FERRYVILLE – Dozens of community members, elected officials, family and friends joined together on Wednesday, October 2nd to help celebrate the unveiling of the “Governor Patrick Lucey Highway” along the scenic Great River Road. The commemorative roadway extends along State Highway 35 in Crawford County from the village of Ferryville to the city of Prairie du Chien.
Patrick J. Lucey was born in La Crosse, grew up in the village of Ferryville, and graduated from Campion High School in Prairie du Chien. He served with distinction as the 38th Governor of Wisconsin from 1971 to 1977 and later as the United States Ambassador to Mexico from 1977 to 1979. His best known accomplishments in office include the formation of the University of Wisconsin System, an overhaul of the state shared tax formula, the strengthening of ethics laws, mental health treatment reforms, and progressive land conservation initiatives.
The 95-year-old Gov. Lucey was present for the dedication ceremony which started in Prairie du Chien and followed State Hwy. 35 north to Ferryville where a commemorative sign at the River View Park on Main Street was unveiled. The village of Ferryville, population 176, swelled as visitors from all over the state travelled to join the celebration.
Sherry Quamme, the Ferryville Tourism Council Treasurer, planned and led the celebration. Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse), who authored the provision to designate the "Governor Patrick Lucey Highway," was joined by Rep. Lee Nerison (R-Westby) and other local dignitaries to welcome Gov. Lucey back to his hometown and reflect on his legacy.
“It was Gov. Lucey’s vision for Wisconsin and passion for public service that led him to be so successful,” said Sen. Shilling. “This dedication is a small token of our appreciation for his many accomplishments and contributions to our community, our state, and our nation.”
Gov. Lucey’s son, David Lucey, said his father was honored to be joined by so many friends and community members. According to David, Gov. Lucey declared that the ride along the Great River Road was the most beautiful in the state – and perhaps the whole nation. Sherry Quamme was quick to confirm Gov. Lucey's belief and pointed out that the Great River Road Scenic Byway was recently voted the “Prettiest Drive in America" according to a recent Huffington Post poll.
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