The Landmark Building – A Historical Treasure

2 Aug
The Landmark Building in Wausau, Wisconsin

The Landmark Building in Wausau, Wisconsin

Located on 221 Scott Street, buried deep within the heart of downtown Wausau in Wisconsin, lays a historical treasure. The Landmark, formally known as Hotel Wausau, holds mystery and minimal factual history to those who seek out its hidden beauty.


Exteriorly, the Landmark looks characterless and aged. However, the inside illuminates rich, dark tones highlighting its beautiful, Gothic-inspired architectural design. The creation of this building was inspired by ideas from Martin Roche. Mr. Roche partnered with William Holabird to create this hotel. In fact, they were the creative masterminds behind many other hotels, apartment buildings, libraries, clubs and churches. Holabird and Roche’s architectural talents can be experienced in buildings located throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and Kansas.

Most of Holabird’s and Roche’s famous works are located in Chicago, Illinois. The Art institute of Chicago and Soldier Field are two of their more renowned buildings. Soldier Field gained its popularity for being the only NFL stadium in which all the skyboxes and club seats are located on one side. Even with all of their architectural successes in Chicago, The Landmark in Wisconsin has a uniqueness all its own.

Because of its significance to Wausau’s admired history, the exterior of The Landmark cannot legally be remodeled. Interiorly, on the other hand, the building has been modified to create more suitable living conditions. 

Floors in the Landmark Building

Floors in the Landmark Building

The 94 feet tall historic Landmark Building was built in 1923. The exact start date of the construction of the structure is unknown. It has nine floors that currently houses about 180 residents.  The first eight floors express creative, unique designs from the roaring twenties. Therefore, each individual floor has a personality of its own.

The Lobby

The Lobby

The Landmark boasts a rich history. The Gothic cathedral inspired lobby is home to The Peking, a slightly upscale Chinese restaurant. In the 1920’s, The Peking was Hotel Wausau’s ballroom. In addition, it has been rumored that rebels and bootleggers against Prohibition gathered secretively in the speakeasy that used to occupy the space that is currently known as The Basement. Last, but definitely not least, is the Talent Shop. Known for inexpensive vintage clothing and other rare treasures, this store can be found toward the back of the building. 

 Throughout the Landmark, you can hear the repeated stories from the residents and people who have experienced its mystery. There are tales of deep tunnels underneath this and other surrounding buildings in downtown Wausau that lead to the Wisconsin River. Legend has it that these tunnels were created to help robbers escape from the police in the 20s.

Painting of Napolean in the Lobby

Painting of Napolean in the Lobby

The most popular story by far is the tale about what caused the Landmark to become haunted. It is rumored that Marathon County was hit drastically during the Great Depression right after the stock market crash. Misery soaked through the streets of Wausau causing many people to commit suicide by jumping out of the windows of this nine story building. They felt that this was their only solution to the Great Depression. Today, residents are still sharing stories of unusual noises and events on each of the floors of this great building. 

1920's Mail Chute

1920's Mail Chute

Secrets and unknown truths still linger in the hallways of this once vibrant, lighthearted structure. Today, it is an apartment building full of historical mystery and architectural beauty. Despite all of its changes over the years, The Landmark remains a historical treasure that holds hidden treasures of its own.


4 Responses to “The Landmark Building – A Historical Treasure”

  1. fred September 26, 2009 at 6:36 pm #

    I can assure you that a LOT has gone on in this building! There was the legendary 1966 ski trip from Edgewood High School, from Madison. I was on that trip. The school, a Catholic school with a lot of spoiled brats (I understand it all now, but of course did not at the time) expected only one busload to sign up, and – lo! – they had three busloads, but only enough ‘chaperones’ for one bus. So a lot of … exploratory experience… went on. I could tell you many many little stories but I’ll select just one. In room 608, Mary W. crouched on the floor with her ear to the vent, to listen in on the conversation going on in room 610. In 610, Katie S. was telling Katie M. that the sophomore boys (the two Katies were sophomores) were hopelessly immature, and that a girl, if she wanted a boyfriend, had to go two grades up – minimum – to senior level.

    Pretty hot talk for Madison Edgewood, known as EHS, in 1966!

    And of course Monika F. – they say – tossed an empty booze bottle out of a window, and it landed on a car roof below and did a lot of damage. She was never identified as the culprit officially, never punished in either a legal or Catholic sense, but I happen to know she did it!! Naughty girl!!

    • Marcie September 28, 2009 at 4:13 pm #

      Thanks for sharing your memories. If you know of others who would like to share, let them know that this site is available for conversation.

  2. Missie September 29, 2009 at 7:47 pm #

    Thank you for sharing! I love how you in-depth with detail. If you have any knowledge of other historical buildings in Wisconsin, let me know.

  3. Missie October 1, 2009 at 4:43 pm #

    Thank you for sharing! I love how you went in-depth with detail. If you have any knowledge of other historical buildings in Wisconsin, let me know.

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