Category Archives: Economic Development

Unidentified Dudley Object

So, L and I were driving back from the Wisconsin Englishes presentation at UWMC when she turns to me and says, “Do you see that?”

I did indeed. And I took pictures of what we saw. They are NOT photoshopped, if anything, the colors look even richer to the eye than they do to the camera.

Makes for an interesting skyline, that is all I have to say.

Click on any or all of the thumbs for the larger image, but you get the idea.




Also Spotted Downtown

Big Boxes are people too!! Please Give!!!

Click for larger image

Pub Memories

I received the following in an email the other day, and have been given permission to post it here.  If I get enough Pub memories, I will start a page just for them.  Feel free to put your memories as comments, or you can email me.  If you have pictures from way back when that would be most appreciated!

I have to tell you, the Scott Streak Steak and Pub will always have a special place in my heart as well as my career. In 1990, I came to Wausau to help out with the upstart State Senate campaign of a blue collar guy named Russ Decker. At the time our headquarters was two doors down from the Steak and Pub. The pay was lousy and sporadic at best. I was sleeping on couches and the floor of the headquarters while working insane hours to help someone I believed in.

Tom Bergs, Todd Rasmussen, Frankie and the entire staff at the Steak and Pub welcomed me with open arms, fed me when paychecks didn’t show up and we shared a few coctails while listening to one of the best blues collections I’ve ever heard. It was a shame when the blues collection went up in smoke, literally. By the end of the campaign it became the running joke that our campaign was actually being run out of the Steak and Pub. It wasn’t far from the truth.

In the end, Russ Decker surprised everyone and won that election. To this day Russ stands as one of the finest elected officials Wisconsin has. For the next several elections, it became mandatory that the Democratic campaign headquarters be located near the Steak and Pub. In 1994, we secured an office right next door and threatened to get out a sledge hammer and build our own walk up window to the Steak and Pub.

When I came back to Wausau after living in Key West for five years, my first stop was lunch at the Steak and Pub. Tom was cooking and on the wall behind the bar was a sign from the Damn Good Food To Go restaurant in Key West. I was home again.

Jim Smith, Director

Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee

Pub Mania

The Scott Street Pub may be gone, but apparently it is not forgotten.

Click for Larger ImageJudging from the comments here and over on the Herald forums, if nothing else the Pub does get a response, both good and bad, which is appropriate for a live music venue that got a little long in the tooth. With such a place sometimes it is hard to separate the building from the ownership from what actually happens inside. All three acquire their own mythology which intertwine.

One part of that mythology is that the Pub was not a genteel place. It may have been a peaceful place, as Tom Bergs said as the Pub was being shut down, but it was by no means some kind of upscale jazz club. Although musical groups from all across the musical spectrum played there, it definitely had a gritty rock ‘n roll atmosphere. And I am talking the axis that went from honky-tonk to punk here. At least in part, it was this mythology that lead to the police presence on Saturday night. Apparently rock remains dangerous music, even if the Pub itself was not a dangerous place.

But all that now passes into history. A history, like all histories, that deserves to be remembered and preserved. For many years the Pub was part of people lives and part of our city, and their are stories to tell and remember. I would like to do my part to see that that happens.

Pub MuralThe first way is to preserve and hopefully display the mural on the second floor. I had an opportunity to speak briefly with Tom Bergs on Saturday night and he said that he would very much like to see the mural preserved, so we will continue working on that plan and see what we can do. Preserving a mural that covers the entire wall of a 100 year old building that is slated for demolition will be no easy task, but I think that Wauvillians are up to the task. Stay tuned for that.

The second way came to mind as I made the video on Saturday night. How about a little oral history project? If you have been involved with the Pub, as a musician, employee or patron, and would like to share your memories (and mythologies) of the place with the world, shoot me an email. If you are willing, you can talk a few minutes into the camcorder, and then we can put your memories here on the Wausaublog. I know some folks with long memories are reading this, so let’s get together and save a few of those stories and share them with everyone.

Or at least hopefully share them. The camcorder I borrowed to shoot video on Saturday night used dual layer DVDs. But it turns out I don’t have a dual layer DVD drive on any of my computers, so I can’t get the video off the disc and onto the web. If anyone has a dual layer drive that can help out, fire me an email.


The Final Indignity

Click for Larger ImageTwenty years of live music at the Scott Street Pub did not end in a blaze of guitars and drums, but rather in a blue bureaucratic haze.

Before the headline band of the night, and the final act at the pub ever, could take the stage, the Pub was already closed. City police arrived in force at about 12:15 to inform Tom Bergs that his liquor license had exprired at midnight and the being in violation of the law, they were clearing the out the place and shutting down the Pub. In a bit of quick improvisation, the Pollack Inn on 3rd Street was called and asked if the finale of the Pub could be held there.

The final indignity of the Scott Street Pub is that their farewell performance had to be held in another venue. Hey thanks for 20 years of live music, Tom. One of the few positive things to come out of the incident was that there were no problems during the shutdown. A few angry words were directed at the police, but Tom Bergs quickly took the stage, and emphasized that the Pub had always been a peaceful place, and that the police were just doing their job. Within minutes the rock ‘n roll crowd of the Pub had filed quietly into the darkened streets of downtown.

What I don’t know at this point is who knew what when. Give the number of officers that showed up, the shutdown of the pub was obviously anticipated by someone at the City. It was well known that the last day of business of the Pub was June 30th, and I would suppose that the liquor license expired with the business as it were. In the bar business it would be somewhat understandable that the owners don’t think of their “business day” as ending at midnight. After all the Corpse Show Creeps were advertised as playing “June 30” even though they would not take the stage until after midnight.

It seems to me that someone from the City could have reminded folks that the day ends at midnight and that limit would be enforced. Tom and the Pub have run alcohol free shows before, and perhaps an 11:30 pm “Last Call” could have allowed the show to go on.

If the City was operating in “gotcha” mode, as it appeared they were, then Wausau has lost several thousand points on the “coolness” scale. More than 50 years after it appeared on the scene the City Fathers still think rock ‘n roll is some kind of plague? How backward is that?

The crowd at the Pub was of all ages on the last night. Twenty something “punks” mingled with people who looked old enough to be my parents. Along with the mohawks there was plenty of gray hair. The crowd was generally very well behaved, especially when the Pub was being shut down.

It is a shame that a place with such a rich tradition had to meet such an inglorious end.

Eds Note: The picture of Tom Bergs taking the stage to talk to the crowd was taken at 12:18 am. I have a picture of the band that was playing previous to that which I took at 12:11 am. I have many more pictures of the final night of the Pub which I hope to get uploaded today sometime. I had taken video of the proceedings as well, but so far the disc seems to be unreadable, so it may never see the light of day.

Farmers Market Continues

Click for Larger ImageI don’t think very many people need reminding, but the farmers market is going strong down on Riverview Drive Saturdays and Wednesdays. Now the strawberries and snap peas are in — nature’s candy from the fruit and vegetable side of things. I think everyone I have met in Wausau was out at the market this morning, good to talk to all of you. Hope to see more of you next week.

I will also remind folks of the Market Place Thursdays that place on the 400 block on, well, Thursdays. Wausau Area Events has upped the ante on the marketplace by adding entertainment, coming up next on July 12th will the Frisbee Dogs, you will want to come out and see that.

I noticed this popcorn stand at the farmers market this morning as being a new addition to the “family” ourt there. It is great that things continue to grow. Click for Larger ImageI will say that I think there is more opportunity for folks who sell ready to eat food products at the Marketplace Thursdays. There are a number of folks on Saturday who sell baked goods and other yummies, but I don’t see them on Thursdays. There is a baker that is a regular on Thursday, and he seems to do booming business. I am sure that popcorn, sandwiches, drinks or whatever would also sell like gangbusters when the families and kids show up for the shows on Thursdays. Just something to think about.

Penultimate Night

Well, it seems there is just one night left for music at the Scott Street Pub tonight. Last night was a hard rockin’g blues band with one of the best rhythm sections I have heard for a long time. They were certainly pumping out the beat. I am not a big fan of overly long guitar solos, but other folks seemed to be enjoying it.

Click for Larger ImageBut the groove was good and people got up and danced, including the man of the hour.

Tonight is the last night, and fittingly enough the Corpse Show Creeps will be closing the place. Nothing like going out with a psychobilly party. My understanding is that there will be some open mic time starting around 9 pm, hopefully with a few of the local folks who have played there getting one last chance to get some stage time at the Pub.

Although as a physical venue the Pub is not perfect, it will surely be missed for the sheer volume and variety of live music that has been showcased there. The only place I can think of that is even close to that variety and volume is Clark Place down in Point. As Dino calculated in an earlier post, Tom Bergs and the Pub have poured probably at least a million bucks in to the pockets of musicians over the last 20 years. This represents a support of the arts that is almost at foundation levels. I am sure a place like the CVA would love to get a million dollar grant, even spread over 20 years. The Pub has been a tremendous resource, both to the city, but also to the musical community here.

Hopefully, someone will step up and create a new venue for live music and get started on their million dollar grant. But in the mean time you can come out to the Pub tonight for one last chance to say “thanks” for the memories, and put a few last dollars into the live music jukebox that has been the Scott Street Pub.