Unfortunately, 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.
In 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.
Most 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.