‘Governor Lucey Highway’ dedicated along Hwy. 35 from PdC to Ferryville


Sen. Jennifer Shilling (left) and Rep. Lee Nerison (right) pose with Gov. Patrick Lucey in front of the Patrick J. Lucey Historical Society marker in Ferryville.

Surrounded by a crowd of about 30 local officials and his family, Gov. Patrick Lucey is shown listening to an address at the Prairie du Chien Tourism Center on Oct. 2.

Sherry Quamme, Ferryville Tourism Council treasurer, addressed the crowd that gathered in Prairie du Chien prior to a motorcade from the city to Gov. Lucey's hometown of Ferryville.

Senator Jennifer Shilling spoke about Gov. Lucey's legacy, which included growing up in Ferryville and attending Campion Jesuit High School in Prairie du Chien. He traveled the stretch of Highway 35 now named the "Governor Patrick Lucey Highway" many times in his years growing up in southwest Wisconsin.

The 95-year old Gov. Lucey 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.

Gov. Lucey's son David told the crowd that his father had been asking him to bring him back to southwest Wisconsin, a beautiful region he loved so much.

Dozens of community members, elected officials, family and friends joined together on Wednesday, Oct. 2 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 Highway 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 traveled 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,” Sen. Shilling said. “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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