More Buildings Down

Click for Larger ImageUnfortunately, I was not prepared with a pad and pen when I ran into a delightful young lady who was watching the demolition of the buildings at 6th St. and Bridge. Well, I use the word “young” advisedly as she is the wife of Gordy, and she and Gordy were the previous owners of the Pine Bar, which was housed in the block which was demolished.

And I don’t mean the most recent owners, either. She and Gordy bought the Pine Bar in 1946. It was a true saloon before that, with sawdust floors and spitoons. For almost 20 years it was just a bar, but in 1962 there was a fire, and in rebuilding after the fire, a restaurant was added. I was told that the most interesting feature of the bar (and the saloon before it) was that a creek ran right under the building, and that there was a removable concrete cover that allowed access to the creek from inside the building.

And in an indication that maybe the good old days weren’t always so good, I was told that the arrangement with the creek down below made the back room of the bar an convenient place to slaughter a cow every now and then, with the waste products being sent downstream. Slaughtering next to the kitchen? Offal in the creek? Thank goodness for the health department.

Click for Larger ImageIn the pictures you can see some advertising posters that were revealed when the brick facade on Bridge Street was pulled down. I was told that the lower level of that building was first a meat market and later a Dairyland store. The Dairyland store might have been the first “supermarket” in Wausau — for the first time you could get your own groceries right off the shelf. Now that was progress.

The buildings coming down might be older than you first think. Not only was Gordy, the bar owner born in one of the houses on that block, but his 97 year old sister was born there as well. So, the house on Bridge street was over 100 years old.

Click for Larger ImageMost people will not lament the taking down of the buildings on that block as they had been blighted considerably, especially in the last few years, but even here there was history. Ironically, I was told that the business at the bar and restaurant started to go down when the roads were widened and traffic increased. Not everything goes as planned, I guess.

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6 responses to “More Buildings Down

  1. I spotted the billboards on the north face of the building as I was biking home for lunch. Unfortunately as I headed back to work an hour later with my camera, I was too late to get a good picture of them. It didn’t take too long for the city to knock those buildings down. Maybe now that you have a clear line of sight looking west onto Bridge and South down sixth, there will be less accidents on that intersection.

    I used to enjoy the food and atmosphere at the Pine Bar, but hadn’t patronzied them for about 7 or eight years. The constant changeover of owners made for spotty service.

  2. Is there anywhere online where one can find the new plan for the area that these buildings were? In reading the minutes on the City’s web page, Mr. Gale is not at all pleased with the drop off plan indicating that it may increase risk of accident rather than reduce it.

    Alderman Gale drives a bus so I do value his opinion, however I am not a novice at traffic flow and it would be interesting to see the proposed new plan so that I (and anyone for that matter) could form their own opinion.

  3. not a novice, eh?? sounds like a professional to me. 🙂

  4. I remember seeing the plans in the Daily Herald and at a school board meeting I attended a couple of months back. A casual google search came up empty, but I’m sure the information is out there if I looked a little bit harder. I’ve heard mixed reports about the safety of the new dropoff site.

    Unfortunately, Franklin is situated in a high traffic area and I’m note sure you could have a 100% safe and uncongested pickup and dropoff zone around that school. My son goes to Hawthorn Hills. That school is situated at the end of the dead end street and even they have traffic problems during afternoon pickup.

    One last observation about the demolition. I bike past it every day to and from work and the rubble has an old musty smell. Like a damp basement in a 100 year old house. As old as those buildings where, that musty smell tells me that they probably weren’t worth saving.

  5. some of the musty smell will also come from the high volume of water that is used to demo old buildings… they are soaked before hand and during to keep the levels of dust down. Buildings of that age are very likely to contain lead based paint, which is most dangerious in its powder form

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