Tuesday, June 26, 2007

$2,700 = $30,000

The other day while going through some old family papers I came across this 1945 salary agreement for my grandfather who was a longtime industrial arts teacher at La Crosse's Logan High School. I was surprised by the low sum of $2,700 but adjusted for inflation that amount would be equal to about $30,000 in present day wages based on the Consumer Price Index. But even $30,000 is low compared to what the average public school teacher makes today, which is about $50,000 according to a Google search. Also, in 1945 my grandfather had six children at home so it's no wonder my mother says he always worked extra jobs to help support the family.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Picture Puzzle 2

Can you spot the seven differences in these two photos of a soda machine at Sixth and Market streets in La Crosse? The original photo is on the left with the changed photo on the right.

The seven differences are:
1. Root has been changed to Reet on the bottom of the large A&W bottle.
2. 1919 has been changed to 1991 on the large A&W bottle
3. The registered trademark symbol has disappeared from beneath the large A&W logo.
4. A strange little man wearing a pickle hat has appeared in the soda output opening at the bottom of the machine.
5. The coin slot has moved to the top of the machine.
6. The coin return slot has moved to where the coin slot was.
7. The Sun Drop and Orange Crush buttons have changed places.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Remodeling Eyesore

I cringe every time I ride by this building on La Crosse's North Side and see the botched-up method of using concrete blocks to fill in old window spaces. I bet the architect and contractors who worked on this building in 1887 are spinning in their graves over this crappy remodeling job. Shameful! Anything would have been better than concrete blocks . . . even painted plywood or leaving the old windows in with painted plywood behind the glass. Another solution would have been to use matching brick to fill the spaces but I suppose that was too costly to consider for the cheapskate/tasteless person who had this work done. And check out that door in the top photo, by its weathered, beat-up appearance it appears to be an interior door used as an exterior door. Crazy! There, I've done my rant for today and feel so much better.

Friday, June 22, 2007


The other day I was on a bike ride when I came upon these "artists" who had decided the best place to repose themselves and all their junk for a sketch session was right in the middle of a biking/hiking path in a La Crosse park . . . making users of the path have to sneak around them. Why they couldn't sit on the grass three feet away was beyond me . . . guess they were dropped on their heads as infants. I had half-a-mind to say something to them but I was polite as I slowly pedaled around them.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Six Blocks From City Hall!

One feature of La Crosse that I really enjoy is the marsh area smack dab in the center of the city, giving residents easy access to nature without having to travel for miles and miles. For example, this scene is located only six blocks from La Crosse's City Hall. I doubt if there is another mid-sized U.S. city (50,000 to 100,000 population) where such a wild scene can be found six blocks from city hall.
If there is, please let me know.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Grasshopper vs. Frog

Today while I rested on a bench in Copeland Park along the Black River two young boys walked by me on their way up from the river bank and I overheard one say to the other, "That was the sound of a grasshopper. A frog sounds completely different! Don't you know anything?"

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Picture Puzzle 1

I enjoy Life Magazine's "Picture Puzzles" so I thought I would start making some of my own picture puzzles using scenes from in and around La Crosse. So here's my first one, a school bus parked in Riverside Park: Can you spot the differences in the bottom photo compared to the top photo? Click on the photo to enlarge it for easier hunting. Hint, there are five differences. Answers listed below.

1. The wing is missing from the bird above the driver's window.
2. The middle light is missing from the top of the bus above the School Bus sign.
3. The little metal latch behind the front wheel is missing.
4. One number is missing from the license plate.
5. The windshield wiper blade on the front passenger window is missing.

Stay tuned for more picture puzzles.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

La Crosse's Ugliest Tavern

I may be wrong since La Crosse has about 70 taverns and bars but I can't recall seeing a more hideous local tavern exterior than Nighthawks Tap shown here at Third and King streets in downtown La Crosse. Oh, let me count the ways: (1) The stucco front. Good looking stucco buildings are rare as snow in July but this mess is really bad, especially with the two dark gray patch jobs. And to think someone at one time decided to use stucco here to cover up old bricks. Sad! (2) The remnants of old signs which can be seen on the stucco behind existing signs. Guess the owner has never heard of paint. (3) The use of crappy signs (with poor letter spacing) plastered everywhere. And what's with the pink lettering on the sidewalk signboard? Now that's easy to read. (4) The small, bunker-like windows. Ah, but who wants sunlight when sitting in a smoky old bar? You could not pay me to walk into a bar that looks this bad as it almost shouts out "C'mon in and get beat up by some toughs!" I will keep my eyes peeled for more ugly buildings in La Crosse. Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Ghost Track

This old section of Milwaukee Railroad track is located just north of downtown La Crosse. Hard to imagine now but this railway was the main route used by Milwaukee Railroad passenger trains in and out of downtown La Crosse for 53 years, from 1874 to 1927. I find it interesting to think of all the passengers who once traveled over this spot on their way to or from Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Paul, etc., and the big steam powered, smoke belching locomotives leading the way. Fifty-three years of daily trains over this spot is a lot of trains. Now long gone but, wait, is that a lonesome whistle I hear?