4 Memories and milestones from 1967

These moments will have you feeling nostalgic
4 Memories and milestones from 1967
Wisconsin State Journal archive

The Building of an Iconic Drive

July 1967

Above is an image from when the Monona causeway was under construction. It was opened and dedicated as John Nolen Drive on November 22, 1967. Railroads have been crossing the Monona straits since 1854. Starting in 1967, cars could, too, giving motorists access to a stunning sight that had been seen by only a select few–the water approach to downtown Madison.

Watchin’ the Tide Roll Away

Dec.11, 1967

Otis Redding’s name is visible on the fuselage of his plane, pulled from Lake Monona the day after it crashed.

A soul singer, Redding was one of the breakout stars at the Monterey Pop Festival that June, so there was a big buzz about his first Wisconsin appearance–two shows at the Factory on Sunday, Dec. 10. The opening act was a band from Rockford, Illinois, called the Grim Reapers–later to change their name to Cheap Trick. Redding would be flying in from a Saturday night show in Cleveland, in the $200,000 airplane he bought the month before, a green-and-white Beachcraft prop plane with twin 450 engines.

There was fog and a damp drizzle as Redding’s plane made its instrument approach to Madison Municipal Airport. At 3:28 p.m., it was three miles out over Lake Monona in line with the 4600 block of Tonyawatha Trail. Suddenly, with no warning or call of distress, the plane sputtered and stalled, and fell into the wintry water. Redding, the pilot, an assistant and four members of backing band the Bar-Kays, die.

A clue to a possible cause comes from the only survivor, Bar-Kays trumpeter Ben Cauley, who says he overheard a mechanic tell the pilot before they left Cleveland that the battery wasn’t fully charged. Federal investigators, however, never officially determined a cause.

Before leaving Macon on the short tour, Redding had completed the vocal on a softer, contemplative song, to be released in early January. It was called “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.”

Camp Indianola

Dec. 13, 1967

Camp Indianola, one of the oldest boys’ summer camps in the country, closes after 62 years on the north shore of Lake Mendota. Among its generations of campers was a 10-year-old Orson Welles, who performed an astonishing one-boy version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1925. In 1975, the state Department of Natural Resources bought the 31 acres, with 1,791 feet of shoreline, later converting it to Governor Nelson State Park.

A Sleek New Cinema

Dec. 19, 1967

Mayor Otto Festge, center, is pictured with officials from 20th Century Theater at the opening of the former Eastwood Theater as the sleek new Cinema Theater, 2029 Atwood Ave. A $250,000 remodeling has replaced the faux Spanish stucco from 1929. In its place were walnut and white panels, a blue carpet and a brass and glass chandelier. Inside the theater, the colors are blue and yellow, green and gold. The first attraction was John Huston’s “The Bible.”

Return to 1967: The summer of our discontent here.