A city remembers its history 125 years later - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

A city remembers its history 125 years later


It's been 125 years since a fire destroyed most of the city of Marshfield.

"We lost the heart and soul of our city that day," Marshfield Fire Chief James Schmidt said.

The day was June 27, 1887. It's known as "The Great Fire." It started at an old lumber yard near Walnut Avenue.

"The fire started in an ash pit in the lumber yard," Schmidt explained. "Because of the high winds that day it burned through most of the wood and traveled up Central Avenue."

The fire traveled nine blocks, destroying 250 homes and businesses and resulting in $4 million dollars in damage.

"Today, that would be about $95 million in damage," Event Organizer Don Schnitzler said. "I can't even imagine that is phenomenal amount of money."

125 years later, the city still remembers.

"It's important to know where you came from and understand the past and embrace the past so you can move forward," Schmidt said.

That's why city leaders planned a series of commemorative events. Today, dozens of people walked the path of the fire's destruction and took part in re-enactments.

But, for Sharon and Jerry Seeger the tour is personal.

"We had a relative that helped rebuild the city," Sharon Seeger said. "It shows you that we have some pretty sturdy ancestors and they are probably the reason we are still here."

And while it's been a long time since the fire, the memories of it are everywhere.

"We always look and remembers because we never want anything like this to happen again and we will ensure that it doesn't," Schmidt said.

Remarkably no one was injured in the fire.

The commemorative events continue Thursday with a tree planting and flag raising ceremony. They will take place at Governor Upham Mansion at 5:15 p.m.

The last event will take place at Chestnut Avenue Center for the Arts for an "Old-Time Vaudeville show". That starts at 7:30 p.m.

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