Your Town Wausau: The history of Sylvan Hill

Your Town Wausau
Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 12:09 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - For nearly 50 years families and kids have been having fun at Sylvan Hill in Wausau, but it took some time before Sylvan Hill became what we know it as today.

Sylvan Hill newspaper ad
Sylvan Hill newspaper ad(Wausau Marathon County Parks Department)

Sylvan Hill began in 1964 when the parks department acquired 46 acres of land. In 1971, the chalet opened and two years later it opened for skiing and later a toboggan run.

Mark Dorow is Wausau & Marathon County Parks, Recreation & Forestry recreation superintendent. He said there have been many changes since its opening.

“In the mid-70s to early 80s, there was a bill that was going to be passed in the State Senate that was going to cause some insurance issues and a lot of hills around the state are shutting down. But we preserved and prevailed through that. And then in 2003, the decision was made to make it into a tubing Hill, because of the expenses of the ski hill. And so we transformed it in 2003, into a tubing Hill. And that’s what we’ve been running it as since,” Dorow explained.

Sylvan Hill Park map
Sylvan Hill Park map(Marathon Wausau Parks Department)

So what about the name Sylvan? It means living or being located in woods or forests.

“The park originally was going to be called Riverview Park. But then a woman by the name of Norma Walden wrote in to the Parks Commission and noted that you can’t see the river from Sylvan Hill and didn’t want people to get it confused from the River District. So she asked them to call it Sylvan Hill, which pertains to the woods or Forest Lake. So then they adopted that name based off of her recommendations,” said Dorow.

The chalet at Sylvan Hill can also be rented. Dorow said it’s hosted weddings and family gatherings. To reserve it call the parks department at 715-261-1550.

If you’ve never experienced snow tubing, Sylvan Hill will likely open on Dec. 16. Dorow said they do need some cooperation from Mother Nature. Typically, the hill opens for tubing in December and aims to remain open until March. Click here for more information about the cost and hours.

Sylvan Hill is located at 1329 Sylvan Street, in Wausau.