WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

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Wausau, Florida

 

The Wausau community’s founder is considered to be John B. Glen.  He built a small store on the site where a community would develop around it in 1889.  Mr. Glen had spent his youth in Wausau Wisconsin.  This, perhaps, was the inspiration to name the community Wausau.

Mr. Glen was subsequently appointed the first postmaster of Wausau.  Mr. Glen died in 1907 with his wife carrying on the business after his death. 

July 4 1907 was probably the biggest day in Wausau’s history.  Thousands were on hand to celebrate Independence Day and the completion of the Birmingham, Columbus and ST. Andrews Bay Railroad to Wausau and four miles further south to the SW to a logging camp named Macom

Wausau was incorporated in 1963 as a municipality.  It’s first Mayor was Ralph Jones.

In 1988 Wausau gained national fame as the home of an annual Possum Festival which is held the first Saturday of every August.  The event was the outgrowth of a “Fun Day” program initiated in the 1960’s.  The event attracted national television and newspaper coverage.  The festival is headquartered at the Possum Palace built in the mid 1970’s.

The Possum Monument Wausau, Florida

On the side of State Highway 77 in Wausau stands what may well be Florida's most
unique roadside memorial - the Possum Monument.

The inscription on the monument says it all:
Erected in grateful recognition of the role the North American possum, a magnificient
survivor of the marsupial family pre-dating the ages of the mastodon and the dinosaur
has played in furnishing both food and fur for the early settlers and their successors. Their presence here has provided a source of nutritious and flavorful food in normal times and has been important aid to human survival in times of distress and critical need.

In addition, as the monument inscription notes, you might not be able to get
Democrats and Republicans together on much in Florida, but on one thing they agree:
The 1982 session of the Florida Legislature further recognized the possum by passing a joint resolution proclaiming the first Saturday in August as Possum Day in the Great State
of Florida.

Wausau, as you probably have guessed by now, is the self-proclaimed "Possum Capital
of the World." In addition to the monument, the community is home to the "Possum
Palace," a nice entertainment venue and the home of the annual Fun Day and Possum
Festival.

The celebration is held, of course, on the state designated "Possum Day" in Florida
(the first Saturday of August each year).