Sunday, July 12, 2015

Wild in Wausau

Ever think about skyscraper windows? Where they are born and how they are made? Without them  would anyone ever consider going into such a building, much less live in one? Wausau, in north central Wisconsin, is where many of these highly engineered products are created. Wausau Windows and Walls sends customized windows on the company's own semi vans regularly all over the country, including such prestige campuses as Notre Dame and Stanford and beyond.  What the company won't agree to handle are private homes, even those of a lavish sort, where owners are apt to take the word 'custom' to lengthy ends. A load set out  recently for the highest building currently under construction in lower Manhattan  - 99 Church St., a Four Seasons Residence with multi-million-dollar pied-√†-terres that are virtually castles in the sky.
The city of Wausau offers a lot more than cheese curds and craft beer for anyone wanting to live in or visit a well-planned  urban space by a river  called the Wisconsin, which flows  eventually into the Mississippi. A nearby mountain, whose granite rocks are a billion years old, has numerous ski trails. Lakes in winter offer curling and skating. The downtown center square can boast one weekend in summer of creating what could be the world's largest sidewalk art painting done by locals. A Calendar of Events for summer months takes up two pages single-spaced in a free  - "Wausau works for you!" -bulletin. It's a friendly environment, blessedly free of gentrified inner Washington,DC's blight of what seems like an invasion dry cleaners and nail salons on every block.
Most unusual of all perhaps is the unlikely location on a hillside of a railroad stations that copies almost to perfection an older one more conveniently placed on operating tracks below. Both were built decades ago by what was then the Wausau insurance corporation, famous for its iconic symbol advertised on 'Sixty Minutes.'  The station in the sky was built for its entertainment value. To add to its veneer of authenticity a few yards of track were added along with an aged caboose. No telling what adventures were possible there; it might make a great children's play park now.

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