Wausau Wisconsin

Planning

November 17, 2017

Introduction

In November, 1999 the Historic Landmarks Commission adopted the following historic preservation plan to serve as a guide for the Commission’s efforts. This plan will be incorporated into the City comprehensive plan and will be another element of the City’s efforts to improve the quality of life in Wausau through implementation of a variety of programs and activities.

Historic Preservation Goals

Four historic preservation goals have been established in order to provide a long term, desirable direction for the City’s historic preservation and enhancement efforts. These goals concentrate on three general areas: preservation, education and awareness.

Goal I:
It is the City’s intention to protect, enhance, perpetuate and preserve sites of special character or special architectural or historic interest or value that represent the City’s cultural, social, economic, political and architectural history.
Goal II:
It is the City’s intention to help to inform and educate residents and visitors to the community about Wausau’s unique history.
Goal III:
It is the City’s intention to educate and inform the owners of historic and architecturally significant properties about building preservation methods and techniques.
Goal IV:
It is the City’s intention to cultivate a heightened public awareness of the importance of historic preservation to the overall well being of the community.

Historic Preservation Objectives, Strategies and Recommendations

In pursuit of the preceding goals, the following objectives, strategies and recommendations have been formulated for implementation during the 20-year planning period. These have not been established in any particular priority order. Some of these will be implemented by the Historic Landmarks Commission, while others will require a collaborative effort on the part of several public agencies and private individuals and groups.

Objectives:

Objective 1:
To designate as local landmarks the most architecturally significant structures found within the Downtown Historic District.
Objective 2:
To designate the Andrew Warren Historic District, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, as a local historic district and to also establish a locally recognized East Hill Historic District.
Objective 3:
To designate as local landmarks all properties within the City which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Sites presently listed on the National Register which are not local landmarks include:
  1. The Andrew Warren Historic District (1870-1934; NRHP 1-5-84)
  2. Bird, C.B., House (1922) (Eschweiler)
    522 McIndoe Street (NRHP 5-1-80)
  3. Dunbar, C.F., House (1929) (Eschweiler)
    929 McIndoe Street (NRHP 5-1-80)
  4. Everest, D.C., House (1925-1928) (Eschweiler)
    1206 Highland Park Boulevard (NRHP 5-1-80)
  5. First Universalist Church (1914) (Eschweiler)
    504 Grant Street (NRHP 5-1-80)
  6. Jones, Granville D., House (1904)
    915 Grant Street (NRHP 12-7-77)
  7. Louis Marchetti House
    111 Grant Street
  8. Marathon County Fairgrounds (1921) (Eschweiler)
    Stewart Avenue (NRHP 5-1-80)
  9. Miller, Henry, House (1894)
    1314 Grand Avenue (NRHP 6-14-82)
  10. Scheutz, K.K., House (1922) (Eschweiler)
    930 Franklin Street (NRHP 5-1-80)
  11. Stewart, Hiram, House (1906)
    521 Grant Street (NRHP 8-30-74)
  12. Wegner, C.H., House (1922-1924) (Eschweiler)
    906 Grant Street (NRHP 5-1-80)
  13. Wright, Ely, House (1881)
    901 Sixth Street (NRHP 3-1-82)
 
Objective 4:
To consider for designation as local landmarks all properties within the City which are listed as eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
Objective 5:
To consider for designation as local landmarks all properties within the City which were listed as local landmarks under Chapter 2.82 of the Wausau Municipal Code prior to September 15, 1993.
Objective 6:
To complete the nomination procedure for establishing the East Hill area as a National Historic District.
Objective 7:
Within all historic districts, new construction and improvements to non-contributing structures will be encouraged to be architecturally compatible with significant, older buildings which are located within the general area of the new construction.

Strategies and Recommendations:

  1. Develop a short video program for the City’s cable access channel that documents some of the efforts of the Historic Landmarks Commission, including:
    • Establishment of the Downtown Historic District; and
    • Designation of local landmarks.
  2. Develop building facade improvement standards or guidelines for the Downtown Historic District that could be referred to by building owners who are upgrading the exterior appearance of their buildings.
  3. Help to promote the Downtown Historic District as a unique, vibrant, viable commercial area that has visual, cultural, social and economic appeal for all ages. This could be done through the City’s newsletter, Wausau Works, and through continued feature stories in the Wausau Daily Herald.
  4. Work with the Downtown Wausau Action Council to encourage their assistance and participation in efforts to enhance the Downtown Historic District in such areas as advertising and publicity, streetscape improvements, building facade improvements and new building construction.
  5. Develop or continue to enhance walking-tour brochures for the City’s Historic Districts, including the Downtown Historic District and the Andrew Warren District. The City’s computer-assisted mapping program could be used for upgraded maps. These brochures should be mailed with information requests which are filled by the area Convention-Visitors Bureau.
  6. Develop a program for attaching bronze informational plaques to contributing buildings within the Downtown Historic District.
  7. Work with the State Historic Preservation Society of Wisconsin to develop an informational program on the availability of tax credits and other financial incentives related to historic preservation.
  8. Develop streetscape design recommendations for the Downtown Historic District and the Andrew Warren District. These streetscape elements would include:
    • Street light design and location;
    • Directional and information signs;
    • Street trees, landscaping and planters;
    • Public telephones;
    • Benches;
    • Directories;
    • Waste receptacles;
    • Newspaper sales boxes;
    • Mailboxes;
    • Monuments, memorials, statues and works of art.
  9. Develop a decorative street light program for the City’s historic districts. The program should identify the streets that should have decorative street lights installed when the street is reconstructed. It should also identify a priority list of locations where existing, "modern" street lights should be replaced with decorative fixtures.
  10. An attempt should be made to develop a neighborhood association to serve as an advocacy group with a focus on historic preservation and enhancement. Property owners in the Andrew Warren District and proposed East Hill area could form the nucleus of this association. The City could assist organizers by preparing maps and lists of property owners. The Friends of Wausau Historic Landmarks may be able to either serve as this advocacy group or help to develop such a group.
  11. Prepare a guidebook on historic preservation that could be used by property owners to remodel, expand buildings, or construct new buildings in a style that is sympathetic to the other structures in the area. Particular emphasis should be placed on the use and misuse of vinyl siding. A video, produced locally or by some other organization, could also be programmed for the cable access channel.
  12. Investigate the use of U.S. DOT (Department of Transportation) Transportation Enhancement Funds and other State and Federal programs for implementing certain historic preservation objectives.
  13. Help to develop a program for publicly recognizing outstanding historic preservation efforts. Awards could be presented at Common Council meetings and newsletter articles could be placed in Wausau Works. A video which highlights these preservation efforts could also be produced for airing on the cable access channels.
  14. Work with the State Historic Preservation Office to extend certified local government (CLG) status to Wausau and thus become eligible for training and technical assistance and certain types of grants.
  15. Develop a variety of local historic preservation information for posting on the City of Wausau’s world wide web site: www.ci.wausau.wi.us
  16. The feasibility of establishing a local grant and/or loan program to assist in the rehabilitation of landmark properties should be investigated. This program could be focused in target areas where the need to rehabilitate certain buildings is the greatest. The program could be closely patterned after the Historic Boston Incorporated (HBI) effort.
  17. Develop a landmark lighting program for the Central Business District. This program will help establish standards for installing night lighting for viewing many of the publicly owned landmark-quality buildings such as City Hall, the public library and Courthouse. Owners of many of the private landmark-quality buildings such as the Grand Theatre, prominent churches and the Wausau Club should also be encouraged to participate in this effort.