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City proclaims its pride in lighted sign in 1914

6:17 PM, Mar. 7, 2014  |  Comments
The new sign atop City Hall in 1914 proclaims civic pride. It was the largest electrical sign of this type in the state of Wisconsin outside of Milwaukee.
The new sign atop City Hall in 1914 proclaims civic pride. It was the largest electrical sign of this type in the state of Wisconsin outside of Milwaukee.
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It was a big day for Wausau. It was a day that saw the largest crowd to gather in the history of the city. On this day of June 8, 1914, Wausau took a gigantic step in self-promotion and civic boosterism. The sign on Wausau's new City Hall on the south end of Third Street that proclaimed WORK FOR WAUSAU was turned on.

It was a large sign - 38 feet long by 18 feet high and the letters five feet in height. A person could see the sign from miles north of Wausau. The sign also featured an illuminated eagle in flight holding the coat of arms of the United States and at each end of the sign, flaming torches.

The words WORK FOR WAUSAU was adopted by the Wausau Advancement Association from a list of more than 100 suggestions. The sign was donated to the city by the Wausau Street Railroad Company.

Twelve thousand people gathered around City Hall to see the the new sign illuminated by more than 650 multi-colored incandescent lamps. The program featured selections by the Wausau City Band and songs by the German Liederkranz.

Mr. M.C. Ewing, of the Wausau Street Railway Company, presented the sign to the city. In his address to the people gathered in front of City Hall, he said that the sign truthfully represents the cooperative spirit that had characterized this city for more than half of a century. As reported in the Wausau Daily Record-Herald, Ewing said, "We all owe to our pioneers a debt of gratitude for building for us this beautiful and progressive city in which we all take just pride, and we now own to our city a duty to continue that course which was provided by our pioneers by Working for Wausau."

For more information on the history of Wausau, contact the Marathon County Historical Society at 715-842-5750 or stop in at the Society at 410 McIndoe St. in Wausau.

The largest electrical sign of this type in the state of Wisconsin outside of Milwaukee

A noted sense of boosterism

It was evident that this sign was a big step in advancing civic pride. A spirit of community that was part of Wausau's early settlers and carried through Wausau's history by figures of the Wausau Group and the more recent community leaders.

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