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Green Bay History
1950's Fashions 1950's Fashions
City Hall Groundbreaking
Mayor Rachels and former Mayor J.H. TaylerCity Hall Construction
City Hall Construction (old City Hall in background)City Hall Dedication

New building for city offices
Ground was broken for the city’s new office building on April 3, 1956. About 200 persons were present as Mayor Otto Rachaels broke ground for the new $1,700,000 city hall. J.H. Tayler, 97, at that time was the oldest living ex-mayor, was introduced. Tayler, mayor from 1902 and 1903, was the first mayor to use offices in the old building. The new city hall was built south of the old building and after completion the old building was razed to make room for a parking lot. 

The six-story structure housed city offices on the first three floors. The Board of Education took the fourth floor and later the fifth and sixth floors were rented to state offices. Later still the fourth through sixth floors became available to city offices.

The new building was dedicated on September 24, 1957 during what the city dubbed as “Green Bay’s Dedication Week” which included dedications of the new city hall, the Lake Michigan pipeline and the new City Stadium.

At the dedication ceremony the bands from East High School and Premontre High School (later moved to the west side and renamed Notre Dame de la baie Academy) played before the ceremony. At 7:00 PM aerial bombs were set off to start the dedication followed by lowering of the flag from the balcony at old city hall while taps were played and the American Legion firing squad gave salute. The Legion color guard led the procession to the flagpole at new city hall. The flag was raised while salute to the colors was played, followed by “Star Spangled Banner” played by Premontre High School band. There were open house hours held for the public that evening and the following two days.

Mayor Hall Mayor Hall Dies
Elmer Hall died May 22, 1952, of old age and is buried in Fort Howard Cemetery. He was the city's 26th mayor and was 87 years old at the time of his death. When Green Bay changed from the aldermanic form of government to the commission form, Mr. Hall was the first mayor under the new plan. He served as mayor through WWI until January 1921, when he became Secretary of State.
Read more about Mayor Hall

Lake Michigan Pipeline dedication took place on Thursday evening, September 26, 1956. On the following Saturday evening a parade took place beginning at the Mason Street Bridge to the Main Street Bridge and returning to the beginning.

After meeting with some opposition, work began on the $10 million facility in 1956. On August 10, 1957 the new water streamed to city residents. The water from Lake Michigan replaced the city’s well system which was insufficient to serve the increasing population of the city.
City Stadium 1950'sCity Stadium 1970's

New City Stadium
On April 5, 1956 voters approved a referendum by a 2-1 margin to construct a new Packer facility. At a cost of $960,000, an amount shared equally by the City and the Packers, the facility was financed by a bond issue. Located on farmland on the south west side of Green Bay, the land was purchased for $74,305. It was dedicated as City Stadium on September 29, 1957, Packer 21 Bears 17. Dignitaries Vice-President Richard Nixon and NFL Commissioner Bert Bell attended the event. In 1965, the stadium was renamed Lambeau Field following the death of E.L. “Curly” Lambeau, the Packers founder and first coach.

Going out of businessGregby PlanRedevelopment area in July, 1965Demolition beginsVacant redevelopment area in July, 1975

Efforts to revitalize downtown Green Bay was initiated in 1956 by seven downtown businessmen who raised funds to hire Victor Gruen and Associates, a renowned Los Angeles Planning Consultant, to draw the first master plan for the downtown shopping/business district.

The plan was developed and on September 28, 1956 the Gregby Committee, the group formed to lead the revitalization effort, announced their goal of returning “downtown Green Bay to the regional shopping hub of northeast Wisconsin”.

Gregby is an contraction of Greater Green Bay. The Gregby Committee, working with the city Planning Department, designated an area of 29.71 acres as the redevelopment area.

In 1960, after twenty-one months of community input and debate, a plan was approved, showing what downtown Green Bay would look like in 1975.

The Green Bay Redevelopment Authority was formed in 1967 and charged with securing Federal Urban Renewal Funds to acquire the property, relocate existing businesses and implement the adopted redevelopment plan.

By 1972 the businesses were relocated and demolition was complete. For the next five years the area sat vacant as city officials negotiated to find anchor stores for the project. Green Bay citizens were beginning to doubt the wisdom of the whole plan.

But on August 10, 1977, Port Plaza Mall, a two-story 450,000 square foot urban shopping mall was opened with grand ceremonies. For the next 20 years downtown achieved its goal as the regional shopping district of Northeast Wisconsin.

During the 1990’s shopping patterns caused the mall to succumb to the growth of the big box discount center and urban fringe development. The heyday of Port Plaza Mall was over.

Vince Lombardi February 2, 1959: Green Bay Gets New Coach

In early 1959, Green Bay was coming off a 1-10-1 season -- the worst in team history. Winners of six NFL titles under Curly Lambeau, the team hadn't had a winning season since 1947.

Ray "Scooter" McLean, head coach in 1958, resigned after one season. Searching for McLean's replacement, Dominic Olejniczak -- then the president of the organization -- became interested in a Giants assistant coach.

On Feb. 2, 1959, Lombardi arrived and told the committee, "I want it understood that I am in complete command here." Technically he wasn't, not yet, but within two days of his arrival Olejniczak gave Lombardi not only the head coaching job, but the vacant general manager position as well.

Mayor Joseph Tayler 1959
Joseph Tayler passed away May 25, 1959. Mayor Tayler was the 26th mayor of Green Bay serving in 1902 and 1903. He was 100 years old.
Read more about Mayor Tayler


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