Wabeno Historical Attractions
Along the main street-- Branch Street-- Wabeno has preserved quite an array of artifacts and buildings based on its logging history.
The landmark Wabeno Public Library is housed in one of the first buildings built in the town. It was built by the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Company for use as a land office in 1897. It was purchased by the town in 1923 and is one of the most quaint and charming log libraries in the state. Open 6 days a week, the library is one of the few libraries where books are signed out using a card system rather than an electronic check out. The Wabeno Library was placed on the State Registory of Historical Places on October 27, 1993 and the National Registry of Historic Places on December 23, 1993.
The tree from which this log was taken contained five sixteen foot logs and one fourteen foot log. The total scale of the six logs was nine thousand feet. This log was cut near Wabeno in January, 1925 and presented to the town by Mr. C.W. Jones of Appleton, Wisconsin, as a memorial to the monarchs of the forest of this locality." The state registry of historic places noted that the Douglas Fir Log donated by the Jones Lumber Company in 1925 "represents the role the Library plays in being a repository of the history of the locality. Therefore, it is considered a contributing object."
The “Big Wheels” , also known as “katydids”, were once used to move logs out of the forest by chaining them underneath the axle. The 9-to-10-foot high wheels made it easier to transport the logs without the need for icy ground.
Wabeno boasts a Logging Museum built in 1941 by the Wabeno Lions Club, which contains memorabilia and records preserved in a replica of an old logging camp to present a nostalgic picture of the most colorful era in Forest County history. The building is a genuine notched log structure built in the same fashion as logging camps that dotted Forest County. It contains almost everything needed to do hardwood logging. The only thing missing is the complete harness for the horse. The museum is open May through September and staffed with volunteers to answer questions and suggest other local attractions.
Memorial Day through Labor Day:
Monday - Thursday: 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
After Labor Day: Weekends only through the fall color season.
Friday-Saturday-Sunday 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Built around 1940, the Band Shell has been a mainstay for entertainment and
local Memorial Day ceremonies in downtown Wabeno. A 20 ft. statue of Larry
the Logroller, stands poised beside the bandshell, wheeling his log hauler
hook, reminding folks of the loggers of old. Both the Band Shell and
Larry had sustained extensive damage in two different wind storms in 2012
but the town is well on its way to rebuilding and repairing them.
Wabeno has one of the few remaining steam powered logging haulers still operational in the nation. It is one of 200 such machines built in the early 1900s by Phoenix Manufacturing Company. It was owned by the Jones Lumber Company and used at their mill from 1909 until 1935. It was bought by the town in 1944 and restored to life in 1965. The Phoenix is operated annually during the Wabeno Steam-Up Days.
Watch The Phoenix, 7-10-2010.wmv video at the annual Wabeno Steam Up Days. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFaNjub30Vo&feature=youtu.be
The first school house was built in 1897. It was a one room building which officially began instruction in 1898 when, abiding by state law, there were 4 pupils in attendance. As the student population grew, classes were held in various locations around town until the two elementary schools were built in 1920. The building was purchased by J.W. Norris who ran a newspaper-The Advertizer- and a printing office into the 1980s. In 1997, the town people moved the one room school house next to the public library and restored it to mirror the earlier days it served the community. During the summer months, the school is open for visitors.
The M4 Sherman tank stands near the Wabeno American Legion Hall. It was secured by Wabeno Veterans of WWII as a memorial to Wabeno soldiers who died during the war. The tank was driven from the National Guard tank battalion in Merrill to Wabeno, a trip of 61 miles, on January 25, 1958. The trip took 3 and 3/4 hours, used 135 gallons of gas with a top speed of 35 mph.