Starr & Lombardi: Packer Legends Visited Janesville

On August 4, 1956, Bart Starr threw his first professional touchdown pass right here in Janesville, Wisconsin, at Monterey Stadium in an exhibition game. Read all about it in the Monday, August 6, 1956 edition (there was no Sunday paper at the time). We scanned this from our microfilm collection.

In this photo, Coach Lisle Blackbourn is pictured with Rev. G. E. Carlton from St. John Vianney Catholic Church, along with Packer players Billy Bookout and Howie Ferguson. Vince Lombardi was not hired as coach until February 4, 1959.

Click once or twice to enlarge

Bart Starr's return to Monterey Stadium on October 15, 2010 to dedicate a plaque is explained in the September 21 issue of the Janesville Gazette - read it now.

Vince Lombardi spoke in Janesville on February 25, 1969. An audio cd of this speech may be purchased at Videogenics, or borrowed from the library. Our local history pamphlet file for Vince Lombardi includes a note that Howard Gage, owner of Videogenics, recorded Lombardi's speech and recalled that the Master of Ceremonies for the event was Bob Rhodes, former editor of The Janesville Gazette. The library has a copy of the text of Lombardi's speech. While reading "Lombardi and Me" by Paul Hornung, library staff noticed an entry in the Table of Contents: 'Appendix B: Lombardi's Farewell Speech, Given February 26, 1969, in Janesville, Wisconsin'. The date of the speech is listed incorrectly. It was given on February 25, part of a 'Town Hall Series', at what is now the Janesville Performing Arts Center, in the former Marshall Middle School building next to the library.

Here's an excerpt:

"Thank you, thank you, thank you, Bob, for that wonderful introduction. Anytime I hear all of those things, in an introduction like that, I always can hardly wait to hear what I have to say. I am flattered of course to be invited here, to be one of your speakers in the town hall series. This is my first attempt at anything like this; usually I speak at after-dinner banquets, I mean after-dinner speaker at banquets and so forth and so on, but very seldom am I asked to appear in auditoriums, such as this, and in a town hall series. I want to say, however, that I am flattered to be asked, very much so. The last few weeks, as Bob said a little bit, have been very, very hectic for me. In fact I am somewhere on a cross, somewhere between a Baptist minister who bought a secondhand car and never had the vocabulary to run it and a football...a football coach who died and went to hell, and never noticed the transition....."

After his speech, Lombardi answered questions from the press.

We scanned The Janesville Gazette article from our microfilm of February 26, 1969, with the headline: "Lombardi Not Surprised by Jets' Super Bowl Win". This was the victory predicted by the brash Jets quarterback, Joe Namath.

At the time of the speech Lombardi was the new coach and part owner of the Washington Redskins. It was his last public speech in Wisconsin. Lombardi died on September 3, 1970.

--submitted by sb, 10/6/2010

"Layoffs Swamp Library"

This was the headline in the Janesville Gazette on April 30, 1980. Sharon Ebel, of the Gazette staff, wrote of the effects of layoffs at the General Motors and Dana Corporation plants in Janesville and Edgerton, respectively.

The two men in the 1980 photo are Guy Hinkle, left, and Scott Jordan on the right. Notice they are using a drawer from the library card catalog, a collection of index cards listing books by title, author or subject. This was before computer catalogs.

In 1980, Library Director Dan Bradbury said circulation skyrocketed in part due to area layoffs. More patrons - especially men - visited the library, and were observed reading to their children in the children's department.
Janesville Public Library in 1982

Books about automotive repair, home improvement, garden and landscaping, and career opportunity materials were popular. The first three months of 1980 saw a 15 percent increase in circulation compared to 1979. In 1980 the library's reference department received more requests for "8mm and 16mm movie projectors, which are circulated almost daily". There was no Internet, computer catalog, or VHS/DVD player in 1980.

"With many persons unable to take long vacations because of the energy and economy pinch, [the library] hopes to saturate library shelves with information describing Wisconsin tourist attractions." Other patrons requested information about job opportunities, pay scales, resumes and educational requirements in other fields.

In 2010 even more options for job-hunting are available @ your library:
  • Free computers to write a resume or search the Internet
  • A Job-Seekers lab held monthly - no registration required - for job-hunting help.
  • A Job Resource Center (JRC) located across from the library Reference Desk with books, magazines and reference material. Find help with choosing a career, returning to school, studying for an entrance exam, finding work or writing that resume. See also our online Job Resource Center - available 24/7!
Contact the library Reference Desk if you have questions or need assistance.

Helpful library staff are here to assist with your information needs - just as in 1980!

We're here for you.
--posted 9/20/2010 by sb