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.
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 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.
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.
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.