Kara O’Keeffe

Wausau, Wis. – The Wisconsin Historical Society has announced the listing of the Marathon Shoe Company in the city of Wausau, Marathon County, in the National Register of Historic Places.  National Register designation provides access to certain benefits, including qualification for grants and for rehabilitation income tax credits, while it does not restrict private property owners in the use of their property.
Shoe manufacturing became an important industry in Wausau as the paper milling industry experienced a decline in the early-twentieth century.  The Marathon Shoe Company East Side Plant, constructed in 1923, is the best remaining representation of the Marathon Shoe Company, a prominent manufacturer in Wausau in the first half of the twentieth century.  At the height of the company’s growth in the 1920s, the Marathon Shoe Company had four factories in operation, including the East Side Plant.
In addition to being a leader in the local economy, the Marathon Shoe Company had a strong national reputation for its innovative welt construction, which eliminated the need for metal fasteners such as tacks or staples to connect a leather upper to a sole in the production of shoes, and for its marketing efforts for its Pied Piper line of high-end children’s shoes.
The register is the official national list of historic properties in America deemed worthy of preservation and is maintained by the National Park Service in the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Wisconsin Historical Society administers the program within Wisconsin. It includes sites, buildings, structures, objects and districts that are significant in national, state or local history, architecture, archaeology, engineering or culture.
To learn more about the State and National Register programs in Wisconsin, visit
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