Rothschild Pavilion - A Local Icon

The Rothschild Pavilion is a local icon, and after years of renovations, it’s finally giving back to the community that worked so hard to restore its former glory.

Rothschild leaders came close to closing down the Pavilion a few years ago after it sat vacant and deteriorating for 10 years. But after volunteers and village officials dedicated themselves to a restoration effort, the building on the shore of Lake Wausau has returned to life, with 33 weddings and five other events already scheduled for 2013.

Debbie Espeland, treasurer for the village of Rothschild, said the Pavilion is a great historical showcase for the community.

“The intent of the Pavilion isn’t to make money, but just to provide something of ownership for the village and community,” she said. “It’s more about history and enhancing the area. It’s an icon of history for us.”

The next big event for the space will be on Oct. 19, when radio station 95.5 WIFC will host Disco Cures Cancer, a local fundraising event for Aspirus Regional Cancer Center.

Tony Waitekus, brand manager at 95.5 WIFC, said the radio station chose the Rothschild Pavilion for the event because of the huge dance floor and positive feedback from previous years’ attendees.

“The Pavilion is just a classic location,” he said. “There’s a lot of history embedded there, and all of the renovations are great. It just shows that the community is serious about keeping this venue operational and active for quite some time.”

Built in 1911, the Pavilion consists of a 6,700-square-foot maple dance floor suspended above 24 railroad springs. The springs allow the floor flexibility for large dance crowds and concerts. Many famous faces have graced the pavilion stage, including Glen Miller, Buddy Holly, Louis Armstrong and, more recently, Buddy Guy.

The building was closed from 1997 to 2007. As it collected dust, the village threatened to tear it down. Community members asked about renovating the pavilion for years, but the $2 million price tag posed a problem for the village, which didn’t have the money to pay for it.

That’s when a group of community members formed the Rothschild Pavilion Preservation Committee, with the goal of making necessary repairs and upgrades to reopen the building. Volunteer crews put in a new roof, installed new tiled bathrooms and refinished the stone fireplace through thousands of hours of manpower to remodel the building. The $2 million renovation budget was funded by donations from local organizations and residents.

In 2011, four years after it reopened in 2007, Jeff Campo took over as Pavilion manager. Honored to be part of the history, he hopes the Pavilion will remain a part of Rothschild’s history.

“One hundred years from now,” he said, “I hope this place will still be here, giving to the community that gave so much to save it.”

Taken from The Wausau Daily Herald

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