school tournament each year. The Motschmans sold the business in 2000 to current owners Todd and Cindy Schini.
1984: National Video Movie Rental
Marilyn Reinhard was manager of National Video and Movie Rental, which opened in June 1984 in the Village Shopping Center. When it opened, the store rented both VHS and Beta tapes, along with video cassette recorders.
North Star Drive-In
A patron watches a film at the North Star Drive-In in this 1983 photo. The site, which had room for 525 cars, was built in the town of Medary in 1953. The outdoor theater closed in the late 1980s. Today those 14 acres, located across Hwy. 16 from Valley View Mall, are home to many retailers located along Theater Road.
Lois Baker, manager of Nutrition World in the Village Shopping Center, serves samples of a fruit cake to Joann Mullen and Barb Lafky in this 1980 photo.
The dining room of Nob Hill is shown when it opened in Onalaska in 1979. The restaurant, at 910 Second Ave. N., changed its name in 1993 to the Lighthouse (at Nob Hill) when a lighthouse replica was built next to the restaurant; it closed in 1997. The location has since been occupied by Seven Bridges Restaurant, Seasons By the Lake and currently Two Beagles Brewpub.
Nutbush City Limits
Jon Schuster stands in front of his new restaurant, Nutbush City Limits, along Hwy. 16 northeast of La Crosse in this 1979 photo. The location was previously home to Lucky's Tavern. The expansion of Hwy. 16 to four lanes forced Nutbush to relocate to its current home at 3264 George St. in 1985.
1976: New Villa
Betty Volkman, a server at the New Villa, looks over a replica of the U.S. flag in this 1976 photo. The restaurant closed in May 1999, and the building was razed in 2003 to provide parking for the nearby Marcus Cinema Theater. According to the La Crosse Public Library Archives, the restaurant dated to 1937 when George Dialler purchased Rich Newburgs Nite Club and renamed it the New Villa. Dialler selected a rooster as the restaurants logo to pay tribute to the location once having been a poultry farm. In conjunction with the rooster, the New Villa's slogan was "food and cocktails to crow about." It was widely known for its chicken dumpling soup, Hershey almond pie and Friday fish fry dinners.
1973: Newburg's Menswear
William O. Newburg, left, and William E. Newburg show off their newly remodeled menswear store at 322 Pearl St. in this 1973 photo. The family opened a second location in the Village Shopping Center in 1978. That location closed in 1982. A third location at Valley View Mall also closed in 1982. Newburg's Menswear celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1986, the same year its original, and final, location closed downtown. The locatio, later home the Scientific College of Beauty and Barbering, today is vacant.
Northwest Fabrics is shown in 1972, days before it opened at 2400 Rose St. in Bridgeview Plaza. In 1991, the fabric store moved to Crossing Meadows Shopping Center in Onalaska. It was renamed Hancock Fabrics in 1998. Hancock closed its Onalaska store in 2016 and was replaced by Jo-Ann Fabrics later that year.
Construction on the headquarters Organic Valley in La Farge is shown in 2003. The 45,000-square-foot building in the Kickapoo River Valley was damaged by a 2014 fire. The company reopened the building after extensive repairs in 2015, the same year the organic farming cooperative topped $1 billion in sales.
Danny Thompson, shown here in 1985, is owner of Onalaska Upholstery. The business continues to operate out of its shop at 110 Third Ave. S.
Laura Potter, shown here in 1984, operated Our Place with Rhonda Munson. The shop in La Farge sold second-hand clothes and household goods.
Franz Butkovich carries a tray of pickled turkey gizzards while working at Oscar's, a restaurant that first opened in 1981 at 139 Second Ave. S. in Onalaska. Owned by Bud Pretasky, the restaurant was designed to let customers grill their own steaks and seafood. In 1984, the eatery changed its name to Oscar's Little Chicago, which had a mafia theme. A fire destroyed the building in 1986, and today the site is a parking lot for the Scoreboard Bar.
Oriental Food Store
Cheu Yang, left, who owned The Oriental Food Store with his wife, Mai Thao, is shown here in 1982 with children Tony Thao and Nah Lee in the background. The building that housed the store at 609 Market St. was later demolished to make room for a single-family home.
Nancy Olson, owner of Oak Originals, is shown with some of her store's products in 1977. Nelson started the business in 1976 at her Houston, Minn., home before moving it the next year to the basement of 301 Main St. in downtown La Crosse. The store later had a location in Shelby Mall. The downtown location is now a parking lot for Verve Credit Union.
Employees assemble smoker units for Outers Laboratories in rural Onalaska. The company, which manufactured sporting goods equipment, was founded by Vern Dale in 1933 to make gun cleaning brushes for the military. ATK Ammunition acquired the Outers manufacturing plant on Brice Prairie in December 2001; the plant was closed in 2012.
Osco Drug opened its store, with this remodeled facade, in 1966 at 112 Fifth Ave. S. The store closed its downtown location in 1996. The national drug store chain also operated a store in Valley View Mall from 1980 to 1997. The Fifth Avenue storefront was a dollar store from 2001 to 2007. Today it's occupied by Anytime Fitness, which opened in 2014.
Owner Dave Skogen stands in front of Paul's Pantry, a delicatessen, bakery and convenience store that opened in 1983 at 237 Second Ave N. in Onalaska. The store was named for Paul Skogen, who founded the Skogen supermarket chain at the site in 1946. From 1998 to 2016, the building was used as a support center for the Skogen family's Festival Foods grocery stores.
Cheryl Dummer works at Pizza Corral in this 1984 photo. The restaurant, which opened in 1983 at 1505 S. Holmen Drive, remains in business today.
Gary Roberts opened Pagliacci's restaurant in 1982 at 308 S. Third St. The Italian restaurant closed in 1984. Today the building houses the offices of The Fortney Companies.
Millie and Don Roesler stand in front of the Party House restaurant in 1981 shortly before it closed. The supper club, which was located in the town of Shelby near the junction of Hwy. 14/61 and Hwy. 35, was the casualty of a road expansion project.
1981: People's Food Co-op
About 40 people gathered to form a bucket brigade in the spring of 1981 to help the People's Food Co-op move its goods when the retailer relocated from the 800 block of Adams Street to the 900 block of Adams Street. The co-op was first organized in 1972 in a member's basement. After outgrowing the second Adams Street location, it moved to 315 Fifth Ave. S. in 1993. The downtown store more than doubled in space after an expansion in 2006.
Gary Roberts opened Piggy's restaurant in 1981 at 328 S. Front St. The location was previously home to the Loading Dock restaurant. Chris Roderique purchased the business from Roberts in 2001. Four years later, Piggy's moved to 501 Front St. S., inside the former Mike's Building Supply building. The previous location was demolished to make room for the first Logistics Health Inc. building.
Pamperin Cigar Co.
Employee Ann Messberg weighs cigar clippings at the Pamperin Cigar Co. in downtown La Crosse in this 1975 photo. Before 1900, there were 26 cigar factories in La Crosse, and Pamperin was the last one standing when Marjorie Collins purchased the company from Franklin J. Pamperin, grandson of the founder, in 1974. The business at 113 S. Second St. closed in 1986. Today the building is home to The Toy Shop.
Ponderosa Steak House
Construction continues on the new Ponderosa Steak House in this 1973 photo. The building, at 2526 Rose St., became North Country Steak Buffet in 1999.
This first Quillin's grocery store opened in 1945 at 1103 La Crosse St., advertising it "as the store that never ran out of butter." Three years later, the company opened a second store at the corner of Pine Street and West Avenue. Over the years, the Quillin's family acquired and sold a store in Winona, Minn., took over a Kroger store in the Village Shopping center in La Crosse, purchased a store at 1509 West Ave. S. (it closed in 2002), built the Quillin's Foodhouse next to Menards in 1977 on the city's North Side (it closed in 2005) and acquired a store next to La Crosse's Shelby Mall in 1981. The Village Shopping Center and Shelby Mall locations were purchased by Festival Foods in 2011. Both locations were closed, but a new Festival Foods was built on the site in the Village Shopping Center. Today, Quillin's only Wisconsin store is along Interstate 90 in the town of Campbell. The company has expanded into Minnesota, with stores in La Crescent and Caledonia, and into Iowa with locations in Decorah, Waukon, Lansing, Postville, Monona and West Union.
1985: Ranch House Dinner Theater
Scott Manthe, left, and Renee Lieder starred in the 1985 Ranch House Dinner Theatre production of "Butterflies are Free." The Sparta performing arts venue was opened by Robert Irwin in 1984.
Maria Yutuc rolls out an order to customers at Rudy's Drive-In, 1004 La Crosse St., in this 1984 photo. Bill and Selma Rudy started their first La Crosse drive-in restaurant in 1937. Their son Dale Rudy and his wife, Beverly, later took over the family A&W drive-in business. Over the years there were locations at Fourth and Vine streets, 24th and La Crosse streets and 3005 South Ave. In 1979, their son Gary Rudy bought it from them and dropped the A&W franchise. The restaurant, which closes during the cold-weather months, remains in business today.
Ray Hutson Chevrolet
Mike Hutson, manager of Ray Hutson Chevrolet, stands next to a 1954 Chevy convertible that was on display during the dealership's 30th anniversary in 1983. General Motors ended its franchise agreement with Ray Hutson in 2009 when it cut 1,100 dealerships nationwide. Clason Buick GMC expanded into part of the site 3232 Mormon Coulee Road in 2013.
Bonnie Tremmel, shown here in 1979, was store manager of the Ragstock clothing store when it opened in downtown La Crosse. Today, the 314 S. Fourth St. storefront is occupied by Designing Jewelers.
This 1978 aerial photo of the downtown La Crosse riverfront was taken just before the official groundbreaking of Harborview Plaza. The multi-million dollar development included the corporate center for G. Heileman Brewing Co. (marked with an X in the photo), the Radisson Hotel (which opened in August 1980) and the La Crosse Center.
The lobby of the Ramada Inn at Exit 2 on French Island is shown here in 1974. A corporation controlled by the Cleary family of La Crosse purchased the hotel in 1990, and it was immediately converted to a Days Inn hotel, a name it retains today.
Royale Pie Shop
Myron "Mike" Peterson, owner of the Royale Pie Shop, is shown in 1971 shortly before his business at 915 Fifth Ave. S. closed. Peterson estimated he made 2 million pies during the 35 years he was in business. The site today is a duplex.
Home furnishings are on display in a showroom at Ross Furniture shortly before its grand opening in 1964. The building at 101 State St. was constructed in 1898 as the Joseph B. Funke Candy Co. factory, and an addition to the east end was completed in 1905. The candy factory closed in 1933. That site was where La Crosse founder Nathan Myrick erected the city's first building in 1842. The furniture store closed in 2013. Today, the building houses the 67-room Charmant Hotel, which opened in 2015.
The Rivoli Theater, shown here in 1962, was constructed in 1920, and originally had an orchestra pit for silent movies. The theater, at 117 N. Fourth St., stopped showing movies in January 1987, but it reopened in 1994, showing primarily second-run films.
A Red Owl supermarket opened in 1954 at 41 Copeland Ave. The grocer only lasted three years there, closing in 1957. The building has been home to many other businesses over the years, and today it's home to Smith Family Furniture.
1954: Rowley's Office Equipment
Rowley's Office Equipment employees — from left, sales manager Harry Gregory, rural salesman Earl Schultz, shop foreman Willard Kreibich, bookkeeper Florence Peterson and owner and founder Lee Bert Rowley — are shown here in 1954. The business operated in downtown La Crosse from 1928 until it closed its store at 100 S. Third St. in 2005. Today, the storefront is home to The Old Crow, a pub that opened in 2015.
Walter G. Rose, pictured in 1954, holds a photo of his grandfather and store founder, George B. Rose Sr., who opened Rose Jewelers in 1856 on Pearl Street, the town's center at that time. In 1881, the business moved to 310 Main St. After operating there for 79 years, it moved to 111 Fifth Avenue S. in 1959. In 1989, Steve Rose relocated the business, which is believed to be the city's oldest, to its current site at 431 Main St.
Dave Skogen, right, president of Skogen's IGA, greets Wisconsin Gov. Anthony Earl during an event that marked the 10th anniversary of the supermarket in Onalaska's Center 90 shopping center. When the store closed in 2007, the Skogen family had opened 11 larger Festival Foods grocery stores across Wisconsin. Today, there are 25 Festival stores across the state.
Larry Dittman, co-owner of Scandinavian Design, is pictured in his company's Copeland Avenue warehouse store in 1985. Just five years later, the warehouse and the company's main showroom at 307 Main St. were closed. The downtown building is occupied by Verve credit union today.
1984: Skifton's Department Store
Arnold Skifton walks up the stairs to the second floor of Skifton's Department Store in 1984. He started working at the Houston, Minn., store in 1931 as a floor sweeper and fire builder. Skifton and wife, Marie, and their friends Olaf and Ethel Mollerstad bought the store in 1937. The Skiftons became sole owners in 1949. After Maries death in October 2000, Skifton owned and operated the store single-handedly until he died in August 2003. The store closed in 2004, and the building is now home to the International Owl Center.
South Avenue Cafeteria
Dorothy Sheehan serves a customer during the last week of business at South Avenue Cafeteria in 1983. The building was demolished shortly after the restaurant closed. Gundersen Health System's Founders Building occupies the spot today.
1983: Showbiz Pizza Place
Kindergartners from Onalaska’s Irving Pertzsch Elementary School gather at Showbiz Pizza Place in Onalaska in 1983. The pizza chain opened just north of Valley View Mall in 1982 and was rebranded as Chuck E. Cheese in 1993. Although its neighboring movie theater was torn down to make room for Dick’s Sporting Goods in 2014, the kid-friendly restaurant remains.
Erected in 1904 on the southeast corner of Fourth and State streets, the Stoddard Hotel was named in honor of Thomas B. Stoddard, the city's first mayor. For many years the Stoddard was La Crosse's main hotel. It was razed in 1982 after experiencing financial problems in the late 1970s. Notable people who stayed at the Stoddard Hotel included John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Elvis Presley, Frank Lloyd Wright, Lawrence Welk, Ann Landers, Joe Louis, Gloria Swanson and Tallulah Bankhead. Today the former site of the hotel is occupied by a parking lot.
The Sweet Shop
Cecil Allen, shown here in 1981, opened The Sweet Shop at 1113 Caledonia St. in May 1921. The North Side store, best known for its homemade candy and ice cream, remains in business today under the ownership of Allen's great nephew Bill Espe.
1978: Soell's King of Low Prices
Art Soell Sr., owner of Soell's King of Low Prices liquor and wine store, is shown here in 1978. His father, Otto Soell, opened Soell Drug Store at 509 Main St. and became the second retailer in the city to receive a liquor license when Prohibition was repealed in 1933. Art Soell Sr. converted the business to a full-service liquor store in 1965; it closed in 1997. The downtown location currently is home to Monet Flower & Gifts. A second Soell's liquor store operated at 3815 Mormon Coulee Road from 1971 to 2004. In later years, the store was managed by Art Soell Jr. After the retailer closed, the space was turned into Collins Professional Building.
In this 1978 photo, 17-month-old Tracy Wolter joins the many shoppers at the opening of the Shopko discount store in Shelby Mall. The city's first Shopko, at 2500 Rose St., opened in 1972. A third Shopko opened in Onalaska in 1989. All three stores are expected to close in 2019.
A SuperValu grocery store, shown here in 1977, anchored a corner of Jackson Plaza from 1962 until it closed in 1979. The shopping center on the city's South Side remains, but smaller stores fill the space one occupied by the supermarket.
1973: Schaak Electronics
William Soller, manager of the Twin Cities-based Schaak Electronics, is shown next to his store's stereo displays in 1973. Today, the space at 407 Main St. is occupied by State Bank Financial.
Shakey's Pizza Parlor and Ye Public House is shown here in 1973 shortly before it opened at 1227 S. Third St. Later, a Happy Joe's Pizza and Ice Cream restaurant opened at that site, which today is occupied by Dave's Guitar Shop.
1972: The Stereo Shop
J. Randall Charles, left, and John Tompkins are shown in The Stereo Shop shortly after it opened in 1972. The business, located at 316 S. Fourth St., sold 18 brands of stereos and related equipment. Today that location is home to River City Gold & Silver Exchange.
The Sandy's Drive-In, at the southeast corner of Rose and Clinton streets, is shown here shortly after an addition was completed in 1972. The fast food franchise was at the location from 1962 until about 1975. Today, the site is home to River Bank.
This 1971 photo shows the original plans for what is now Shelby Mall on the city's far South Side. The 508,000 square-foot facility was scaled back to 160,000 square feet when it opened in 1978. Some of the original stores included Shopko, Amundson's IGA, Radio Shack (which still has a store in the mall), Maurice's clothing store, First Federal Savings and Loan Association, Benson Optical, Coney Island restaurant, Pay-Less Shoes and Sound Ideas.
The Swiss Chateau, a cheese, wine and specialty food shop, opened at corner of Third and Ferry streets in 1964. It later added a restaurant called Cheddar and Ale. Today, that site is a sales lot for Toyota of La Crosse.
Spurgeon's department store at 121 S. Fourth St. is shown here after a 1959 remodeling. The La Crosse store — which opened in 1916 and was part of a chain that once operated in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois — closed in 1984. Today the storefront is occupied by Dales Clothing for Men and Women.
1958: State Bank of La Crosse
This full-page advertisement, published in the May 23, 1958, La Crosse Tribune, announced an open house at the remodeled office of State Bank of La Crosse, located at the corner of Fourth and Main streets. A second renovation in 1997 included removing the granite panels that were installed on the south side of the building in 1958. The granite was replaced with limestone, creating a match to the original stone, which was quarried from Grandad Bluff. The institution, which today goes by the name State Bank Financial, was founded in 1879 and has occupied the building since 1913.
1954: Smith's Bike Shop
Ida Smith, president of Smith's Bicycle Shop, and Edward C. Hayek, the store's vice president and general manager, are shown here in 1954. According to the La Crosse Public Library's Archives, Joseph Smith, Ida's late husband, started the business in 1913 in the 500 block of South Eighth Street, although there had been a bicycle shop at that location since about 1896. The store remains in business today under owners Erik and Randi Pueschner, who purchased it in 2016.
1954: Salem Markos & Sons
Mark, left, and Richard Markos, sons of the founder of Salem Markos & Sons, are shown in 1954. According to the La Crosse County Historical Society, five Markos brothers immigrated to the United States in 1901, and two of them started a clothing business in Rochester, Pa. Salem and Charles Markos owned the store, and the others helped run it. In 1911, Salem Markos moved the business to La Crosse, where his brothers, and later his sons, helped run it. In 1926 they became Salem Markos & Sons and moved to the 313 Pearl St. location they would inhabit for the next 87 years, until the present owner, Richard Markos, moved the store to 303 Pearl St.
Frank J. Hoeschler completed work on the Sears building at Fifth Avenue and King Street in 1947. Although the building remains, Sears left for Valley View Mall in 1980. Today, the three-story structure, known as King on Fifth, houses a variety of offices.
Teddy Bare Lingerie
Joyce Thielker helps a customer at Teddy Bare Lingerie during a men's night promotion in 1982. The store, located in Shelby Mall, sold bloomers, bustiers, garter belts and transparent bras.
Former La Crosse Tribune reporter Terry Rindfleisch tries out a new ultraviolet tanning system shortly after The Tannery opened in 1980 in Menard Plaza, located on Lang Drive on the city's North Side. The shopping center was torn down in 2005 to make way for a larger Menards store.
Terry La Fleur, owner of T-Jo's Pizza, is shown here in 1979 shortly after his pizzeria expanded to add a dining room at its location at 1717 George St. Terry and his wife, Jo, started T-Jo's Pizza in La Crosse in 1975. They opened a second location in Holmen in 1997. The La Fleurs sold the La Crosse location to Bill Peden in 2000, and in 2002 sold the Holmen restaurant to their son Mark and his wife, Trisha. Both restaurants still go by the T-Jo's name.
Tiffany's Touch of Fashions
Mary E. Goldsmith displays one of the dresses for sale in her store, Tiffany's Touch of Fashions, shortly after it opened in 1978 at 300 Pearl St. Today, that storefront is occupied by Orange Pearl Salon.
Masons work on the exterior of a Taco Bell restaurant under construction in 1977 at 1200 La Crosse St. In 1998, Taco Bell moved to 315 West Ave. N., and Pappa John's pizzeria moved into the building at the corner of La Crosse Street and West Avenue. It closed in 2008, and today a Subway restaurant occupies the corner lot.
This Taco John's restaurant opened in 1975 at 229 Rose St. In 1998, the restaurant moved to a larger location at 602 Monitor St., which was previously home to Taco Time. The location at 229 Rose St. is home today to a used car lot.
Taco Village server Carol Gilmore takes orders from Lisa Hanson, Douglas Hanson and Joan Kapeccas shortly after the Mexican restaurant, located at the corner of 19th and State Streets, opened. Today, that location is home to The Mint restaurant.
1954: Triangle Cafe
The Triangle Cafe, which opened in 1951, was a popular breakfast spot in downtown La Crosse. Shown in this 1954 photo are, from left, owner H.F. (Herb) Troyer, Betty Troyer, Mary Kreutzer and Thomas Baldwin. The restaurant's building at 601 Main St. was demolished to make room for Gateway Terrace Condominiums.
1954: Tom's Speedometer Shop
Tom's Speedometer Shop employees — from left, bookkeeper Mrs. Keenan, owner Tom Keenan, manager Floyd Tolley and technician Robert Olson — are shown in their store in this 1954 photo. Tom Keenan opened the speedometer repair business in 1928 in the back of a Second Street garage. It later moved to 614 Main St. In later years, the business mainly did locksmith work and lamp repair. It closed in 2008. Today, the location is home to resale shop.
Terry's Music Store
Employees at Terry's Music Store — from left, secretary Irene Thatro, service manager Donald Wilson, piano and organ department owner William G. Peck, store founder James Terry, owner of the band instrument and music department Danny Lebakken, and employee Larry Enos — stand in front of a shipment of televisions in this 1954 photo. The store, which mostly sold pianos when it was founded in 1908, expanded over the years to include band instruments, organs, radios and televisions. The storefront, which was located at 307-309 Main St., is now home to Verve credit union.
Vincent Tausche started Tausche Hardware in 1893 at the corner of Front and State streets. This photo, taken in 1954 after the store moved to 201 S. Fourth St., shows the leaders of the company. From left are wholesale store president and retail operation vice president A.E. Tausche, price clerk H.J. Hovind, adjustment clerk Alfred Hoel, stock clerk Thomas Pouzar, assistant manager Walter Shepard, and retail store president and wholesale store secretary Walter A. Ahlstrom. The company ended retail operations in 1969. In more recent years the Tausche building — as it is labeled on the cornice — was home to Salon Medusa. Today it houses apartments and The Great Escape of La Crosse.
United Auto Supply
From left, United Auto Supply Vice President Greg Marnach, President Richard Beirne and Operations Manager Jim Becker are shown here in 2008, the year the company celebrated its 50th year in business. In 2014, the company sold its 14 stores to Automotive Parts Headquarters. Today, the stores operate under the as Auto Value stores.
Karla Parker serves diners Helen Corbett and David Lehrke at Unicorn Restaurant, which owner Eric Bernhardt opened in 1984 at 312 S. Third St. The location, which had operated as Louie Bantle's Restaurant for many years, is home today to the La Crosse Professional Plaza.
Kristin Findlay, left, and Betty Costello hold one of their hand-tied quilts at Undercover Works, a shop the women opened in 1982 in Independence.
Steve and Sue Seher opened U-Dun-It Shop in 1972 at 302 Pearl St. The store sold unfinished plaster figurines and plaques, and customers were encouraged to use in-store paint and trim to customize the items. The storefront, which is vacant today, was most recently home to a pizzeria.
Mary and Dean Schroeder opened Unique Inc. in 1978 at 815 Rose St. The store, which sold primarily waterbeds, was in a building that was home to the Rialto theater until 1921. Today the North Side building is vacant.
1973: Union Prescription Center
Wayne Loveland was a pharmacist at Union Prescription Center in La Crosse, a national chain endorsed by labor unions. The store at 1907 West Ave. S. opened in 1973 and remains in business today under the name The Prescription Center.
Uppers and Downers Boutique
Uppers and Downers Boutique opened in 1973 inside Wick 'N' Woods Shoppe at 519 Main St. Manager Beverly Chitko told the Tribune that the store will sell mostly women's clothing, featuring trendy plaids.
Workers demolish a 100-year-old building on the corner of Third and Main streets in 1981. The building was home to the nightclub Valentino's, but the city decided the crumbling structure was unsafe and ordered it torn down. Today, the corner lot provides parking for Verve credit union's offices next door.
Village Shopping Center
The Village Shopping Center opened in 1950 at the corner of Losey Boulevard and State Road. The center's first four stores were Cram's grocery, Smith's Pharmacy, Ben Franklin and Boulevard Cleaners. In 1979, at the time of this photo, the center had more than 30 businesses, which included Quillin's IGA, Woolworth's, Brook's Fashion, the Hobby Hub, Swiss Chateau Cheese Shop, Baskin-Robbin's ice cream, Korner Knook flower shop, Team Electronics, Nutrition World, Doerflinger's department store and County Kitchen. After years of expansion, the shopping center's footprint began to contract in 2011, when part of the center was demolished to make room for Festival Foods. In 2016, there was additional demolition to create more parking spots.
The Varsity Club is shown here in 1973 shortly after it moved into its new location at 1932 Ward Ave. Today, that location is occupied by the Moose Lodge.
1972: Viking Heritage
Kathy Brudos, standing, and her sister Jamie, point out Norwegian clothing to their friends Ellen Scheffner, left, and Linda Larson. The Brudos' mother, Jan, is proprietor of Viking Heritage, a store that opened in 1972 at 2903 Losey Blvd. S. Jack and Carol Bohlig took over the store in 1976 and ran it until 2001. Today, the location is home to Advantage Accounting.
Winslow's Gift Shop
Carolyn Gingerelli was manager of Winslow's Gift Shop when it opened in 1973 in Bridgeview Plaza. The North Side store, later named Winslow's Hallmark, closed in 2005.
A firefighter helps salvage merchandise after a 1984 fire at Wiggert Brothers department store, 323 Jay St. The retailer started in La Crosse in 1886 as a harness shop. Although the business has closed, Artisan Preservation Co. is working to rehabilitate the downtown corner building.
David Lee stands in front of a Wendy's restaurant at 2240 Rose St. shortly after purchasing the La Crosse fast food franchise in 1983. He also owned a Wendy's at 3810 Mormon Coulee Road. The North Side location closed in 1989; today the building is home to Express Employment Professionals. The South Side location closed in 1989; today that building is home to Subway Restaurant. A Wendy's opened in 2003 at 4422 Mormon Coulee Road, and another, which opened in 1984, operates across from Valley View Mall in Onalaska.
Jean Gitz, co-owner of radio stations WLCX-AM and WLXR-FM, talks with WLXR afternoon disc jockey Joanie Smith in 1983. Gitz, along with Joseph Rohrer Jr. and Joseph Rohrer Sr., sold the radio stations that year to Ingstad Broadcasting of Grand Forks, N.D. WLCX was later renamed WLFN-AM. Both stations are owned today by the Onalaska-based La Crosse Radio Group.
A couple enters Walt's Restaurant, 310 Mississippi St., shortly before it closed in 1982. The eatery reopened under the Walt's name again a few years later before closing for good in 1989. Later it served as the hospitality center for G. Heileman Brewery. In 2002, the nearby City Brewery reopened it as City Bier Stube. Later it operated under the names Gottlieb's, Lindner's at the Brewery and Nell's City Grill. The space remains vacant today.
Rob Snyder was manager of the Walgreens drug store that opened in 1980 at 4000 Mormon Coulee Road. It was the second Walgreens in the region. Onalaska was home to Service Walgreen Agency Drug Store in the Center 90 shopping center. Today there are four Walgreens stores in La Crosse; however, the Mormon Coulee Road and Center 90 locations are now operated by Degen Berglund.
Winchell's Donut House
Eugene McLellan was the manager of Winchell's Donut House, which opened in 1978 at the corner of West Avenue and Jackson Street.
Vandals were to blame for the 1973 collapse of a 605-foot transmitting tower at the WXOW-TV studios southwest of La Crescent, Minn. Investigators said two of the nine guy wires were cut, and part of the structure landed on the nearby building. No one was ever charged in the incident.
Warehouse Sales liquor outlet opened in 1973 in Bridgeview Plaza. The location in the North Side shopping center was the second in La Crosse; another store was at 2111 Ward Ave.
The radio program "It's High Time," which featured news and information of interest to students, was broadcast Saturday mornings on WKBH-AM. The show's hosts in 1969 were, from left, Gary La Fleur of Logan High School, David R. Anderson of Central High School and Kirk Schueler of Aquinas High School.
WKBT-TV, which in 1966 was La Crosse's only television station, showed off its renovated studio after a 1965 fire gutted the interior of the building at 141 S. Sixth St., forcing the station to relocate its studios for 16 months. That building still houses the CBS affiliate today.
Marie and Howard Wettstein started their appliance and electronics business in 1951. This photo shows the store at 215 N. Third St. after its 1962 remodel. The business was purchased by three of their sons, Ralph, John and Dan, in 1986. In 2005, Dan and his wife bought his brothers' interest in the business.
Woolworth opened its first La Crosse store at 422 Main St. in 1958. At the opening were, from left, official store opener B. Goehner, merchandise man J.C. Martin, store manager W.A. Schwinden, Milwaukee District superintendent R. Teiz, merchandise buyer C.A. Miller and Rochester District superintendent R.E. Foster. The national retailer closed its downtown store in 1992. The city's other Woolworth operated in the Village Shopping Center from 1962 to 1989. Today, the downtown space is home to Crossfire, a local faith-based organization.
1958: 1st National Bank
This page was part of a special section the La Crosse Tribune published in 1958 to mark the opening of the new 1st National Bank building in La Crosse. The financial institution saw several name changes — and the building at the corner of Fifth Avenue and King Street had several remodels — before it took on the Wells Fargo name in 2000.
1947: W.T. Grant
W.T. Grant was the first tenant of the Hoeschler Building, which is located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and King Street, when it opened in 1947. The national retailer closed its La Crosse location in 1975. Today, the building is known as King on Fifth and occupied by a variety of offices.
Since 1988, La Crosse County has contracted with Xcel Energy to burn municipal waste at its generating plant on the southern end of French Island. In 2002 Xcel installed nearly $11 million worth of pollution control equipment after environmental activists convinced the Environmental Protection Agency that additional safety measures were needed to limit dioxin emissions. In recent years the plant has allowed La Crosse County to sign waste disposal contracts with a handful of companies from across the Midwest that are seeking to keep their trash out of landfills.
Yum Yum Tree
The Yum Yum Tree, located at 4816 Mormon Coulee Road, was a nightclub on the city's far South Side that featured women — often topless — as dancers. This photo, taken in 1977, announces an upcoming show by Strawberry, Rachel, Fox, Zanadu and Amy. Also, according to the Tribune's files, Miss Baby Dumpling, billed as "425 pounds of fun," performed there in 1975. The business closed its doors in 1982. The structure was built as a buggy barn by William F. Gautsch.
Yahr-Lange La Crosse Drug Inc.
Clyde Cooper, vice president for Yahr-Lange La Crosse Drug Inc., stands outside of the building at the corner of Second and Main streets his company operated out of until 1982. After a 1983 remodel, the building was renamed Powell Place, and it has been home to a variety of restaurants and small shops ever since. During the late 1800s, the building house the offices of Frank Powell, a self-described surgeon and four-term mayor of La Crosse who sold medicines including Yosemite Arrow, an elixir that claimed to "instantly relieve pain."
1975: Yellow Checker of La Crosse
A La Crosse Tribune story in 1975 featured — from left, Sharon Moore, La Verda Johnson, Barbara Hovell and Judy McGuire — the four female cab drivers of Yellow Checker of La Crosse. The company was unable to steer through some financial problems and closed in 1982.
Ye Old Style Inn
Ye Old Style Inn is shown here in 1972 after the bar and restaurant, located at 825 Fifth Ave. S., completed a remodeling project that included additional seating and adding a 60-foot bar. The business remains a going concern today.
1967: Your Uncle's Place
Musicians play during a jamboree with the Midwest Banjo Club in 1967 at Your Uncle's Place, a tavern at 408 S. Fourth St. That site is currently home to a sales lot for Pischke Motors of La Crosse.
A fire destroyed Zorba's Greek restaurant in 1979. In 1981, owner Demetrios "Jimmy" Mitropoulos was sentenced to eight years in prison on an arson charge. Emman "Mike" Minos testified that Mitropoulos paid him $2,000 to set fire to the restaurant at 304 Main St. The lot, that today is adjacent to Grounded Specialty Coffee, remains vacant.
Zanklites, a Black River Falls firm owned by Donald Zank, demonstrated its new ultralight aircraft at the Black River Falls airport in 1984.